The rebound in the U.S. economy continues on a steady path upward. Just last week, data showed that U.S. employers hired more than 200,000 workers for the third month in a row in February. Further evidence can be seen in the latest figures on demand for home purchases which rose for the third week in a row, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Applications for refinancing sagged though.
The Association said its gauge of loan requests for home purchases gained 4.4 percent in the week ended March 9, 2012. However, its seasonally adjusted index of overall mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 2.4 percent in that week ending March 9. Refinancing applications fell by 4.1 percent. According to the MBA, this survey covers over 75 percent of US retail residential mortgage applications.
The volume of purchase applications in February did rise by 18 percent from the previous month, but the level is still 2 percent below the level of year-ago activity. This shows that the recovery is still not robust, at least not yet in the housing market. MBA vice-president of research and economics, Michael Fratantoni said, "Purchase activity remains subdued and within the narrow range we have seen since the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit in 2010."
It remains to be seen whether the ultra-low interest rate policy by the US Federal Reserve can reignite the U.S. economy, particularly the housing market, as well as it has ignited the financial markets. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates are holding steady at 4.06 percent.
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