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Refi Burnout

Refi BurnoutRates holding, apps softening

April 18, 2003


Rates appear to be heading nowhere as refinance burnout is setting in.

According to the 125 thrifts, commercial banks and mortgage lending companies surveyed by Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 5.82%, 3 basis points (BPS) lower than last week and 112 BPS better than last year.

At 5.12%, the average 15-year fixed rate was 5 BPS less than last week, Freddie reported.

Mortgage applications fell 9% from the prior week, but are still 132% better than last year, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA) reported. The refinance index fell ten percent to 5546.7, and refinances made up almost 70% of all applications.

“The current refi wave is not over, and a number above 5000 is still very high,” a Nomura Securities’ mortgage-backed-securities research director was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal. He noted that as long as the refinancing index stays above 3000, the boom still exists.

The Journal also quoted a Citigroup mortgage strategist as saying that falling apps can be attributed to borrower burnout. “With time, if rates remain at current levels, burnout is likely to intensify and the index may decline further.”

Freddie said the average 1-year Treasury-indexed adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) fell 1 BPS to 3.79%, and MBA reported that ARMs represented 15.3% of all applications. reported that the majority of mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers and other industry experts it surveyed expect no change in mortgage rates.

Near closing Thursday, the 10-year Treasury-note yield was up 2 BPS to 3.95%, with the price down $0.5625 to 98 28/32.

Sam Garcia has been in mortgage lending since 1980, and is publisher of He also owns and operates, a real estate portal site.


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