Rising Interest Rates Suppress Mortgage Demand

Private Businesses Stayed In Hiring Mode In April

48 minutes ago

Private businesses hired at faster-than-expected pace in April, adding 192,000 jobs, down from the upwardly-revised 208,000 jobs added in March, payroll services company ADP said Wednesday.

Despite the slowdown, the hiring exceeded the 183,000 jobs that forecasters had expected according to a survey of economists by Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Every industry added jobs other than information, which includes the media and telecommunications.

The jobs report stuck to the theme set by recent official government surveys on job growth, which have shown employers hiring at a rapid pace in spite of high interest rates set by the Federal Reserve intended to cool the economy. Economists, however, typically take the ADP survey numbers with a grain of salt since they have a spotty track record when it comes to predicting what official numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics will show. 

The BLS jobs report, which comes out on Friday, is also expected to show the labor market staying hot. 

Mortgage Demand Lower as Rates Climb Again

1 hr 21 min ago

Higher borrowing costs continue to drive down demand for home loans, with the number of mortgage applications lower again this week.

Mortgage applications fell 2.3% compared with last week, the second week of declining demand, according to data from the Mortgage Brokers Association. The drop was spurred by the fourth straight week of rising rates, with the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage moving up to 7.29% its highest levels since November 2023. 

“Inflation remains stubbornly high, and this trend is convincing markets that rates, including mortgage rates, are going to stay higher for longer. No doubt, this is a headwind for the housing and mortgage markets,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA senior vice president and chief economist.

Application volume for both purchases and refinancing were lower, with both below last year’s pace. As mortgage rates moved higher this week, so did the share of adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), which are now 7.8% of mortgage applications, its highest level in 2024.

“Prospective homebuyers are looking for ways to improve affordability, and switching to an ARM is one means of doing that, with ARM rates in the mid-6% range for loans with an initial fixed period of 5 years,” Fratantoni said. 

-Terry Lane

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