Homebuyers lunge after mortgages

Rear View Of Loving Couple Looking At House
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Homebuyers are getting loans — and houses.

Overall mortgage applications rose 0.3% last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association, or MBA, reported on Wednesday.

Demand for "purchase loans" — to buy homes — surged 11%.

"There continues to be a stark recovery in purchase applications, as most large states saw increases in activity last week," says Joel Kan, the trade group's vice president of forecasting.

New York led the way, with a 14% jump in applications for loans to buy homes. Illinois, Florida, Georgia, California and North Carolina also had double-digit percentage gains.

"We expect this positive purchase trend to continue — at varying rates across the country — as states gradually loosen social distancing measures, and some of the pent-up demand for housing returns in what is typically the final weeks of the spring home buying season," Kan says.

The average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose slightly in the trade group's weekly survey, to 3.43% from the previous week's all-time low of 3.40%.

Meanwhile, applications for refinance loans dipped 3%, though demand for refi loans was up 201% compared to the same week a year ago. Put another way, applications were about triple what lenders were dealing with during late April of 2019.

Refinance requests have been going through ups and downs. Homeowners can score big refinance savings: about $60 a month for every $100,000 borrowed compared to loans offered last year, according to LendingTree.

But some homeowners have been disappointed to find that overwhelmed lenders have been raising their refi rates — to try to slow the refinance stampede.

Refinances fell to 67% of all mortgage applications last week, from 70% the previous week.

If you're thinking about buying a home or refinancing, use the calculator below to see how affordable your payments can be with one of today's low rates.

Google searches for 'Homes for Sale' surge

Here's another sign that homebuyers are ready to get back into it: Google searches for "homes for sale" have rebounded sharply from the lows seen a few weeks ago, a new study from LendingTree finds.

Nationwide, searches have soared 54% in recent weeks. In some markets, including Tucson, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, New York, "homes for sale" Google searches have skyrocketed more than 125%.

Many had put their home-shopping plans on hold since the start of the coronavirus crisis, says LendingTree chief economist Tendayi Kapfidze. "However, as states begin to reopen and stay-at-home orders expire, some potential homebuyers may be more eager to resume their house hunt," he says.

Rock-bottom mortgage rates are luring them out, too.

To find a super-low mortgage rate, shop around. Gather mortgage offers from at least three lenders and compare them, because some lenders' rates can be much higher than what others are offering — even when surveys show average rates are at record lows.

Take a look at today's best mortgage rates where you are: