Despite low interest rates, people aren’t buying homes

By , Guest blogger

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    30 year fixed rate loan with $400,000 principle at prevailing rate. Monthly P&I cost - estimated annual minimum income to cover PITI using 29% 'Rule of Thumb.'
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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages, 1 year ARMs as well as application volume for both purchase and refinance applications.

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases.

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage increased 6 basis points since the last week to 5.01% while the purchase application volume increased 5.7% and the refinance application volume declined 1.5% over the same period.

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It’s important to recognize that despite the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” measures, record low interest rates and the massive government housing tax gimmick, the purchase application volume now sits near the lowest reading seen in over ten years.

The following chart shows how the principle and interest cost and estimated annual income required to cover the PITI (using the 29% “rule of thumb”) on a $400,000 loan has changed since November 2006.

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