A gauge of loan applications to purchase homes in the U.S. declined last week to the lowest since October 2015, a fourth straight decline that underscores the growing economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s purchase index slumped 12.2% in the period ended April 3 after tumbling 25.7%, data from the Washington-based group showed Wednesday.
Over the past four weeks, the gauge has declined nearly 95 points, the sharpest monthly drop since mid-2010.
Government stay-at-home orders designed to limit the spread of Covid-19 are also inflicting economic damage across industries, including residential real estate. While the MBA’s data showed 30-year fixed mortgage rates are down nearly a percentage point from a year ago, interested homebuyers are unable to take advantage of lower borrowing costs.
The group’s measure of refinancing applications declined 19.4% last week -- though remained elevated -- while the broader index of all mortgage applications fell 17.9%.
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