March numbers show a healthy housing market as the country entered quarantine mode. The latest CoreLogic Home Price Index shows a 1.3% month-over-month increase in home prices and annual gains of 4.5%. CoreLogic Chief Economist Dr. Frank Nothaft expects the numbers to shift as data from shutdown months comes in, saying, “Home prices for March reflect transactions negotiated primarily in the previous two months, prior to the implementation of the shelter-in-place policies. Unemployment claims have reached record highs and this economic environment will further impact the housing market into the foreseeable future.”
Mortgage interest rates dropped to an all-time low last week. Freddie Mac reported rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped to the lowest level since it began tracking them in 1971.
The number of people applying for mortgage loans dropped last week, but the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) says that’s only part of the story. MBA Associate Vice President Joel Kan said, “The news in this week’s release is that purchase applications, still recovering from a five-year low, increased 12 percent last week to the strongest level in almost a month.” Kan added that refinance activity dropped slightly along with decreased credit availability for those types of mortgages.