Rising Mortgage Rates Cause ‘Rush to ARMs’

“Mortgage rates increased by the most in a single week since 2011, and refinance application volume dropped to its lowest level in almost two years. However, applications for conventional purchase loans picked up by more than 3 percent over the week,” the MBA’s Michael Fratantoni said.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home are rising for two reasons: Buyer demand is increasing, and those buyers are afraid rates will go up dramatically, so they want to lock in fast.

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Alicia and Ryan Diederichs say they are in a race against time. A job transfer recently sent them and their three young children to Oceanside, Calif. Now crammed into a small rental apartment, they are hoping to buy a house quickly.

“I’m afraid we’re going to miss the boat,” said Alicia Diederichs. “I feel like we might get priced out of the market in a few months, and just depending on the mortgage payment whether we could afford it if the interest rates go up more.”

The Diederichs need a large house to fit their family, but home prices are rising fast on the California coast, and they have not yet locked in a mortgage rate.

“Ideally we would do a 30-year fixed, but it’s all going to be dependent on the end mortgage payment, what we can afford, so we would have to look at an ARM potentially if rates continue to rise,” she said.

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The combination of sharply higher home prices and rising rates is squeezing buyers who are already facing tighter underwriting standards. In order to qualify for loans, they must fit into strict debt-to-income calculations, and those calculations change with every increase in mortgage rates.

Article source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100845777

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