The U.S. housing market is showing signs of being infected by the coronavirus. With more Americans testing positive for COVID-19, the economy crashing, and increasing numbers of shuttered businesses and layoffs, fewer folks are seeking mortgages to purchase homes during this crisis.
The number of home buyers seeking mortgages dropped significantly in the week ending March 20, according to a weekly survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Weekly purchase applications fell 14.2% compared with the previous week—and was down 11.2% from the prior year, according to the nonseasonally adjusted numbers.
The survey spans more than 75% of U.S. residential mortgage applications.
This was the first year-over-year decline in home purchase applications in more than three months. The average loan size for home purchases was $336,000.
“Home purchase applications were notably impacted by rising rates and the widespread economic disruption and uncertainty over household employment and incomes,” Joel Kan, associate