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Stay-at-Home Orders are Loosening — What Does This Mean for Homebuyers and Sellers?

As stay-at-home orders loosen across the nation, homebuyers and sellers are getting back to plans that were put on hold.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, applications to purchase a home increased 11% last week — the third straight week of increases.

Although purchases are still down 10% over the year, the gap continues to close every week. The biggest increase came in New York with a 14.3% uptick in purchase loan applications. California, Illinois, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida and also saw double-digit jumps for the week. 

“There continues to be a stark recovery in purchase applications, as most large states saw increases in activity last week,” said Joel Kan, the Mortgage Bankers Association's associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “We expect this positive purchase trend to continue—at varying rates across the country—as states gradually loosen social distancing measures, and some of the pent-up demand for housing returns in what is typically the final weeks of the spring homebuying season."

“Mortgage rates stayed close to record lows, but refinance applications decreased for the fourth consecutive week, driven by a 5% drop in conventional refinances,” he continued. “Despite the downward trend over the last month, mortgage lenders remain busy. Refinance activity was up 200% from a year ago.”

While the full impact of COVID-19 on the real estate market cannot yet be fully measured, the current trend suggests that outcomes may be far better than originally anticipated.

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