The news release for weekly mortgage applications may have come out today, but as with any economic report, it refers to things that happened in the past. The Mortgage Bankers Association's applications data is some of the timeliest in that regard as it only looks back one week as opposed to monthly data which tends to be released 2-6 weeks after the end of the reporting period.
Nonetheless, much has changed in the course of the past week--specifically with rates. After pushing 4.25% a few short weeks ago (per our own daily rate data), the average conventional 30yr fixed rate quickly fell below 4.0% by last Tuesday. The sharp drop in rates helped both refi and purchase demand last week with each moving up from their lowest levels in roughly 2 years
MBA logged a weekly drop in rates from 4.15 to 4.09%, which conveys far less volatility than our daily numbers. Either way, the improvement was short-lived. As of today, rates are back up to their highest levels in years--likely to set new highs when lenders publish this morning's rate sheets. Bottom line: any beneficial effects on applications from the drop in rates are short-lived.
That said, there could be other reasons to buy or refi. People may need to pull cash out of their homes to afford gas, or they may move closer to wherever they need to drive! That's only mostly a joke. Indeed, inflation is one of the factors promoting the recent increase in cash-out refinances. As for the purchase side of the biz, inventory remains the limiting factor, and will have a far greater impact on applications/sales than mortgage rates.