RATE SEARCH: Get prequalified for a mortgage today.
Housing market optimism on the rise
Mortgage applications ticked up 0.2% last week from the previous week, according to data from the latest Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly survey.
The unadjusted purchase index rose 6% from the week prior and was 30% higher than the same week in 2015.
Consumers are more optimistic about the housing market overall, according to a new Fannie Mae report. The Home Purchase Sentiment Index increased 1.2 points to 82.7. Additionally, the segment of consumers who believe now is a good time to buy jumped by 4 percentage points. The share of those who think home prices will rise over the next year fell 4 percentage points, however.
Homebuying season has arrived
The current interest rate environment still offers current homeowners an opportunity to refinance, whether it's to reduce their monthly mortgage payment, drop private mortgage insurance or shorten their loan term, says John Stearns, senior mortgage banker for American Fidelity Mortgage Services in Milwaukee.
For newcomers, it's necessary to get a preapproval before diving head first into the homebuying process.
"Find out what your credit report says, make sure there are no surprises there that can come back and cause problems down the road," he says.
Michael Becker, branch manager at Sierra Pacific Mortgage in White Marsh, Maryland, agrees.
"The spring buying season is coming up; if you're looking to buy, get preapproved," he says, adding that the upcoming homebuying season is expected to be a competitive one due to the lack of housing supply.
"Do everything you can to make your offer stand out," such as contributing a larger down payment in addition to having a loan preapproval, he adds.
RATE SEARCH: Shop today for a mortgage refinance.