Mortgage rates have settled into a groove since last Thursday. Yields on mortgage bonds have chugged along at more or less the same level since then, and that implies that mortgage rates haven't moved much, either. Today is the day when Bankrate conducts its weekly rate survey; I predict that it will say that the benchmark 30-year fixed is 4.98 percent this week, up from 4.92 percent last week.
The Mortgage Bankers Association says there aren't many people applying for mortgages to buy homes; most customers are applying to refinance their current loans. Purchase applications are at their lowest level since April 1997, according to the MBA.
It's easy to figure out why home sales are down so much. The homebuyer tax credits stole home sales from the future. We might come to regret this policy choice, because we will discover that some homeowners bought a few months too early, with an insufficient financial cushion. Some people will lose their homes because they bought in March instead of saving more money and waiting until the end of the year.