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Economy in Brief

Mortgage Applications Plunged
by Tom Moeller November 24, 2004

Mortgage applications plunged 5.7% last week for the second sharp w/w decline this month, but the average level of activity so far in November still was up 3.1% from October according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Purchase applications again fell sharply by 3.5%. Though the November average was up versus October, the latest weekly level was the lowest in the last four. During the last ten years there has been a 60% correlation between the y/y change in purchase applications and the change in new plus existing home sales.

Applications to refinance skid 8.3% w/w leaving the November average up 2.4% versus October.

The effective interest rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage fell to 5.92%. It averaged 5.92% in October. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage also fell to 5.39%.

The Mortgage Bankers Association surveys between 20 to 35 of the top lenders in the U.S. housing industry to derive its refinance, purchase and market indexes. The weekly survey accounts for more than 40% of all applications processed each week by mortgage lenders. Visit the Mortgage Bankers Association site here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (3/16/90=100) 11/19/04 11/12/04 Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Total Market Index 715.0 758.3 -7.8% 1,067.9 799.7 625.6
  Purchase 463.3 480.3 0.7% 395.1 354.7 304.9
  Refinancing 2,179.3 2,375.4 -16.6% 4,981.8 3,388.0 2,491.0
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