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Economy in Brief

Mortgage Applications Down Further
by Tom Moeller December 1, 2004

Mortgage applications dropped another 5.8% last week, the third sharp w/w decline in November. The decline lowered the average level of activity in November to just 1.0% above October according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Applications to refinance plunged 12.3% w/w, pulling the November average 1.3% below October.

Purchase applications slipped 0.6% after a 3.5% decline the prior week. The November average was up versus 2.8% versus October. During the last ten years there has been a 59% correlation between the y/y change in purchase applications and the change in new plus existing home sales.

The effective interest rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage rose to 6.03% and averaged 5.97% last month versus 5.92% in October. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage rose to 5.49%, the highest level since early October.

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) 11/26/04 11/19/04 Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Total Market Index 673.3 715.0 -1.7% 1,067.9 799.7 625.6
  Purchase 460.3 463.3 4.2% 395.1 354.7 304.9
  Refinancing 1,912.3 2,179.3 -8.9% 4,981.8 3,388.0 2,491.0
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