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Economy in Brief

Total Mortgage Applications Unchanged but Refi's Rose
by Tom Moeller December 22, 2004

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Survey, mortgage applications were about unchanged last week but applications to refinance rose 5.7% after several weeks of decline.

Refi's rose despite an uptick in the effective interest rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage to 5.97% from 5.90% the prior week. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage also rose to 5.43%.

Purchase applications fell 3.6% w/w but a 6.6% jump early in the month raised December's average so far 2.5% versus November. 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 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) 12/17/04 12/10/04 Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Total Market Index 689.3 689.0 9.2% 1,067.9 799.7 625.6
  Purchase 471.1 488.9 14.5% 395.1 354.7 304.9
  Refinancing 1,958.2 1,852.4 2.6% 4,981.8 3,388.0 2,491.0
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