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Economy in Brief

Mortgage Applications Off Again
by Tom Moeller February 23, 2005

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage applications fell another 0.6% last week but slight decline during the last two weeks only tempered earlier gains which lifted the average in February 11.1% above January.

Last week's decline was due to a 1.3% drop in purchase applications. 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. Purchase applications in February are down 0.3% versus January.

Applications to refinance ticked up 0.1% following several weeks of strong gain and in February are 25.6% higher than in January.

The effective interest rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage rose to 5.92% versus 5.75% the prior week. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage also rose to 5.52% last week.

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) 02/18/05 02/11/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total Market Index 727.9 732.3 -14.8% 735.1 1,067.9 799.7
  Purchase 417.8 423.3 -1.3% 454.5 395.1 354.7
  Refinancing 2,532.0 2,530.1 -24.7% 2,366.8 4,981.8 3,388.0
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