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Economy in Brief

Mortgage Applications Lower With Fewer Refi's
by Tom Moeller March 2, 2005

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage applications fell 2.4% last week following two weeks of slight decline.

Applications to refinance plunged 9.9% w/w and reversed most of the gains of the prior three weeks.

Purchase applications did rise 5.3% but the average in February is up just slightly from January. 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 5.98% versus 5.92% the prior week. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage also rose to 5.59% 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) 02/25/05 02/18/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total Market Index 710.1 727.9 -19.2% 735.1 1,067.9 799.7
  Purchase 440.0 417.8 4.1% 454.5 395.1 354.7
  Refinancing 2,281.1 2,532.0 -35.4% 2,366.8 4,981.8 3,388.0
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