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Economy in Brief

Mortgage Applications Slip Further
by Tom Moeller March 9, 2005

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage applications slipped 0.7% last week, the fourth consecutive week of decline.

Applications to refinance declined 4.6% following the prior week's 9.9% w/w drop.

Purchase applications rose 2.7% on top of the prior week's 5.3% gain and began the month 4.7% above the February average. 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 fell to 5.94% versus 5.98% the prior week. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage also rose to 5.55% 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.

Federal Reserve Board Governor Ben S. Bernanke's speech titled The Economic Outlook can be viewed here.

Loan Quality and How it Reflects the Overall Economy from Federal Reserve Board Governor Mark W. Olson is available here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (3/16/90=100) 03/04/05 02/25/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total Market Index 704.8 710.1 -20.7% 735.1 1,067.9 799.7
  Purchase 451.7 440.0 5.4% 454.5 395.1 354.7
  Refinancing 2,176.8 2,281.1 -39.0% 2,366.8 4,981.8 3,388.0
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