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Economy in Brief

Lower Rates Lift Mortgage Applications
by Tom Moeller April 27, 2005

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage applications increased 5.9% last week to the highest level in six weeks. Nevertheless, the average level so far in April remained below March.

Applications to refinance rose 9.8% yet the April average still is off 7.0% from March.

Purchase applications rose 3.3% and the average in April is 2.0% ahead of March which rose 6.1% from February. During the last ten years there has been a 50% correlation between the y/y change in purchase applications and the change in new plus existing single family home sales.

The effective interest rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage fell to 6.01% from 6.08%, the lowest level since early March. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage also fell to 5.65%.

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) 04/22/05 04/15/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total Market Index 712.4 672.6 -4.8% 735.1 1,067.9 799.7
  Purchase 482.0 466.7 4.0% 454.5 395.1 354.7
  Refinancing 2,052.5 1,870.0 -14.6% 2,366.8 4,981.8 3,388.0
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