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Economy in Brief

Mortgage Applications Lower Again in April
by Tom Moeller May 4, 2005

Total mortgage applications ticked up 0.2% last week but the change left the average level in April down 0.9% from March and down a third from last year's peak level, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Applications to purchase a home were about unchanged w/w. Still, the April average rose 2.7% from 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.

Applications to refinance ticked 0.4% higher and the average in April fell 5.5% from March which fell 16.1% from February.

The effective interest rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage fell to 5.98% from 6.01%, the lowest level since early March. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage also fell to 5.62%.

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) 04/29/05 04/22/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total Market Index 714.1 712.4 -8.6% 735.1 1,067.9 799.7
  Purchase 482.5 482.0 0.0% 454.5 395.1 354.7
  Refinancing 2,061.2 2,052.5 -18.1% 2,366.8 4,981.8 3,388.0
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