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Economy in Brief

Mortgage Applications Surged as Rates Remained Low
by Tom Moeller May 11, 2005

Total mortgage applications jumped 9.4% last week according to the Mortgage Bankers Association and began the month 13.9% ahead of the depressed April average.

Applications to purchase a home jumped 9.1% w/w and started May 11.9% ahead of April. 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 rose 9.8%.

The effective interest rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage ticked up to 6.02% from 5.98% but remained down from the high of 6.34% in late March. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage was 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) 05/06/05 04/29/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total Market Index 781.0 714.1 5.2% 735.1 1,067.9 799.7
  Purchase 526.2 482.5 6.5% 454.5 395.1 354.7
  Refinancing 2,263.3 2,061.2 3.6% 2,366.8 4,981.8 3,388.0
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