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Economy in Brief

Mortgage Applications Down Sharply
by Tom Moeller September 28, 2005

The total number of mortgage applications fell a sharp 6.6% last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, and left applications so far in September 1.4% above August.

Mortgage applications to refinance plummeted 10.5% w/w and for the month are a slight 0.6% above August which fell 10.6% from July.

Purchase applications fell hard for the second consecutive week. The 3.4% decline lowered the gain in September to 2.0% versus August. During the last ten years there has been a 49% 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 rose slightly to 6.09% and the effective rate on a 15-year mortgage rose to 5.75%. The interest rate on 15 and 30 year mortgages are closely correlated (>90%) with the rate on 10 year Treasury securities.

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) 09/23/05 09/16/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total Market Index 721.2 772.2 -0.5% 735.1 1,067.9 799.7
  Purchase 483.1 500.3 3.0% 454.5 395.1 354.7
  Refinancing 2,106.6 2,353.7 -4.7% 2,366.8 4,981.8 3,388.0
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