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Economy in Brief

Mortgage Applications Fell
by Tom Moeller November 16, 2005

The total number of mortgage applications fell 0.6% last week after a 2.3% gain the prior period, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The decline left the average level in November 4.4% below October.

Applications to refinance fell sharply for the fourth consecutive week. The 5.4% drop lowered the November average 11.1% versus October's.

Purchase applications rose 2.6% for the second consecutive weekly gain and the rise lifted applications in November 0.5% above October. 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 was about stable at 6.59% but that was up versus June low of 5.81%. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage was 6.18%. The interest rates 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.

Bubbling (or Just Frothy) House Prices? from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (3/16/90=100) 11/11/05 11/04/05 Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total Market Index 657.6 661.3 -13.3% 735.1 1,067.9 799.7
  Purchase 477.9 465.7 -0.5% 454.5 395.1 354.7
  Refinancing 1,702.4 1,798.8 -28.3% 2,366.8 4,981.8 3,388.0
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