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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Surge with Re-fi Demand
by Carol Stone  August 10, 2011

Total mortgage applications jumped 21.7% in the week through August 5, to 688.0 (March 16, 1990 = 100). The gain was in applications to refinance, which surged 30.4% to 3,625.7; those for home purchase remained sluggish with a decrease of 0.9% to 184.2. The average loan size for both types of transactions rose, with purchase applications wanting $219,700, up 2.0% on the week and the highest since early June. Refi applications saw much greater advances that averaged $238,000, up 17.9% and the highest since this time last year.

The effective rate on fixed-interest conventional 15-year mortgages has dropped the last two weeks and set a new record low of 3.76%. The effective rate on 30-year fixed rate loans fell somewhat too, to 4.58% from 4.60% last week and 4.80% in the July 22 week, when we last commented on these developments. Its record low occurred last October 8, at 4.41%.

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 covers roughly 50% of all U.S. residential mortgage applications processed each week by mortgage banks, commercial banks and thrifts. The figures for weekly mortgage applications are available in Haver's SURVEYW database.

MBA Mortgage Applications(SA, 3/16/90=100) 8/05/11 7/29/11 7/22/11 Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total Market Index 688.0 565.3 528.0 -6.3 659.3 736.4 642.9
 Purchase 184.2 185.8 176.7 5.0 199.8 263.5 345.4
 Refinancing 3625.7 2,780.5 2,578.8 -9.2 3,348.1 3,509.2 2,394.1
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.76 3.78 3.94 4.22
(8/06)
4.39 4.85 5.88
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