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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Down As Refinancing Cools
by Tom Moeller   September 7, 2011

The total index of mortgage applications fell 4.9% last week to 601.0 (March 16, 1990 = 100). The decline was due to a 6.3% drop in applications to refinance, down for the third straight week. Applications to purchase a home nudged up 0.2% but remained near the lowest since 1997.

The effective rate on fixed-interest, conventional 15-year mortgages dropped to a new record low of 3.64%. The effective rate on 30-year fixed rate loans also fell to 4.44%. Interest rates on adjustable-rate financing remained relatively dear at 7.29%.

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) 9/2/11 8/26/11 8/19/11 Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total Market Index 601.0 631.7 699.1 -31.7 659.3 736.4 642.9
 Purchase 159.6 159.3 157.9 -13.5 199.8 263.5 345.4
 Refinancing 3,169.4 3,381.7 3,850.6 -35.7 3,348.1 3,509.2 2,394.1
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.64 3.74 3.81 4.15
(9/06)
4.39 4.85 5.88
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