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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Decline
by Tom Moeller  June 27, 2012

The Mortgage Bankers Association index of total mortgage applications fell 7.1% (63.6% y/y) last week but nevertheless remained near the highest level since early 2009. Applications to refinance fell 8.3% (89.6% y/y) while home purchase applications slipped 1.4% (+2.8% y/y). Applications for fixed interest rate loans fell 7.0% w/w but remained up nearly two-thirds y/y. Variable rate loans fell the same amount w/w but were up 21.3% y/y.

The effective rate on fixed-interest, conventional 15-year mortgages held roughly steady w/w at a low of 3.35% and was down from the 4.50% high in February of last year. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan also held at 4.00%. On a 30-year Jumbo loan the effective rate was 4.23%. Though it's narrowed slightly of late, the spread between 15- and 30-year loan rates continued wide by historical standards. The effective interest rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage was 2.96% and remained down from its 3.93% high during February of last year.

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) 06/22/12 06/15/12 06/08/12 Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total Market Index 875.1 941.5 949.4 63.6 572.3 659.3 736.4
 Purchase 185.4 188.1 205.6 2.8 182.6 199.8 263.5
 Refinancing 4,938.3 5,385.8 5,334.3 89.6 2,858.4 3,348.1 3,509.2
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.35 3.36 3.35 3.94
3.97 4.39 4.85
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