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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Recover As Interest Rates Level Off
by Tom Moeller  March 27, 2013

The housing market remains firm. The index of total mortgage applications increased 7.7% (24.1% y/y) last week and reversed the prior week's decline, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Home purchase applications posted a 6.7% increase (9.9% y/y) and recovered declines during the prior two weeks. Applications to refinance an existing loan rose 8.0% (29.0% y/y) and reversed one week of decline.

The effective rate on fixed-interest, conventional 15-year mortgages of 3.13% remained up from December's weekly low of 2.89%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan was 3.92% last week while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan was 4.02%. Though it's recently narrowed, 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 2.70%.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans rose by one-quarter y/y while adjustable rate loan applications gained 6.6% y/y. The average mortgage loan size was $214,200. The average size loan for home purchases was $262,700 last week while for refinancings it was $198,100.

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) 03/22/13 03/15/13 03/08/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total Market Index 823.7 765.1 823.7 24.1 813.8 572.3 659.3
 Purchase 209.5 196.4 204.3 9.9 187.8 182.6 199.8
 Refinancing 4,436.6 4,108.8 4,466.8 29.0 4,505.0 2,858.4 3,348.1
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.13 3.11 3.12 3.51
(3/12)
3.25 3.97 4.39
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