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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Move Lower Despite Interest Rate Stability
by Tom Moeller  June 19, 2013

The Mortgage Bankers Association indicated that total applications for a home mortgage fell 3.3% w/w from last week, following a 5.0% rise during the prior week. The latest level was down by nearly one-third since early-May. Last week's decline reflected a 3.4% drop (-40.4% y/y) in applications to refinance an existing loan. Home purchase mortgage applications were off 3.0% last week (+11.9% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage slipped w/w to 3.30% from 3.32%. Nevertheless, the figure was up sharply from its early-May low of 2.81%. Earlier numbers were revised slightly. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan ticked up to 4.17% last week while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan was 4.23%. The 87 basis point spread between 15- and 30-year loan rates was the greatest since July 2011. The effective interest rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage increased to 2.81%, up from its low of 2.53% at the beginning of May.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans fell by one-third y/y while adjustable rate loan applications rose 10.8% y/y. The average mortgage loan size was $223,700. The average size loan for home purchases was $268,700 last week while for refinancings it was $203,300.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990.  Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.  Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.
The figures for weekly mortgage applications are available in Haver's SURVEYW database. 

Paying Paul and Robbing No One: An Eminent Domain Solution for Underwater Mortgage Debt from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York can be found here.



MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 06/14/13 06/07/13 05/31/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total Market Index 648.9 670.7 638.7 -31.1 813.8 572.3 659.3
 Purchase 210.4 217.0 207.3 11.9 187.8 182.6 199.8
 Refinancing 3,208.5 3,322.3 3,163.5 -40.4 4,505.0 2,858.4 3,348.1
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.30 3.32 3.23 3.22
3.25 3.97 4.39
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