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Economy in Brief

U.S. Home Mortgage Applications and Interest Rates Are Stable
by Tom Moeller  August 7, 2013

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that  total applications for a home mortgage were fairly stable last week. The total market index ticked up 0.2% (-46.75 y/y) but that was set against a decline since early-May of 47.6%. Home purchase mortgage applications nudged 0.1% higher (7.6% y/y) but they've fallen 12.5% since the early-May peak. Applications to refinance an existing loan slipped 0.1% (-58.0% y/y.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans fell by 47.8% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications were off 19.7% y/y. The average mortgage loan size was $212,900. The average size loan for home purchases was $258,200 last week while for refinancings it was $186,100.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage held steady last week at 3.77%. That remained up, however, from the early-May low of 2.89%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan nudged up to 4.73% last week while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan edged lower to 4.73%. The 96 basis point spread between 15- and 30-year loan rates remained near the record. The effective interest rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage held steady w/w at 3.53% but remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May.

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 and interest rates are available in Haver's SURVEYW database. 

Fiscal Policy and Monetary Policy: Restoring the Boundaries by Charles I. Plosser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is available here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 08/02/13 07/25/13 07/19/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total Market Index 495.4 494.4 513.3 -46.7 813.8 572.3 659.3
 Purchase 193.1 191.7 198.5 7.6 187.8 182.6 199.8
 Refinancing 2,244.7 2,247.6 2,336.2 -58.0 4,505.0 2,858.4 3,348.1
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.77 3.77 3.72 3.22
3.25 3.97 4.39
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