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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Recover Somewhat as Interest Rates Slip
by Tom Moeller  September 18, 2013

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that the total mortgage market index rebounded 11.2% (-49.7% y/y) last week after a 13.5% decline during the prior week. Applications to refinance an existing loan jumped 17.9% but remained down by nearly two-thirds from last September's peak. Home purchase mortgage applications rose 2.5% (1.3% y/y) but were 14.7% below the early-May peak.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage slipped last week to 3.89%. That compared to the early-May low of 2.89%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan also inched down to 4.86% last week while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan rose to 4.92%. The effective interest rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage fell w/w to 3.69% but remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans fell by 50.7% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications were off 30.4% y/y. The average mortgage loan size was $211,500. The average size loan for home purchases was $251,400 last week while for refinancings it was $185,900.

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. 

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 09/13/13 09/06/13 08/31/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total Market Index 428.2 385.0 445.0 -49.7 813.8 572.3 659.3
 Purchase 188.1 183.6 188.6 1.3 187.8 182.6 199.8
 Refinancing 1,801.7 1,528.5 1,916.3 -62.2 4,505.0 2,858.4 3,348.1
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.89 3.93 3.82 3.08
3.25 3.97 4.39
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