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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Remain Higher
by Tom Moeller  October 2, 2013

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that the total mortgage market index were roughly unchanged (-55.9% y/y) last week. Applications to refinance an existing loan gained 3.1%, up by roughly one-quarter from the early-September low. Home purchase mortgage applications declined 5.6% (-2.5% y/y) and were 14.1% below the early-May peak.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage fell further last week to 3.63%, down 30 basis points from its early-month high. It remained up, however, versus the early-May low of 2.89%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan also declined to 4.58% last week while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan fell to 4.60%. The effective interest rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage fell w/w to 3.37% but remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans fell by 56.9% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications were off 32.1% y/y. The average mortgage loan size  to $222,700. The average size loan for home purchases fell to $257,300 last week while for refinancings it rose further to $202,300.

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

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 09/27/13 09/20/13 09/13/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total Market Index 450.2 451.9 428.2 -55.9 813.8 572.3 659.3
 Purchase 189.4 200.6 188.1 -2.5 187.8 182.6 199.8
 Refinancing 1,947.4 1,889.2 1,801.7 -66.9 4,505.0 2,858.4 3,348.1
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.63 3.75 3.89 3.08
3.25 3.97 4.39
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