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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Show Little Bounce
by Tom Moeller  October 9, 2013

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that the total mortgage market index improved by 1.3% (-54.7% y/y) last week following their slight down-tick during the prior week. Applications to refinance an existing loan led the gain with a 2.5% increase, but remained down by two-thirds versus last year. Home purchase mortgage applications slipped 0.7% (-5.6% y/y) and were 14.7% below the early-May peak.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage slipped last week to 3.60%, down 33 basis points from its early-September high. It remained up, however, versus the early-May low of 2.89%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan also slipped to 4.55% last week while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan fell to 4.51%. The effective interest rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage was stable w/w at 3.35% but remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans fell by 55.9% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications were off 25.8% y/y. The average mortgage loan size rose to $225,100. The average size loan for home purchases jumped to $264,800 last week while for refinancings were stable at $202,400.

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. The 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. 

Will Unconventional Monetary Policy Be the New Normal? from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 10/04/13 09/27/13 09/20/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total Market Index 455.9 450.2 451.9 -54.7 813.8 572.3 659.3
 Purchase 188.1 189.4 200.6 -5.6 187.8 182.6 199.8
 Refinancing 1,995.4 1,947.4 1,889.2 -65.3 4,505.0 2,858.4 3,348.1
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.60 3.63 3.75 3.01
3.25 3.97 4.39
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