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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Applications Move Lower
by Tom Moeller  October 23, 2013

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total mortgage market index slipped 0.6% last week but plummeted 46.4% year-to-year. Home purchase mortgage applications ticked up 0.7% last week (-2.1% y/y) but remained 18.3% below the early-May peak. Applications to refinance an existing loan declined 1.3% and remained down by two-thirds versus October 2012.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage again was fairly stable last week at 3.58%, down 35 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 slipped to 4.50% last week while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan edged down to 4.51%. The effective interest rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage also slipped w/w to 3.35% but remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans fell by 47.7% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications declined 15.8% y/y. The average mortgage loan size was $222,200. The average size loan for home purchases fell to $262,100 last week while refinancings inched up to $200,700.

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. 

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 10/18/13 10/11/13 10/04/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total Market Index 454.5 457.1 455.9 -46.4 813.8 572.3 659.3
 Purchase 180.3 179.0 188.1 -2.1 187.8 182.6 199.8
 Refinancing 2,034.4 2,060.8 1,995.4 -57.2 4,505.0 2,858.4 3,348.1
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.58 3.60 3.60 3.01
3.25 3.97 4.39
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