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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Remain Depressed While Rates Rise
by Tom Moeller  December 11, 2013

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total mortgage market index edged 1.0% higher last week (-57.5% y/y) but remained at nearly the lowest level since late-2008. Applications to refinance existing loans gained 2.1% w/w yet remained down by more than two-thirds versus December 2012. Home purchase mortgage applications ticked 0.9% higher last week (-10.5% y/y), still 15.6% below the early-May peak.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage rose to 3.73%. It was up versus the early-May low of 2.89% but still below the late-August high of 3.93%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan ticked up to 4.68% last week while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan was 4.63%. The effective interest rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage gained w/w to 3.24% and remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans dropped 59.7% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications gained 13.8% y/y. The average mortgage loan size was $228,800. The average loan size for home purchases was $265,900 last week while for refinancings it was $208,500.

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. 

The Economic Outlook and Future Policy Directions is from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and can be found here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 12/06/13 11/29/13 11/22/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total Market Index 396.2 392.1 449.6 -57.5 813.8 572.3 659.3
 Purchase 186.1 184.5 192.4 -10.5 187.8 182.6 199.8
 Refinancing 1,635.4 1,602.1 1,942.6 -68.8 4,505.0 2,858.4 3,348.1
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.73 3.64 3.60 2.90
(11/12)
3.25 3.97 4.39
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