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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Decline Further
by Tom Moeller  December 18, 2013

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total mortgage market index dropped 5.5% last week (-54.1% y/y) to the lowest level since late-2008. Home purchase mortgage applications dropped 6.1% last week (-11.8% y/y). Applications to refinance existing loans fell 4.3% w/w, off roughly two-thirds versus December 2012.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was fairly stable last week at 3.75%, still up versus the early-May low of 2.89%. The rate remained below the late-August high of 3.93%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan increased to 4.73% last week while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan moved higher to 4.68%. The effective interest rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage gained w/w to 3.35% and remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans dropped 56.3% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications gained 10.9% y/y. The average mortgage loan size was $224,100. The average loan size for home purchases was $264,900 last week while for refinancings it was $202,900.

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. 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) 12/13/13 12/06/13 11/29/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total Market Index 374.6 396.2 392.1 -54.1 813.8 572.3 659.3
 Purchase 174.7 186.1 184.5 -11.8 187.8 182.6 199.8
 Refinancing 1,565.4 1,635.4 1,602.1 -65.4 4,505.0 2,858.4 3,348.1
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.75 3.73 3.64 2.90
3.25 3.97 4.39
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