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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Stabilize
by Tom Moeller  March 5, 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association indicated that their total mortgage market index increased 9.4% last week (-55.9% y/y) following three successive weeks of sharp decline. Applications to purchase a home rebounded 9.4% (-19.1% y/y) after four weeks of decline. Applications to refinance a loan improved 9.6% (-66.1% y/y) and made up most of the prior week's drop.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage slipped last week to 3.57% but remained up from the 2.89% low early in May of 2013. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan edged lower to 4.56% last week while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan slipped to 4.43%. The effective interest rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage at 3.23% remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May last year.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans fell 57.5% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications fell 17.5% y/y. The average mortgage loan size rose to $231,600, up sharply from $209,000 averaged in February of last year. The average loan size for home purchases held at $269,400 last week and for refinancings it was $204,000.

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) 02/28/14 02/21/14 02/14/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 381.4 348.5 380.9 -55.9 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 169.6 155.0 160.7 -19.1 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,597.6 1,457.2 1,644.5 -66.1 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.57 3.63 3.63 3.10
3.42 3.25 3.97
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