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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Decline Further
by Tom Moeller  March 19, 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association indicated that their total mortgage market index fell 1.2% last week (-51.8% y/y). Applications remained 63.3% lower than the peak in September 2012. Applications to purchase a home slipped 0.9% (-14.8% y/y) and were 24.2% below the peak this past May. Applications to refinance a loan declined 1.3% (-62.8% y/y) and were 74.0% below the peak in September 2012.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was little-changed at 3.58%, up from the 2.89% low early in May of 2013. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan of 4.58% last week also remained higher than the 3.68% last May. Finally, the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan of 4.45% compared to a low of 3.85%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate at 3.24% remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May, 2013.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans slipped 0.7% (-53.3% y/y) and were 65.3% below the September 2012 high while adjustable rate loan applications were off 6.2% (-20.0% y/y) and were 39.1% below last June's high. The average mortgage loan size slipped to $233,900 but still was up sharply from the $209,000 averaged in February of last year. The average loan size for home purchases slipped to $272,100 last week and for refinancings it was $204,500.

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.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 03/14/14 03/07/14 02/28/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 369.0 373.3 381.4 -51.8 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 167.3 168.8 169.6 -14.8 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,528.4 1,547.9 1,597.6 -62.8 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.58 3.60 3.57 3.10
3.42 3.25 3.97
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