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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Move Lower but Loan Size Jumps
by Tom Moeller  March 26, 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total mortgage market index fell 3.5% last week (-56.1% y/y) following a revised 0.2% uptick. Applications were roughly two-thirds below the peak in September 2012. Applications to purchase a home gained 2.8% during the week (-16.9% y/y). Applications to refinance a loan declined 7.7% (-67.7% y/y).

The average mortgage loan size jumped to $233,900, the highest level since December 2008. The average loan size for home purchases increased to a record $279,300 last week and for refinancings it was $207,000.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans plunged 57.9% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications were off 19.9% y/y.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage moved higher to 3.68%, up from the 2.89% low early in May of 2013. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan was 4.64% last week, up from 3.68% last May. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan of 4.53% compared to a low of 3.85%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate at 3.34% remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May, 2013.

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.

Stress Testing the Fed from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 03/21/14 03/14/14 03/07/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 361.2 374.2 373.3 -56.1 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 174.0 169.2 168.8 -16.9 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,432.2 1,552.2 1,547.9 -67.7 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.68 3.58 3.60 3.10
3.42 3.25 3.97
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