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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Firm
by Tom Moeller  May 21, 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total Mortgage Market Volume Index nudged 0.9% higher last week (-53.7% y/y) following firm gains during the prior two weeks. Applications remained two-thirds below the peak in September 2012. Applications to refinance an existing loan gained a strong 3.8% (-66.1% y/y) but home purchase applications were off 2.8% (-12.3% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage slipped marginally to 3.47%, the lowest level since June of last year. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan declined to 4.39%, also the lowest level since June of last year. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan fell further to 4.25%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate at 3.25% was fairly constant at its lowest since early-December.

The average mortgage loan size increased further to $250,500, the highest level since late-2008. The average loan size for home purchases slipped to $279,100 but for refinancings it increased to $224,200.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans declined 55.3% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications were off by 21.6% y/y.

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 minutes to the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 05/16/14 05/09/14 05/02/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 366.5 363.4 350.9 -53.7 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 180.0 185.1 185.2 -12.3 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,438.9 1,386.4 1,297.6 -66.1 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.47 3.51 3.58 3.08
3.42 3.25 3.97
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