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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Continue To Trend Sideways
by Tom Moeller  August 6, 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total Mortgage Market Volume Index gained 1.6% last week (-30.0% y/y), making up most of the prior week's decline. Applications remained two-thirds below the peak in September 2012. Applications to refinance an existing loan increased 3.8% (-38.7% y/y) while home purchase applications fell 1.3% (-13.8% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage moved higher to 3.58% but remained nearly the lowest rate since late-May. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan was roughly unchanged at 4.42%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan increased to 4.36%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate held at 3.45% and remained near its lowest level since late-May.

The average mortgage loan size slipped to $240,000. For home purchases, the average loan size held at $268,200 and for refinancings it declined to $216,500.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans declined 31.1% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications were off by 12.8% 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.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 08/01/14 07/25/14 07/18/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 347.0 341.7 349.4 -30.0 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 166.5 168.7 168.3 -13.8 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,377.0 1,326.4 1,382.3 -38.7 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.58 3.53 3.53 3.80
3.42 3.25 3.97
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