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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Decline Along With Interest Rates
by Tom Moeller  December 3, 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total Mortgage Market Volume Index declined 7.3% last week (-11.5% y/y) to the lowest level since early last month. Applications to refinance a loan declined 13.4% (-16.3% y/y) while purchase applications gained 2.5% (-4.9% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage dropped w/w to 3.36%, the lowest level in one month. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan fell to the earlier low of 4.16%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan nudged up to  4.18%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate of 3.18% remained down versus last year's 3.74% peak.

The average mortgage loan size improved to $253,400. For home purchases, it gained to $282,900, the highest level this month ; for refinancings, it held steady at $233,900.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans declined 10.5% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications fell 23.2% 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) 11/28/14 11/21/14 11/14/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 347.0 374.5 391.3 -11.5 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 175.5 171.2 179.8 -4.9 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,341.1 1,549.0 1,604.6 -16.3 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.36 3.41 3.45 3.59
3.42 3.25 3.97
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