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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Rebound; Interest Rates Back Up
by Tom Moeller  December 10, 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total Mortgage Market Volume Index gained 7.3% last week (-6.0% y/y) following two weeks of decline. Applications to refinance a loan rebounded 13.2% (-7.1% y/y) but purchase applications improved a lesser 1.3% (-4.5% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage nudged up w/w to 3.43% following two weeks of decline. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan also gained slightly to 4.19%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan slipped to  4.11%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate of 3.18% was stable w/w and remained down versus last year's 3.74% peak.

The average mortgage loan size improved to $255,400. For home purchases, it declined to $276,000; for refinancings, it improved to $243,700.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans declined 4.8% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications fell 19.7% 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) 12/05/14 11/28/14 11/21/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 372.3 347.0 374.5 -6.0 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 177.7 175.5 171.2 -4.5 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,518.7 1,341.1 1,549.0 -7.1 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.43 3.36 3.41 3.78
3.42 3.25 3.97
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