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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Decline; Interest Rates Little-Changed
by Tom Moeller  December 17, 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total Mortgage Market Volume Index fell 3.3% last week (-3.9% y/y). Applications to purchase a home fell 6.9% (-5.3% y/y) but application to refinance were little changed (-3.0% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage of 3.40% has been little-changed since late October. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan edged down slightly to 4.12%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan slipped to 4.07%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate of 3.16% was stable w/w and remained down versus last year's 3.74% peak.

The average mortgage loan size slipped to $252,200. For home purchases, it rose to $278,100; for refinancings, it slipped to $239,000.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans declined 2.1% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications fell 24.6% 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.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 12/12/14 12/05/14 11/28/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 360.0 372.3 347.0 -3.9 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 165.5 177.7 175.5 -5.3 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,518.9 1,518.7 1,341.1 -3.0 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.40 3.43 3.36 3.78
(12/13)
3.42 3.25 3.97
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