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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Tick Higher; Rates Edge Down
by Tom Moeller  December 24, 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total Mortgage Market Volume Index edged up 0.9% last week (3.4% y/y) following a 3.3% decline during the prior week. Applications to purchase a home gained 1.3% (-0.5% y/y) as applications to refinance rose 1.1% (6.3% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage moved down to 3.36%, the lowest point in three weeks. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan edged down slightly to 4.10%, the lowest level since May 2013. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan rose to 4.14%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate edged higher w/w to 3.16% but remained down versus last year's 3.74% peak.

The average mortgage loan size jumped to $266,700. For home purchases, it rose to $280,700. For refinancings, however, it surged to $259,700.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans rose 5.5% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications fell 19.6% 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) 12/19/14 12/12/14 12/05/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 363.1 360.0 372.3 3.4 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 167.7 165.5 177.7 -0.5 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,535.2 1,518.9 1,518.7 6.3 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.36 3.40 3.43 3.78
(12/13)
3.42 3.25 3.97
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