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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Pull Back; Interest Rates Remain Unchanged
by Tom Moeller  February 11, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total Mortgage Market Volume Index declined 9.0% last week (+26.3% y/y) following a 1.3% improvement during the prior week. Refinance applications fell 10.3% (+41.8% y/y). Home purchase applications were off 6.5% (+2.1% y/y) to the lowest level in five weeks.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage held steady at 3.22% for the third straight week. It was down from 3.60% averaged in September. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan was 3.93% versus 4.42% in September. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan declined to 3.96% compared to a 4.30% September average. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate rose w/w to 3.23%, but remained down from 3.36% in September.

The average mortgage loan size was $270,700 (16.4% y/y). For home purchases, it remained steady at $285,700 (5.7% y/y) and for refinancings it was $264,000 (26.4% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans were up 28.8% y/y. Adjustable rate loan applications declined 4.6% 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) 02/06/15 01/30/15 01/23/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 501.8 551.2 544.2 26.3 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 175.1 187.2 191.7 2.1 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 2,395.8 2,669.9 2,605.4 41.8 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.22 3.22 3.22 3.60
3.54 3.42 3.25
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