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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications and Interest Rates Are Roughly Unchanged
by Tom Moeller  March 4, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total Mortgage Market Volume Index ticked 0.1% higher last week (10.3% y/y). Applications are down 25.1% during the last six weeks. Refinance applications improved 0.5% (17.1% y/y). It left applications down roughly one-third in the last six weeks. Home purchase applications slipped 0.2% (+0.1% y/y) but still were off 12.0% from the peak seven weeks ago.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage held steady at 3.35%. It remained up, however, from its low of 3.17% five weeks ago. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan slipped marginally to 4.05%, also up from its low of 3.87%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan edged down to 4.03% but was up from its 3.88% low. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate declined w/w to 3.23% but remained up from 3.02% six weeks ago.

The average mortgage loan size rebounded to $262,400 (13.7% y/y). For home purchases, it gained to $292,400 (8.5% y/y) and for refinancings, it increased to $245,300 (20.2% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 13.2% y/y. Adjustable rate loan applications declined 24.0% 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) 02/27/15 02/20/15 02/13/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 420.7 420.3 435.6 10.3 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 169.8 170.2 162.7 0.1 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 1,870.3 1,861.8 2,012.8 17.1 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.35 3.35 3.33 3.60
3.54 3.42 3.25
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