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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Dip; Rates Stable
by Tom Moeller  March 11, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total Mortgage Market Volume Index edged 1.3% lower last week (+11.3% y/y). Applications are down 26.1% during the last seven weeks. Refinance applications led the way lower with a 2.9% decline (17.3% y/y). Applications remained down by roughly one-third in the last seven weeks. Home purchase applications improved 1.9% (2.5% y/y) but still were off 10.3% from the peak eight weeks ago.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage held steady at 3.36%. It remained up, however, from its low of 3.17% five weeks ago. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan increased to 4.12%, up from its low of 3.87%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan increased to 4.10%, up from its 3.88% low. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate rebounded w/w to 3.33% but and was up from 3.02% seven weeks ago.

The average mortgage loan size held steady at $263,100 (11.5% y/y). For home purchases, it gained to $294,900 (7.3% y/y) and for refinancings it slipped to $241,800 (+17.2.2% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 14.4% y/y but adjustable rate loan applications declined 23.7% 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.

Janet Yellen Is No Mae West! from the Federal Federal Bank of Dallas can be found here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 03/06/15 02/27/15 02/20/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 415.4 420.7 420.3 11.3 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 173.0 169.8 170.2 2.5 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 1,815.3 1,870.3 1,861.8 17.3 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.36 3.35 3.35 3.64
3.54 3.42 3.25
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