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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Increase as Interest Rates Remain Low
by Tom Moeller  April 1, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total Mortgage Market Volume Index gained 4.6% last week (28.1% y/y) and remained at the highest level since early-February. Purchase applications led the way up with a 5.7% w/w increase (7.6% y/y). Refinance applications improved 3.9% (44.4% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage remained unchanged at 3.29%, the lowest level in six weeks. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan also was steady at 4.00%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan ticked up to 4.00%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate dipped to 3.08%.

The average mortgage loan size remained high at $275,600 (17.1% y/y). For purchases it slipped to $291,800 (6.8% y/y). For refinancings it edged higher to $264,800 (31.5% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 31.6% y/y but adjustable rate loan applications declined 11.4% 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) 03/27/15 03/20/15 03/13/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 457.0 437.1 399.3 28.1 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 188.9 178.7 170.4 7.6 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 2,008.7 1,932.5 1,720.3 44.4 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.29 3.29 3.36 3.64
(3/14)
3.54 3.42 3.25
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