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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Move Higher as Rates Continue To Fall
by Tom Moeller  April 22, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index increased 2.3% last week (28.6% y/y) and made up the prior week's decline. Purchase applications jumped 5.0% (15.6% y/y) to the highest level since June 2013. Refinance applications edged 0.9% higher (41.0% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage declined to 3.17%, reversing increases during February and March. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan also returned to a two-month low of 3.93%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan fell to 3.89%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate ticked higher to 2.99%, but remained near its lowest level since June 2013.

The average mortgage loan size declined to $264,900 (+8.6% y/y). For refinancings it fell to $243,300 (16.3% y/y) but for purchases it rose to $292,700 (4.3% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 33.7% y/y, but adjustable rate loan applications declined 16.1% 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) 04/17/15 O4/10/15 04/03/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 458.4 448.2 458.9 28.6 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 205.4 195.6 201.8 15.6 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 1,920.1 1,908.1 1,942.2 41.0 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.17 3.23 3.22 3.64
3.54 3.42 3.25
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