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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Move Lower As Interest Rates Tick Higher
by Tom Moeller  May 6, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index declined 4.6% last week (+21.8% y/y), the third decline in four weeks. Refinance applications fell 8.3% (+30.8% y/y) to the lowest level in four months. Purchase applications gained 0.8% (11.8% y/y) to the highest level since June 2013.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage increased to 3.27%, up modestly from last month's low of 3.17%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan also nudged up to 4.03%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan gained to 3.98%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate held steady at 2.99%, but remained near its lowest level since June 2013.

The average mortgage loan size nudged up to $269,100 (9.0% y/y). For purchases it rose to $297,400 (7.2% y/y) but for refinancings it slipped to $243,500.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 25.2% y/y, but adjustable rate loan applications declined 14.0% 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) 05/01/15 04/24/15 04/17/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 427.3 447.9 458.4 21.8 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 207.1 205.4 205.4 11.8 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 1,697.2 1,850.0 1,920.1 30.8 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.27 3.22 3.17 3.48
3.54 3.42 3.25
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