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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Continue To Decline
by Tom Moeller  May 20, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index declined 1.5% last week (+11.2% y/y), the fifth decline in six weeks. Purchase applications fell 3.7% (11.3% y/y) while applications to refinance applications gained 0.3% (11.2% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage held steady at 3.33% but remained up versus last month's low of 3.17%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan also held fairly steady at 4.13% but increased from the low of 3.87% reached in January. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan gained to 4.12%, up from 3.88% in January. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate held steady w/w at 3.16%, higher than 2.92% early last month.

The average mortgage loan size slipped to $267,900 (+6.9% y/y). For purchases, it held steady at $298,500 (7.0% y/y) but for refinancings, it slipped to $239,700 (+6.9% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 13.0% y/y, but adjustable rate loan applications declined 13.1% 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.

Liquidity Mismatch Helps Predict Bank Failure and Distress from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is available here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 05/15/15 05/08/15 05/01/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 406.5 412.5 427.3 11.2 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 199.1 206.7 207.1 11.3 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 1,600.6 1,596.5 1,697.2 11.2 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.33 3.33 3.27 3.48
3.54 3.42 3.25
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