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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Ease
by Tom Moeller  October 28, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index declined 3.5% in the latest week (+8.1% y/y) following an 11.8% rise during the prior period. The Association indicated that extreme volatility in earlier weeks was caused by new mortgage disclosure rules for lenders which took effect on October 3. Home purchase applications fell 3.1% last week (+23.2% y/y) while applications to refinance a mortgage loan declined 3.8% (-0.4% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage rose slightly to 3.33% but remained near the lowest point since early-May. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan held fairly steady w/w at 4.10% and the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan was 3.97%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate backed up to 3.16%.

The average mortgage loan size eased to $273,300 (+1.0% y/y. For purchases, it notched higher to $297,600 (4.9% y/y) but for refinancings it declined to $256,700 (-2.6% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 10.0% y/y, while adjustable rate loan applications they fell 13.0% 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) 10/23/15 10/16/15 10/09/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 417.4 432.7 387.0 8.1 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 191.2 197.4 169.6 23.2 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 1,707.9 1,774.7 1,631.4 -0.4 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.33 3.28 3.30 3.44
3.54 3.42 3.25
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