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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications and Interest Rates Move Sideways
by Tom Moeller  December 2, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index was little-changed last week (20.0% y/y). Purchase applications increased 7.7% (30.2% y/y) but refinancing applications declined 6.0% (+13.1% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage eased to 3.47%, but remained up from the October low of 3.28%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan held w/w at 4.27% but the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan was steady at 4.09%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate eased to 3.27%, but remained up from last month's low of 3.07%.

The average mortgage loan size declined to $268,000 (+5.8% y/y. For purchases, it fell to $300,300 (+6.2% y/y). For refinancings it eased to $243,300 (+4.0% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 21.4% y/y, while adjustable rate loan applications improved 10.9% 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.

Assessing Economic Conditions for Liftoff from Dennis Lockhart, President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is available here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 11/27/15 11/20/15 11/13/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 418.9 419.9 433.9 20.0 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 228.1 211.7 212.8 30.2 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 1,516.9 1,612.9 1,694.8 13.1 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.47 3.50 3.51 3.42 3.54 3.42 3.25
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