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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Improve Slightly
by Tom Moeller  December 9, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index gained 1.2% last week (12.5% y/y). Purchase applications were unchanged w/w (28.6% y/y) following a recent surge. Refinancing applications increased 3.5% (3.4% y/y), continuing a sideways trend since the end of 2013.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was little-changed at 3.49%, 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 notched up to 4.14%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate fell to 3.10%, down from its high of 3.34% four weeks ago.

The average mortgage loan size rose slightly to $270,800 (6.0% y/y. For purchases, it fell to $295,100 (+6.9% y/y). For refinancings it rose to $253,700 (4.1% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 14.8% y/y, while adjustable rate loan applications improved 1.8% 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.

U.S. Banks' Changing Footprint at Home and Abroad from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York can be found here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 12/04/15 11/27/15 11/20/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 424.1 418.9 419.9 12.5 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 228.2 228.1 211.7 28.6 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 1,570.1 1,516.9 1,612.9 3.4 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.49 3.47 3.50 3.40 3.54 3.42 3.25
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