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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Increase
by Tom Moeller  May 25, 2016

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index increased 2.3% last week (24.2% y/y) following a 1.0 decline during the week prior. Purchase applications jumped 4.8% (16.6% y/y) and made up the prior week's decline. Applications to refinance edged 0.4% higher (30.4% y/y) after a 1.8% increase.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage rose to 3.16% following the prior week's decline to 3.11%. Rates remained down from the 3.50% highs of November and December. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan improved to 3.96%, but was down versus 4.28% near year-end. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan rose to 3.90%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate increased to 3.20%, its highest level in a month.

The average mortgage loan size was fairly steady w/w at $283,000 (6.9% y/y). For purchases, it eased to $307,700 (+3.3% y/y); for refinancings, it fell to $261,700 (+12.5% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 25.1% y/y, while adjustable-rate loan applications gained 11.0% 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) 05/20/16 05/13/16 05/06/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total Market Index 2.3 -1.0 0.4 24.2 17.9 -41.4 -24.2
 Purchase 4.8 -4.9 0.4 16.6 15.5 -12.9 5.2
 Refinancing 0.4 1.8 0.5 30.4 19.7 -52.8 -31.9
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.16 3.11 3.15 3.33 3.37 3.54 3.42
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