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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Fall
by Tom Moeller  November 9, 2016

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index declined 1.2% last week (+17.6% y/y), the same as during the prior week. Refinancing applications fell 2.7% (+22.7% y/y) following a 1.6% shortfall. Purchase applications increased 1.4% (10.5% y/y) after a 0.4% easing.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was little changed at 3.12%, up from the July low of 2.97%. Rates remained down from the 3.50% highs of November and December. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan rose to 3.88%, up versus the 3.70% low early in July. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan was unchanged at 3.83%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate was stable at 3.10%, but was higher than 2.87% early in July.

The average mortgage loan size fell to $276,100, up 2.5% y/y. For purchases, it eased to $305,800 (+ 1.9% y/y); for refinancings, it declined to $258,100 (3.7% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 20.3% y/y, while adjustable-rate loan applications declined 20.5% 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) 11/04/16 10/28/16 10/21/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total Market Index -1.2 -1.2 -4.1 17.6 17.9 -41.4 -24.2
 Purchase 1.4 -0.4 -6.9 10.5 15.5 -12.9 5.2
 Refinancing -2.7 -1.6 -2.3 22.7 19.7 -52.8 -31.9
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.12 3.13 3.08 3.48 (Nov. '15) 3.37 3.54 3.42
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