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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Rebound
by Tom Moeller  April 12, 2017

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index increased 1.5% last week (-22.5% y/y) and reversed the prior week's decline. Refinancing applications remained steady (-40.0% y/y) following a 4.2% drop, but purchase applications improved 2.9% (2.0% y/y) after a 0.7% increase.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage fell to 3.59% while the effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan eased to 4.39%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan held steady at 4.32%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate also was unchanged at 3.39%s.

The average mortgage loan size rose w/w to $290,300 (2.2% y/y). For purchases, it was roughly steady at $318,700 (4.8% y/y); for refinancings, it rose to $250,300 (-6.4% y/y).

Applications for variable interest rate loans increased 32.1% y/y, while applications for fixed rate loans declined 25.4% y/y.

The survey covers over 75% 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) 04/07/17 03/31/17 03/24/17 Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Market Index 1.5 -1.6 -0.8 -22.5 15.6 17.9 -41.4
 Purchase 2.9 0.7 1.2 2.0 13.3 15.5 -12.9
 Refinancing 0.0 -4.2 -2.9 -40.0 17.3 19.7 -52.8
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.59 3.66 3.68 3.18 (April '16) 3.22 3.37 3.54
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