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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Increase; Rates Steady
by Tom Moeller  May 10, 2017

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Volume Index rose 2.4% (-15.2% y/y) in the week of May 5, after little change in the prior week. Refinancing applications rebounded 3.3% (-31.5% y/y) following a 4.7% fall. Purchase applications increased 1.7% (6.2% y/y) after a 4.2% rise.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage held steady at 3.60%, close to where it's been since December. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan held steady at 4.32%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan ticked higher w/we to 4.30%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate rose to 3.42% from 3.35% last month.

The average mortgage loan size was little changed at $291,600 (+2.8% y/y). For purchases, loan size was fairly steady at $318,000 (4.2% y/y); for refinancings, it was stable at $254,900 (-3.6% y/y).

Applications for adjustable rate loans increased 22.0% y/y, while applications for fixed rate loans declined 17.5% 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) 05/05/17 04/28/17 04/21/17 Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Market Index 2.4 -0.1 2.7 -15.2 15.6 17.9 -41.4
 Purchase 1.7 4.2 -1.0 6.2 13.3 15.5 -12.9
 Refinancing 3.3 -4.7 7.2 -31.5 17.3 19.7 -52.8
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.60 3.59 3.59 3.16 (May '16) 3.22 3.37 3.54
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