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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Tick Higher
by Tom Moeller  July 26, 2017

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Volume Index rose 0.4% (-23.3% y/y) in the week ended July 21 following a 6.3% increase in the prior week. Applications to refinance increased 3.4% (-41.4% y/y) after a 13.0% rise during the prior week. Purchase applications declined 2.2% (+8.1% y/y) following a 1.1% increase.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage slipped to 3.56%, but remained near the highest level in two months. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan eased to 4.29%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan fell to 4.13%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate fell to 3.38%.

The average mortgage loan size rose to $282,700 (2.0% y/y). For purchases, loan size rose to $308,900 (3.8% y/y); for refinancings, it increased to $251,900 (-4.7% y/y).

Applications for adjustable rate loans rose 12.1% y/y, while applications for fixed rate loans fell by one-quarter 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) 07/21/17 07/14/17 07/07/17 Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Market Index 0.4 6.3 -7.4 -23.3 15.6 17.9 -41.4
 Purchase -2.2 1.1 -2.5 8.1 13.3 15.5 -12.9
 Refinancing 3.4 13.0 -13.0 -41.4 17.3 19.7 -52.8
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.56 3.58 3.61 3.01 (July '16) 3.22 3.37 3.54
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