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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Fall
by Tom Moeller  August 2, 2017

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Volume Index declined 2.8% (-22.8% y/y) in the week ended July 28 following a 0.4% rise in the prior week. Applications to refinance declined 3.8% (-41.2% y/y) after a 3.4% rise during the prior week. Purchase applications declined 2.0% (+8.5% y/y) following a 2.2% fall.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage held steady at 3.56%, but remained near the highest level in two months. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan held at 4.28%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan rose to 4.18%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate rose to 3.41%.

The average mortgage loan size fell to $279,400 (+0.4% y/y). For purchases, loan size eased to $303,100 (+1.5% y/y); for refinancings, it slipped to $250,900 (-5.5% y/y).

Applications for adjustable rate loans rose 9.4% y/y, while applications for fixed rate loans fell 24.4% 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) 07/28/17 07/21/17 07/14/17 Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Market Index -2.8 0.4 6.3 -22.8 15.6 17.9 -41.4
 Purchase -2.0 -2.2 1.1 8.5 13.3 15.5 -12.9
 Refinancing -3.8 3.4 13.0 -41.2 17.3 19.7 -52.8
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.56 3.56 3.58 3.01 (July '16) 3.22 3.37 3.54
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