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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Are Little-Changed
by Tom Moeller  August 16, 2017

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Volume Index ticked 0.1% higher (-22.6% y/y) in the week ended August 11 following a 3.0% rise in the prior week. Applications to refinance improved 1.6% (-40.2% y/y) after a 5.3% rise during the prior week. Purchase applications declined 1.5% (+9.3% y/y) following a 0.8% improvement.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage held at 3.50%, but remained near the highest level in three months. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan eased to 4.23% while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan slipped to 4.12%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate rose to 3.45%.

The average mortgage loan size improved to $281,400 (1.1% y/y). For purchases, loan size increased to $305,500 (4.0% y/y); for refinancings, it gained to $255,000 (-5.2% y/y).

Applications for adjustable rate loans rose 11.4% y/y, while applications for fixed rate loans fell 24.2% 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) 08/11/17 08/04/17 07/28/17 Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Market Index 0.1 3.0 -2.8 -22.6 15.6 17.9 -41.4
 Purchase -1.5 0.8 -2.0 9.3 13.3 15.5 -12.9
 Refinancing 1.6 5.3 -3.8 -40.2 17.3 19.7 -52.8
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.50 3.51 3.56 3.02 (Aug '16) 3.22 3.37 3.54
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