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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Ease; Interest Rates Remain High
by Tom Moeller  June 13, 2018

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Volume Index fell 1.5% last week (-17.5% y/y), following a 4.1% increase during the prior week.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage increased to 4.36%, and remained up sharply from September's low of 3.40%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan increased to 4.98%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan rose to 4.84%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate gained w/w to 4.32%, up from the July 2016 low of 2.87%.

Purchase loan applications declined 1.5% (-2.2% y/y), after a 4.2% rise during the prior week. Applications to refinance also were off 1.5% (-33.6% y/y) after a 3.8% increase.

The average mortgage loan size fell to $296,600 (-0.0% y/y). For purchases, the average loan size eased to $312,700 (-1.7% y/y); for refinancings, it fell to $267,500 (-2.6% y/y).

Applications for adjustable-rate loans declined 24.6% y/y, while applications for fixed-rate loans fell 16.9% 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) 06/08/18 06/01/18 05/25/18 Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total Market Index -1.5 4.1 -2.9 -17.5 -17.8 15.6 17.9
 Purchase -1.5 4.2 -1.9 -2.2 5.6 13.3 15.5
 Refinancing -1.5 3.8 -4.7 -33.6 -34.0 17.3 19.7
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 4.36 4.33  4.37 3.49 (Jun'17) 3.59 3.22 3.3
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