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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Reverse Earlier Increase
by Tom Moeller  July 18, 2018

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Index declined 2.5% last week (-12.8% y/y) following a 2.5% gain during the prior week.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was little changed at 4.32% and remained up sharply from September's low of 3.40%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan was steady at 4.90%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan held at 4.75%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate was steady w/w at 4.26%.

Purchase loan applications decreased 5.2% (+1.0% y/y) after a 6.5% rise during the prior week. Applications to refinance improved 2.2% (-28.4% y/y), the first increase in four weeks.

The average mortgage loan size fell sharply to $284,500 (+2.2% y/y). For purchases, the average loan size declined to $305,200 (+1.3% y/y); for refinancings, it fell to $248,500 (-0.6% y/y).

Applications for fixed-rate loans fell 12.2% y/y while applications for adjustable rate loans declined 20.9% 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) 07/13/18 07/06/18 06/29/18 Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total Market Index -2.5 2.5 -0.5 -12.8 -17.8 15.6 17.9
 Purchase -5.2 6.5 0.5 1.0 5.6 13.3 15.5
 Refinancing 2.2 -3.8 -2.0 -28.4 -34.0 17.3 19.7
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 4.32 4.30 4.34 3.58 (Jul'17) 3.59 3.22 3.3
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