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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Decline As Interest Rates Rise
by Tom Moeller  October 11, 2018

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Index fell 1.7% (-14.4% y/y) in the week ending October 5 following no change during the prior week. Purchase loan applications declined 1.1% (+2.1% y/y), while applications to refinance fell 2.6% (-32.2% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.58% and remained up sharply from 3.51% at the end of last September. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan increased to 5.20%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan rose to 5.09%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate increased to 4.49%.

The average mortgage loan size rose to $294,000 (1.7% y/y). For purchases, the average loan size gained to $312,400 (-1.4% y/y); for refinancings, it rose to $265,300 (1.9% y/y).

Applications for fixed-rate loans fell 15.1% y/y while applications for adjustable-rate loans declined 5.5% 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) 10/05/18 09/28/18 09/21/18 Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total Market Index -1.7 0.0 2.9 -14.4 -17.8 15.6 17.9
 Purchase -1.1 0.1 2.6 2.1 5.6 13.3 15.5
 Refinancing -2.6 -0.1 3.2 -32.2 -34.0 17.3 19.7
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 4.58 4.52 4.51 3.57 (Oct'17) 3.59 3.22 3.47
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