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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Decline
by Tom Moeller  January 30, 2019

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Index fell 3.0% (-6.0% y/y) during the week ended January 25, about the same as during the prior week. These declines followed sharp increases early in the month. Applications to refinance a mortgage decreased a constant 5.5% and fell 18.5% y/y. Applications to purchase a home eased a steady 2.3% (+4.2% y/y) following strong increases early in the month.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady w/w at 4.27%, down from a 4.71% high early in November. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan held at 4.89%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan was steady at 4.67%, and for adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate held at 4.28%.

The average mortgage loan size declined to $312,900 (8.5% y/y). For purchases, the average loan size increased to $313,600 (0.3% y/y). For refinancings, the average loan size declined to $312,000 (+19.2% y/y).

Applications for fixed-rate loans declined 8.1% y/y while applications for adjustable-rate loans surged by roughly one-quarter 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) 01/25/19 01/18/19 01/11/19 Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
Total Market Index -3.0 -2.7 13.5 -6.0 -10.4 -17.8 15.6
 Purchase -2.3 -2.2 9.1 4.2 2.1 5.6 13.3
 Refinancing -5.5 -5.3 18.7 -18.5 -24.3 -34.0 17.3
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 4.27 4.26 4.25 3.89 (Jan.'18) 4.35 3.59 3.22
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