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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Surge; Interest Rates Fall Further
by Tom Moeller  June 12, 2019

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Index surged 26.8% (45.0% y/y) during the week ending June 7 after the prior week's 1.5% rise. The rise reflected a 46.5% jump in applications to refinance an existing loan, which have doubled y/y. Applications to purchase a home increased 10.0% (11.8% y/y) after declining in six of the prior seven weeks.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell w/w to 3.61%, compared to a high of 4.71% early in November 2018. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan declined to 4.21% and remained below the November high of 5.33%. The rate on a 30-year Jumbo mortgage fell to 4.09%, down from its October peak of 5.09%. The rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage eased to 3.55%. It's recent high was 4.52% averaged last October. 

The average mortgage loan size surged w/w to $358,100 (20.7% y/y) but remained below the record of $381,700 in late-March. For purchases, the average loan size eased to $329,600 (+5.4% y/y). The average loan refinancing size jumped to $386,800 (44.6% y/y). These series date back to 1990.

Applications for fixed-rate loans rose 43.3% y/y, while adjustable rate loan applications gained 69.2% 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) 6/7/2019 5/31/2019 5/24/2019 Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
Total Market Index 26.8 1.5 -3.3 45.0 -10.4 -17.8 15.6
  Purchase 10.0 -2.4 -1.4 11.8 2.1 5.6 13.3
  Refinancing 46.5 6.4 -6.0 97.2 -24.3 -34.0 17.3
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.61 3.74 3.83 4.37 (June '18) 4.35 3.59 3.22
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