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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Decline
by Tom Moeller  June 19, 2019

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Index fell 3.4% (+31.6% y/y) during the week ending June 14 after the prior week's 26.8% surge. The decline reflected 3.5% declines in both applications to refinance an existing loan (+79.5% y/y) and purchase applications (+3.8% y/y). Refinancing applications surged 46.5% during the prior week. The decline in purchase applications followed a 10.0% rise during the prior week.

The effective interest rate, which includes points, on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped w/w to 3.58% from 3.61%. That compared to a high of 4.71% early in November 2018. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan rose to 4.25% from 4.21% and remained below the November high of 5.33%. The effective rate on a 30-year Jumbo mortgage gained slightly w/w to 4.11%. It remained below the October peak of 5.09%. The rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage eased to 3.54%. It's recent high was 4.52% averaged last October. 

The average mortgage loan size declined w/w to $337,600 (+12.8% y/y) and remained below the record of $381,700 in late-March. For purchases, the average loan size eased to $328,700 (+4.2% y/y). The average loan size for refinancings fell to $346,300 (+27.4% y/y). These series date back to 1990.

Applications for fixed-rate loans rose by one-third y/y, while adjustable rate loan applications gained 15.8% 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) 6/14/2019 6/7/2019 5/31/2019 Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
Total Market Index -3.4 26.8 1.5 31.6 -10.4 -17.8 15.6
  Purchase -3.5 10.0 -2.4 3.8 2.1 5.6 13.3
  Refinancing -3.5 46.5 6.4 79.5 -24.3 -34.0 17.3
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.58 3.61 3.74 4.37 (June '18) 4.35 3.59 3.22
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