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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Increase as Home Purchase Apps Surge
by Tom Moeller  July 8, 2020

• 15-year fixed rate mortgage eased to record low.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Index increased 2.2% (71.1% y/y) during the week ending July 3 after falling for two straight weeks. Applications to purchase a home rebounded 5.3% (33.2% y/y) and recouped two consecutive weeks of decline. Refinance activity edged 0.4% higher (110.9% y/y), also following two weeks of sharp decline.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage eased to a record low of 2.85%. Thirty-year fixed rates also fell to a record low of 3.36%. Thirty-year jumbo rates eased to 3.62%. Five-year adjustable rates decreased to 3.01%, the lowest level since September 2016.

The average mortgage loan size increased w/w to $330,100 (0.8% y/y), but remained down versus the early-March high of $367,900. For purchases, the average loan size increased to $365,700 (12.8% y/y) while refinancing loan size increased to $306,500 (-7.3% y/y).

With interest rates low, applications for fixed-rate loans increased 56.5% y/y while adjustable-rate mortgage loans declined 2.6% 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) 07/03/20 06/26/20 06/19/20 Y/Y 2019 2018 2017
Total Market Index 2.2 -1.8 -8.7 71.1 32.4 -10.4 -17.8
  Purchase 5.3 -1.3 -3.0 33.2 6.6 2.1 5.6
  Refinancing 0.4 -2.2 -11.7 110.9 71.1 -24.3 -34.0
15-Year Effective Mortgage Interest Rate (%) 2.85 2.90 2.89

3.54
(Jul '19)

3.71 4.35 3.59
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