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Economy in Brief

Again, Lower Rates Raised Mortgage Refinancing
by Tom Moeller September 29, 2004

The index of mortgage applications compiled by the Mortgage Bankers Association jumped 4.9% last week. The average for mortgage applications in September is 7.4% ahead of August.

The effective interest rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage ticked lower to 5.91% versus 6.04% averaged in August. In May, 30-year financing averaged 6.53%. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage fell to 5.33%, down from 5.97% averaged in May.

Applications to refinance added 7.7% to the prior week's 4.1% gain and for September are 12.9% ahead of August. Purchase applications rose 2.7% and for September are 3.5% higher than in August.

During the last ten years there has been a 60% correlation between the y/y change in purchase applications and the change in new plus existing home sales.

"Federal Government Debt and Interest Rates" from the American Enterprise Institute can be found here.

The Mortgage Bankers Association surveys between 20 to 35 of the top lenders in the U.S. housing industry to derive its refinance, purchase and market indexes. The weekly survey accounts for more than 40% of all applications processed each week by mortgage lenders. Visit the Mortgage Bankers Association site here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (3/16/90=100) 09/24/04 09/17/04 Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Total Market Index 724.7 690.7 2.5% 1,067.9 799.7 625.6
  Purchase 469.1 456.6 17.9% 395.1 354.7 304.9
  Refinancing 2,211 2,052.5 -11.8% 4,981.8 3,388.0 2,491.0
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