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Economy in Brief

Mortgage Applications Bounce Up
by Tom Moeller December 8, 2004

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Survey, mortgage applications rose 3.4% last week following declines during November that, by the end of the month, had pulled the total market index down 11.6%.

Purchase applications rose 6.6% following several weeks of decline that lowered the month-end level 7.3% versus October. During the last ten years there has been a 59% correlation between the y/y change in purchase applications and the change in new plus existing home sales.

Applications to refinance added 1.1% to November declines that totaled 17.0%.

The effective interest rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage fell to 5.94% and averaged 5.97% last month versus 5.92% in October. The effective rate on a 15-year mortgage also fell to 5.40% versus 5.42% averaged in November.

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.

"Perfecting Housing Finance" from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is available here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (3/16/90=100) 12/03/04 11/26/04 Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Total Market Index 696.2 673.3 15.7% 1,067.9 799.7 625.6
  Purchase 490.9 460.3 22.8% 395.1 354.7 304.9
  Refinancing 1,890.6 1,912.3 6.5% 4,981.8 3,388.0 2,491.0
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