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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Improve To Highest Level In Eight Weeks
by Tom Moeller  January 22, 2014

Activity in the mortgage market firmed appreciably last week. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total mortgage market index rose another 4.7% last week (-54.8% y/y) following the prior week's 11.9% gain. The gain was driven by a 9.9% jump (-65.8% y/y) in refinancings Applications to purchase a home backpedaled 3.6% (-14.0% y/y) following their 11.5% rise in the prior week.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage slipped last week to 3.75%. That's still up, however, from 2.89% early in May of last year. The rate remained slightly below the high of 3.93% late in August of last year. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan edged down to 4.68% last week while the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan slipped to 4.62%. The effective interest rate on an adjustable 5-year mortgage declined w/w to 3.37% but remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May last year.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans dropped 56.5% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications declined 9.1% y/y. The average mortgage loan size recovered to $224,200. The average loan size for home purchases increased to $266,300 last week but for refinancings it declined to $200,600.

The survey covers over 75 percent 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.

Drivers of Mortgage Choices by Risky Borrowers from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 01/17/14 01/10/14 01/03/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 404.1 386.1 345.1 -54.8 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 184.8 191.7 171.9 -14.0 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,682.1 1,530.3 1,375.6 -65.8 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.75 3.82 3.85 2.99
3.42 3.25 3.97
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