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Economy in Brief


U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Near the Low but Interest Rates Remain Stable
by Tom Moeller  April 2, 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total mortgage market index fell 1.2% last week (-54.9% y/y) following an unrevised 3.5% drop during the prior week. It was the third decline in the last four weeks and applications were roughly two-thirds below the peak in September 2012. Applications to refinance a loan declined 2.9% (-66.9% y/y). Home purchase applications improved 0.9% (-17.3% y/y), the fourth rise in the last five weeks.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was stable at 3.68% but still was higher versus the 2.89% low early in May of 2013. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan was 4.65% last week, up from 3.68% last May. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan of 4.54% compared to a low of 3.85%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate at 3.39% remained up from its low of 2.59% at the beginning of May, 2013.

The average mortgage loan size fell back to $235,300. The average loan size for home purchases declined to $273,100 last week and for refinancings it fell to $201,400.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans declined 56.6% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications were off 20.5% y/y.

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.

U.S. Budget Deficits Shrink, but Long-Run Issues Remain from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas can be found here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 03/28/14 03/21/14 03/14/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 356.7 361.2 374.2 -54.9 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 175.6 174.0 169.2 -17.3 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,391.3 1,432.2 1,552.2 -66.8 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.68 3.68 3.58 3.10
3.42 3.25 3.97
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