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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Decline; Mortgage Rates Fall
by Tom Moeller  May 28, 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that their total Mortgage Market Volume Index declined 1.2% last week (-49.8% y/y) and retraced the earlier week's rise. Applications remained two-thirds below the peak in September 2012. Applications to refinance an existing loan were off 1.4% (-61.9% y/y) while home purchase applications declined 1.1% (-15.4% y/y).

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage slipped again, last week to 3.44%, the lowest level since June of last year. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan edged down to 4.36%, also the lowest level since June of last year. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan ticked up to 4.28%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate fell to 3.20%, its lowest since early-November.

The average mortgage loan size increased further to $253,000, the highest level since late-2008. The average loan size for home purchases edged up to $279,900 and for refinancings it increased to $228,300.

Applications for fixed interest rate loans declined 51.4% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications were off by 21.7% 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.

MBA Mortgage Applications (SA, 3/16/90=100) 05/23/14 05/16/14 05/09/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Total Market Index 362.2 366.5 363.4 -49.8 616.6 813.8 572.3
 Purchase 178.1 180.0 185.1 -15.4 197.5 187.8 182.6
 Refinancing 1,418.6 1,438.9 1,386.4 -61.9 3,070.0 4,505.0 2,858.4
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.44 3.47 3.51 3.08
3.42 3.25 3.97
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