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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Decline; Financing Rates are Steady
by Tom Moeller  September 16, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index fell 7.0% last week (+2.2% y/y) to the lowest level since early last month. Applications to refinance a loan led the decline with a 9.1% fall (+0.5% y/y). Home purchase applications followed with a 4.2% easing (+4.6% y/y) and they have been moving slightly downward since mid-June.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was fairly steady at 3.39%, the lowest point since late-May. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan also held w/w at 4.22% and the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan was unchanged at 4.11%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate held at 3.17%, nearly its lowest level since early-May.

The average mortgage loan size improved m/m to $268,300 (10.7% y/y). For purchases, it rose to $287,600 (6.4% y/y) and for refinancings it was fairly stable at $253,200 (14.5% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 14.6% y/y while adjustable rate loan applications were roughly stable 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) 09/11/15 09/04/15 08/28/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 400.5 430.8 459.5 2.2 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 196.3 205.0 206.9 4.6 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 1,557.7 1,713.4 1,902.4 0.5 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.39 3.41 3.37 3.60
3.54 3.42 3.25
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