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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Jump As Rates Steady
by Tom Moeller  September 23, 2015

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index increased 13.9% last week (34.9% y/y), recovering declines in the prior two weeks. Applications to refinance loans led the increase with a 17.7% rise (41.3% y/y) following two months of decline. Home purchase applications followed with a 9.1% increase (27.0% y/y) to the highest level since early June.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was fairly steady at 3.41%, 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 4.10%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate held at 3.16%, its lowest level since May.

The average mortgage loan size improved m/m to $271,200, up 11.8% y/y. For purchases, it rose to $297,000 (9.8% y/y) and for refinancings it was fairly stable at $252,700 (14.6% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased roughly one-third y/y while adjustable rate loan applications rose 17.0%s 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) 09/18/15 09/11/15 09/04/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total Market Index 456.1 400.5 430.8 34.9 361.5 616.6 813.8
 Purchase 214.2 196.3 205.0 27.0 172.1 197.5 187.8
 Refinancing 1,833.0 1,557.7 1,713.4 41.3 1,449.8 3,070.0 4,505.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.41 3.39 3.41 3.60
3.54 3.42 3.25
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