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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Are Little-Changed
by Tom Moeller  May 3, 2017

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Volume Index eased 0.1% last week (-16.9% y/y) in the week of April 28, after a 2.7% rise in the preceding week. Refinancing applications declined 4.7% and by one-third y/y. Purchase applications increased 4.2% w/w (4.8% y/y) after posting two consecutive weekly declines.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage held steady at 3.59%, where it was all month. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan of 4.33% has been fairly stable for three weeks. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan of 4.25% was down from 4.41% during all of March. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate of 3.3% also was where it's been all month.

The average mortgage loan size edged down from the previous week to $290,500 (+5.1% y/y). For purchases, loan size rose to $316,400 (4.2% y/y); for refinancings, it declined to $254,200 (+0.8% y/y).

Recent diversion of trends in the breakdown of applications into adjustable and fixed interest rates continued. Applications for adjustable rate loans increased by one-third y/y, while applications for fixed rate loans declined 19.7% y/y.

The survey covers over 75% 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) 04/28/17 04/21/17 04/14/17 Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Market Index -0.1 2.7 -1.8 -16.9 15.6 17.9 -41.4
 Purchase 4.2 -1.0 -3.4 4.8 13.3 15.5 -12.9
 Refinancing -4.7 7.2 0.2 -33.3 17.3 19.7 -52.8
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.59 3.59 3.60 3.18 (April '16) 3.22 3.37 3.54
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