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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Ease W/W; Upward Trend Remains Strong
by Tom Moeller  February 24, 2016

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index declined 4.3% last week (+23.8% y/y) following two weeks of strong increase. So far this month, applications have risen 24.9% from January. Purchase applications increased 2.2% w/w (27.0% y/y), but have fallen 2.3% m/m. Refinancing applications declined 7.7% (+21.8% y/y), surged 46.5% m/m.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage of 3.22% remained down from its November high of 3.55%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan rose w/w to 3.97% and the rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan ticked up to 3.87%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate increased w/w to 3.19%, but remained below the 3.32% averaged in November.

The average mortgage loan size fell to $289,200 (+13.7% y/y. For purchases, it declined to $297,600 (+3.0% y/y) and for refinancings, it fell to $283,800 (+21.6% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans decreased 23.3% y/y while adjustable-rate loan applications improved 38.6% 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) 02/19/16 02/12/16 02/05/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Total Market Index 521.5 544.9 503.6 23.8 417.8 355.3 607.6
 Purchase 217.9 213.3 221.6 27.0 195.0 169.8 195.8
 Refinancing 2,267.4 2,456.7 2,117.2 21.8 1,735.2 1,449.8 3,070.0
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.22 3.18 3.28 3.31 3.37 3.54 3.42
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