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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Are Little Changed; Financing Rates Ease
by Tom Moeller  May 11, 2016

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index nudged 0.4% higher last week (18.9% y/y) following a 3.4% decline. Purchase applications also improved 0.4% (14.0% y/y) after little change in the prior week while application to refinance rose 0.5% (23.0% y/y) after a 5.5% drop.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage fell to 3.15%, and reversed the prior week's rise. Rates remained down from the 3.50% highs of November and December. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan of 3.92% also was lower versus 4.28% near year-end. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan was little changed w/w at 3.83%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate was 3.01%.

The average mortgage loan size increased w/w to $283,700 (5.5% y/y). For purchases, it rose to $305,200 (2.2% y/y); for refinancings, it firmed to $264,400 (10.1% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 19.6% y/y, while adjustable-rate loan applications rose 8.0% 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.

Consumers' Income Growth Expectations Strengthen, Labor Market Expectations Weaken Slightly from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is available here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (%, SA) 05/06/16 04/29/16 04/22/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total Market Index 0.4 -3.4 -4.1 18.9 17.9 -41.4 -24.2
 Purchase 0.4 -0.1 -2.4 14.0 15.5 -12.9 5.2
 Refinancing 0.5 -5.5 -5.0 23.0 15.1 -52.8 -31.9
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.15 3.22 3.18 3.33 3.37 3.54 3.42
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