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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Slip
by Tom Moeller  May 18, 2016

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index declined 1.6% last week (+18.7% y/y) following a 0.4% rise during the week prior. Purchase applications fell 5.8% (+11.5% y/y) after slight improvement in the prior week while applications to refinance rose 1.4% (24.4% y/y) after a 0.5% gain.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage eased to 3.11% following the prior week's decline to 3.15%. Rates remained down from the 3.50% highs of November and December. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan remained at 3.92%, and was down versus 4.28% near year-end. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan was little changed w/w at 3.82%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate was little changed at 3.05%.

The average mortgage loan size was fairly steady w/w at $281,500 (5.1% y/y). For purchases, it eased to $303,300 (+1.6% y/y); for refinancings, it was little changed at $263,400 (9.9% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 19.9% y/y, while adjustable-rate loan applications gained 1.4% 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.

How Many Unemployed People Are Jobless All Month? from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (%, SA) 05/13/16 05/06/16 04/29/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total Market Index -1.6 0.4 -3.4 18.7 17.9 -41.4 -24.2
 Purchase -5.8 0.4 -0.1 11.5 15.5 -12.9 5.2
 Refinancing 1.4 0.5 -5.5 24.4 15.1 -52.8 -31.9
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.11 3.15 3.22 3.33 3.37 3.54 3.42
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