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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Rebound
by Tom Moeller  August 10, 2016

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index increased 7.1% (41.9% y/y) last week following three consecutive weeks of decline. Refinancing applications gained 9.6% and increased by two-thirds y/y. Purchase applications improved 2.6% (12.8% y/y) after three weeks of decline.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was steady at 3.01%, and remained near the lowest level since May 2013. Rates were down from the 3.50% highs of November and December. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan also was steady at 3.75%, down from 4.28% near year-end. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan held at 3.73%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate fell to 2.93%, the lowest level in four weeks.

The average mortgage loan size eased to $279,500 (+5.4% y/y). For purchases, it dipped to $297,000 (+3.1% y/y); for refinancings, it increased to $268,900 (9.8% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 45.1% y/y, while adjustable-rate loan applications eased 1.7% 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) 08/05/16 07/29/16 07/22/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total Market Index 7.1 -3.5 -11.2 41.9 17.9 -41.4 -24.2
 Purchase 2.6 -2.4 -3.3 12.8 15.5 -12.9 5.2
 Refinancing 9.6 -4.2 -15.1 65.4 19.7 -52.8 -31.9
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.01 3.02 3.02 3.49 3.37 3.54 3.42
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