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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Improve
by Tom Moeller  October 19, 2016

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index rose 0.6% last week (18.5% y/y) following a 6.0% fall. Applications to purchase jumped 3.0% (13.0% y/y), and made up the prior week's decline. Refinancing applications eased 0.8% (+22 .4% y/y) following an 8.0% drop.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage rose to 3.09%, up slightly from the July low of 2.97%. Rates were down from the 3.50% highs of November and December. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan increased to 3.83%. It remained down from 4.28% near year-end. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan rose to 3.81%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate increased to 3.12%, higher than 2.87% early in July.

The average mortgage loan size declined to $277,200, up 0.3% y/y. For purchases, it rose to $308,000 (4.0% y/y); for refinancings, it declined to $257,900 (-1.9% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans increased 22.1% y/y, while adjustable-rate loan applications declined 29.8% 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) 10/14/16 10/07/16 09/30/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total Market Index 0.6 -6.0 2.9 18.5 17.9 -41.4 -24.2
 Purchase 3.0 -2.6 -0.1 13.0 15.5 -12.9 5.2
 Refinancing -0.8 -8.0 4.7 22.4 19.7 -52.8 -31.9
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.09 3.05 3.01 3.43 3.37 3.54 3.42
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