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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Increase
by Tom Moeller  February 8, 2017

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Market Volume Index rose 2.3% last week (-21.8% y/y) following a 3.2% decline during the week prior. Purchase applications rebounded 1.8% (5.5% y/y) after a 5.6% fall. Refinancing applications improved 2.2% (-39.7% y/y) following a 1.4% decrease.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage eased to 3.64%, but remained higher than the July low of 2.97%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan of 4.45% was higher than the 3.70% low in early-July. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan fell to 4.36%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate of 3.46% was up w/w and higher than the 2.87% low early in July.

The average mortgage loan size rose w/w to $276,000 (-9.0% y/y). For purchases, it rose to $309,800 (1.6% y/y); for refinancings, it gained to $239,200 (-20.8% y/y).

Applications for fixed interest rate loans declined 22.2% y/y, while applications for variable interest rate loans fell 16.4% y/y.

The survey covers over 75% 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) 02/03/17 01/27/17 01/20/17 Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Market Index 2.3 -3.2 4.0 -21.8 15.6 17.9 -41.4
 Purchase 1.8 -5.6 6.0 5.5 13.3 15.5 -12.9
 Refinancing 2.2 -1.4 0.2 -39.7 17.3 19.7 -52.8
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.64 3.69 3.64 3.22 (Feb '16) 3.22 3.37 3.54
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