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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Rebound
by Tom Moeller  July 19, 2017

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Volume Index increased 6.3% (-32.2% y/y) in the week ended July 14 following a 7.4% decline in the prior week. Purchase applications improved 1.1% (6.8% y/y) after a 2.5% fall. Applications to refinance rebounded 13.0% (-51.9% y/y) after a 13.0% decline during the prior week.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage slipped to 3.58%, but remained near the highest level in two months. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan eased to 4.31%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan held steady at 4.27%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate fell to 3.40%.

The average mortgage loan size fell sharply to $278,300 (-4.6% y/y). For purchases, loan size dropped to $301,200 (+1.2% y/y); for refinancings, it rebounded slightly to $250,000 (-13.3% y/y).

Applications for adjustable rate loans declined 11.3% y/y, while applications for fixed rate loans fell by one-third 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) 07/14/17 07/07/17 06/30/17 Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Market Index 6.3 -7.4 1.4 -32.2 15.6 17.9 -41.4
 Purchase 1.1 -2.5 3.1 6.8 13.3 15.5 -12.9
 Refinancing 13.0 -13.0 -0.4 -51.9 17.3 19.7 -52.8
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 3.58 3.61 3.51 3.01 (July '16) 3.22 3.37 3.54
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