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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Fall; Financing Rates Steady
by Tom Moeller  April 11, 2018

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Volume Index declined 1.9% last week (-5.5% y/y), following a 3.3% fall during the prior week.

Purchase loan applications were off 2.0% (+0.2% y/y), about the same as they were during the prior week. Applications to refinance declined 1.7% (-12.7% y/y), following a 4.9% fall.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage held steady w/w at 4.21%, up sharply from the 3.46% low in September. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan eased w/w to 4.79%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan was little-changed at 4.62%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate increased w/w to 4.16%.

The average mortgage loan size eased to $289,400 (-0.3% y/y). For purchases, the average loan size slipped to $309,600 (-2.9% y/y); for refinancings, it fell to $256,900 (+2.6% y/y).

Applications for adjustable-rate loans fell 30.0% y/y, while applications for fixed-rate loans declined 3.3% 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.

How Will the New Tax Law Affect Homeowners in High Tax States? It Depends from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York can be found here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (%, SA) 04/06/18 03/30/18 03/23/18 Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total Market Index -1.9 -3.3 4.8 -5.5 -17.8 15.6 17.9
 Purchase -2.0 -2.1 3.1 0.2 5.6 13.3 15.5
 Refinancing -1.7 -4.9 7.3 -12.7 -34.0 17.3 19.7
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 4.21 4.20 4.21 3.59 (Apr.'17) 3.59 3.22 3.37
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