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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Rebound; Interest Rates Steady
by Tom Moeller  April 18, 2018

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Volume Index increased 4.9% last week (1.0% y/y), following a 1.9% decline during the prior week.

Purchase loan applications increased 6.1% (10.1% y/y) after a 2.0% decline during the prior week. Applications to refinance increased 3.5% (-9.8% y/y), after a 1.7% fall.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was little changed at 4.20%, but remained sharply higher versus the 3.46% low in September. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan rose slightly w/w to 4.80%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan increased to 4.64%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate eased w/w to 4.10%.

The average mortgage loan size increased to $294,700 (2.1% y/y). For purchases, the average loan size rose to $312,300 (-0.1% y/y); for refinancings, it increased to $265,400 (3.7% y/y).

Applications for adjustable-rate loans fell 20.8% y/y, while applications for fixed-rate loans rose 3.0% 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.

The Fed's latest Beige Book covering regional economic conditions is available here.

MBA Mortgage Applications (%, SA) 04/13/18 04/06/18 03/30/18 Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total Market Index 4.9 -1.9 -3.3 1.0 -17.8 15.6 17.9
 Purchase 6.1 -2.0 -2.1 10.1 5.6 13.3 15.5
 Refinancing 3.5 -1.7 -4.9 -9.8 -34.0 17.3 19.7
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 4.20 4.21 4.20 3.59 (Apr.'17) 3.59 3.22 3.37
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