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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Decline
by Tom Moeller  May 18, 2018

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Volume Index fell 2.7% (-5.6% y/y) last week, following a 0.4% slip during the prior week.

Purchase loan applications declined 2.1% (+3.6% y/y), after little change during the prior week. Applications to refinance were off 3.8% (-16.7% y/y), following a 0.6% decline.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was fairly steady w/w at 4.34% and remained up sharply from September's low of 3.46%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan was steady w/w at 4.92%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan rose to 4.83%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate increased w/w to 4.29%.

The average mortgage loan size rose to $299,400 (2.7% y/y). For purchases, the average loan size increased to $317,300 (-1.6% y/y); for refinancings, it held steady at $267,400 (8.0% y/y).

Applications for adjustable-rate loans declined 24.3% y/y, while applications for fixed-rate loans fell 3.9% 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) 05/11/18 05/04/18 04/27/18 Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total Market Index -2.7 -0.4 -2.5 -5.6 -17.8 15.6 17.9
 Purchase -2.1 -0.2 -1.6 3.6 5.6 13.3 15.5
 Refinancing -3.8 -0.6 -3.5 -16.7 -34.0 17.3 19.7
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 4.34 4.32 4.33 3.56 (May'17) 3.59 3.22 3.3
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