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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Increase
by Tom Moeller  July 11, 2018

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its total Mortgage Applications Index rose 2.5% last week (-4.9% y/y), following a 0.5% decline during the prior week.

The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was little changed at 4.30% and remained up sharply from September's low of 3.40%. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan was steady at 4.89%. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan eased to 4.74%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate rose slightly w/w to 4.26%.

Purchase loan applications increased 6.5% (7.7% y/y) after a 0.5% rise during the prior week. Applications to refinance fell 3.8% (-20.8% y/y) and continued their steady decline.

The average mortgage loan size fell to $292,700 (+4.3% y/y). For purchases, the average loan size slipped to $309,700 (+1.5% y/y); for refinancings, it fell to $261,000 (+5.9% y/y).

Applications for adjustable-rate loans declined 9.9% y/y, while applications for fixed-rate loans fell 4.6% 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) 07/06/18 06/29/18 06/22/18 Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total Market Index 2.5 -0.5 -4.9 -4.9 -17.8 15.6 17.9
 Purchase 6.5 0.5 -5.9 7.7 5.6 13.3 15.5
 Refinancing -3.8 -2.0 -3.5 -20.8 -34.0 17.3 19.7
15-Year Mortgage Effective Interest Rate (%) 4.30 4.34 4.39 3.58 (Jul'17) 3.59 3.22 3.3
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