"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

MBA Weekly Applications Survey

Continuing the trend started with yesterday's release of the housing starts, we kick off the morning with the MBA Weekly Applications Survey.  If you recall last week, things weren't all that great for the week ending 4/8.  The Market Composite Index declined 6.7%, mostly on refinancing activity, and the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 4.98%.
Will this week be better?  Let's open up the press release and have a look.  For the week ending 4/15, the Market Composite Index increased 5.3%, with the Refinance Index increasing 2.7% and the Purchase Index increasing 10.0%.  Refinancing dropped to 58.5% of total mortgage applications, and adjustable-rate mortgages increased to 6.5% of total applications.  Finally, the average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 4.83%.
What's the takeaway?  Overall mortgage applications are up for the week, driven by strong growth in new mortgage applications.  That strongly points to increased home sales for the week (a trend we've seen for all of April), which means good news for existing home sales and new home sales.

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