The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications.
The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases.
The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage declined 3 basis points to 4.51% since last week while the purchase application volume increased 4.5% and the refinance application volume jumped 16.5% over the same period.
Rates now appear to be trending down having, more of less, declined continually for the last few months.
Given that we are nearing the end of the Feds QE2 intervention, it will be interesting to see how long rates trend in the next few months.
In any event, the purchase application volume remains near the lowest level seen in well over a decade while refinance activity continues to bounce around a bit.
The following chart shows the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages since 2006 as well as the purchase, refinance and composite loan volumes (click for larger dynamic full-screen version).