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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50% of all residential mortgage originations, tracks the average interest rate for 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, and tracks 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 shows that the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) went flat at 3.66% since last week, while purchase application volume declined a notable 5% and the refinance application volume declined 3% over the same period. 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.

Source: Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey - Feb. 27, 2013