The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50% of all residential mortgage originations. It 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 (from FHA and conforming GSE data) increased a notable 14 basis point to 4.54% since last week. Purchase application volume increased 1% and the refinance application volume declined 8% over the same period. Rates now appear to be rising again after some settling and following weeks of explosive increases that saw a rise of over 100 basis points, seemingly directly correlated with the Feds recent suggestion that it might start to "taper" GSE and treasury purchases later this year.
The following chart shows the average interest rate for 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages since 2006 as well as purchase, refinance, and composite loan volumes.