The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50% of all residential mortgage originations, as well as tracks the average interest rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages and 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) declined 5 basis points to 4.60% since last week. Purchase application volume declined 0.4% and refinance application volume increased 2% over the same period. Rates appear to be continuing to rise after some settling and following weeks of explosive increases that saw a rise of over 100 basis points, seemingly directly correlated with the Fed's recent suggestion it might start to "taper" the GSE and treasury purchases later this year.
The following charts show the average interest rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages since 2006, as well as purchase, refinance, and composite loan volumes.