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) declined a six basis points to 4.28% since last week, while purchase application volume declined 1% and refinance application volume increased 3% over the same period. As a result of Fed Chairman Bernanke's abrupt turnaround on the "tapering" issue, rates appear now to be pulling back notably after weeks of explosive increases that saw a rise of over 100 basis points. The following charts show the average interest rate for 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages since 2006 as well as purchase, refinance, and composite loan volumes.