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MBA application survey: mortgage rates fall as application numbers increase

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(Read caption) This chart shows the average contract interest rate for 15 and 30-year fixed rate mortgages between 2007 and 2011. Rates have been declining steadily since 2007.

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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.

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The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage declined 7 basis points to 4.32% since last week while the purchase application volume increased 0.9% and the refinance application volume slumped 12.2% over the same period.

Federal Open Market Committee members appear to be getting more dovish leaning further into a posture of additional quantitative easing.

In all likelihood additional QE will focus on longer term rates possibly working to push down mortgage rates even further.

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).