Refinance Activity Inches Up A Bit

Refinancing activity grew 4 percent between September and October to account for 40 percent of overall mortgage volume—the highest level in six months, according to the latest Origination Insight Report released by Ellie Mae. The October 2014 report also found that the average 30-year interest rate for all loans fell for the sixth consecutive month to 4.371 percent, the lowest average since July 2013.

The Origination Insight Report mines its application data from a robust sampling of approximately 57 percent of all mortgage applications that were initiated on the Encompass origination platform. The Origination Insight Report is considered a strong proxy of the underwriting standards employed by lenders across the country.

“Refinancing activity in October was at the highest level since March of this year, thanks largely to the current interest rate environment,” said Jonathan Corr, president and COO of Ellie Mae. “Low rates are creating opportunities for homeowners to either lower their payments or capitalize on their homes’ equity.”

According to the Origination Insight Report, 33 percent of closed loans in October had an average FICO score of under 700 compared to 28 percent in October 2013. Among other findings in the report:

>> Despite the increase in refinance share, the average time to close a refi dropped from 40 days to 39 days.

>> The average 30-year interest rate for all loans fell to 4.371 percent and the average 30-year interest rate for FHA loans declined to 4.237 percent. Both were at the lowest level since July 2013.

>> Closing rates on purchase loans rose to 66.1 percent, the highest percentage since Ellie Mae began tracking this data in August 2011.

To get a meaningful view of lender pull-through, Ellie Mae reviewed a sampling of loan applications initiated 90 days prior—or the July 2014 applications—to calculate an overall closing rate of 59.4 percent in October 2014.