Mortgage Closing Rate Rises to Highest Level in at Least 16 Months

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Despite falling mortgage rates, the refinance share of total mortgage volume fell to 32% of all loans in May, down from 35% in April and down from 38% in May 2018, according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, based on closings, was 4.52% in May, down from 4.61% in April, according to the monthly report, which is based on data shared voluntarily by lenders using Ellie Mae’s Encompass loan origination system.

The average time to close a mortgage increased to 42 days, up from a low of 40 days in April. The average time to close a refinance increased to 37 days, up from 33 days, while the time to close a purchase increased to 44 days, up from 43 days.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of mortgage activity was 6.7%, down from 6.8% the previous month.

The closing rate increased to 75.6% of all loans, up from 74.8% in April and up from 70.2% in May 2018 to reach the highest level in at least 16 months.

The closing rate for refinances was 71.9% while the closing rate for purchase loans was 77.8% – both up compared with April and a year earlier.

The average FICO score for all closed loans was 728 – flat compared with April but up from an average score of 724 in May 2018.

It was the highest average FICO score in at least 16 months.

Average LTV increased to 80 and DTI held at 25/38.

“As the 30-year note rate declines for yet another month, we are seeing purchase and refinance activity on the rise,” says Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae, in a statement. “Closing rates remain well over 75 percent and with the Mortgage Bankers Association reporting solid purchase volume and new inventory on the rise, we could be in for a very robust summer home buying season.”

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