Refinance Share of Mortgage Activity Fell to 38% in March

The refinance share of mortgage activity plummeted to 38% in March, down dramatically from 43% in February, according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight report, which is based on data voluntarily provided by mortgage lenders using the software firm’s Encompass loan origination system.

Driving down refinance volume, of course, were rising mortgage interest rates. According to the monthly report, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in March was 4.69%, up from 4.48% in February and 4.33% in January.

This was the highest average 30-year rate since January 2014.

In addition, the average rate for an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) was 6.3%, up from 5.5% the previous month.

The average number of days to close a mortgage loan was 41, down from 42 in February and down from 44 in January.

The average time to close a refinance was 37 days – flat compared with February. The average time to close a purchase loan was 43 days, down from 45 days.

The closing rate for all loan types combined was 69.6%, down from 70.6% in February to reach the lowest level since March 2017.

The closing rate on refinances decreased slightly to 64.9%, while the closing rate on purchases increased slightly to 76.3%.

The average FICO score for all closed loans was 722. The average FICO score has hovered between 722 and 724 since January 2017.

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