The share of purchase loans originated in March climbed to 63 percent of all originations from 57 percent in February. Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report for the month noted that this was the highest share for purchase mortgages since July 2016 when they made up 65 percent of the total.
The average time to close all loans decreased to 43 days in March, down from 46 days in February, the shortest time to close since February of 2015. Similarly, the time to close a refinance dropped to 43 days from 47 days and the timeline for a purchase mortgage was 43 days, down from 45 days in February. All types of loans had shorter timelines.
Closing or pull-through rates were lower for all loan types except FHA refinances. The rate for all loans fell from 70.6 percent in February to 67.9 percent. The pull-through rate for refinances was down 1 percentage point to 65.4 percent and the purchase rate was 74.8 percent compared to 75.9 percent the previous month. Ellie Mae basis closing rates on a sampling of loan applications initiated 90 days earlier, in this case December 2016 applications.
The breakdown of originations across loan types was unchanged from February, with conventional loans getting 63 percent of the business, FHA 23 percent and VA loans 10 percent.
The share of adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) rose from 5.3 percent to 5.6 percent, the highest in three years. The popularity of the loans paralleled the increase in 30-year mortgage rates.
"The purchase market continued to heat up in March, representing 63 percent of total closed loans," said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae. "We also saw the time to close shrink to the shortest duration since February of 2015 at 43 days across all closed loans, purchases and refinances, as Ellie Mae lenders automate more mortgage processes to improve efficiency, quality and compliance."
The Origination Insight Report mines its application data from a sampling of approximately 80 percent of all mortgage applications that were initiated on Ellie Mae's loan origination