Mortgage lending up in Q1 2015

According to an new report from RealtyTrac, new mortgages were up year over year in the first quarter of 2015.

The firm's U.S. Residential Loan Origination report said that over 1.5 million mortgages on single-family homes and condos originated last quarter, a 17 percent increase in that category from the same time period last year. The value of those loans totaled around $377 billion, a 32 percent increase year over year.

Strong refinancing helped pave the way for these numbers, accounting for about 68 percent of the total new loan dollar volume, roughly $256 billion last quarter.

Loans on new purchases made up the remaining $121 billion, just over 32 percent. RealtyTrac reported that this category peaked recently at 49.2 percent in the second quarter of 2014 and has been decreasing as refinancing numbers have increased. 

Refinancing applications totaled a little over 1.08 million, a 27 percent increase from the same period of time in 2014. New loans were just under 472,000, up just under 1 percent year over year.

"A dip in interest rates early in the year combined with lowered mortgage insurance premiums for FHA loans breathed some life back into the refinancing market in the first quarter," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

Blomquist continued, saying that lenders needn't worry about the minimal new mortgage growth, as he expects those numbers to jump as the prime buying season approaches.

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