First American Corp., a provider of advanced property and ownership information, on Wednesday reported a rise in profit for the third quarter of 2005, aided by strong mortgage origination volume.

“The company’s positive performance was affected by strong mortgage origination volume, particularly from purchase activity, as well as our ongoing commitment to maximize operating efficiencies, reduce costs and improve market share,” said Parker S. Kennedy, chairman and chief executive officer of The First American Corp., in a statement.

Net income rose to $149.1 million, or $1.51 cents a share, from $107.2 million, or $1.17 a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 30.3 percent to $1.7 billion in the third quarter from $1.3 billion for the year ago.

Home buyers are compensating for higher home prices by buying interest-only mortgages, which First American says now represent nearly a third of the market.

The earnings handily beat Wall Street expectations. A group of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected the Santa Ana, Calif.-based provider of title insurance, credit reports and mortgage services to report $1.34 a share.

This has been a busy year for the company. Among other things, First American Title Insurance Co. recently combined its Lenders Advantage and Equity Loan Services divisions into a single unit, with the Lenders Advantage division providing mortgage and home equity lenders with one source for title services.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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