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IEmergent sees 18.3% decline in '08 lending An estimated 5.57 million mortgage purchase loans totaling $947 billion will be made this year, an 18.3 percent decline in dollars from 2007 and down 34 percent from 2006, according to projections from Des Moines, Iowa-based market forecaster iEmergent. In its 2008 Mid-Year Mortgage Volume Forecasts, iEmergent projects refinance volume will range from a low of 5.4 million loans totaling $997 billion to up to 6.3 million loans valued at $1.16 billion. The continued slide in loan volume reflects economic conditions, foreclosure levels, tighter underwriting standards, credit issues, capital constrictions, regulatory changes and legislative activity, which will push the mortgage industry's recovery beyond 2009, said iEmergent founder and President Dennis Hedlund. "The industry will not get back to 'normal' rates of purchase for loans until sometime in late 2010 or possibly even early 2012," Hudlund said -- meaning lende...