Louisiana has seen the strongest decline in “slam-dunk” mortgage lending nationwide during the last half year, a consumer Web site reported today.

Nationwide, mortgage applications that are approved with a minimum of underwriting fuss accounted for 66.6 percent of the last six month’s application volume. That was down from 68.7 percent for the prior six months, according to HomeSmartReports.com.

In Louisiana the “slam-dunk” category accounted for 59.5 percent of mortgages, down from 70 percent. Louisiana’s 10.5 percent decline was followed by South Dakota with 8.2 percent, Mississippi with 8.1 percent, Vermont with 7.1 percent and Florida with 6.7 percent.

“These are the home loans that lending institutions are comfortable making because the collateral for the loan, the home itself, is considered to have a relatively secure value,” said Mike Ela, president of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.-based HomeSmartReports, which provides consumers with online access to sales trends and property value estimates.

“The financial institutions that originate and buy securitized mortgages now have access to much more accurate risk management and trend information than a few years ago. In a ‘when in doubt, don’t’ lending business, the result has been to open the doors of home ownership to many new categories of buyers who previously could not qualify for a home loan,” Ela said.

Risk, volatility and trend information incorporate changes in default and flipping activity, sales trends, value changes and neighborhood characteristics, the company said.

Percent of loan applications in the “slam-dunk” category:


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