First-mortgage originations went up 14 percent in the second half of 2005, and, with short-term rates rising, mortgage buyers moved to fixed-rate mortgage products, according to a report released by the Mortgage Bankers Association Tuesday.

According to the MBA’s Year-end 2005 Mortgage Originations Survey, fixed-rate products accounted for 47 percent of loan originations in the second half of last year, up from 42 percent in the first half.

“As short-term rates increased over the second half of 2005, homeowners moved away from adjustable rate loans into fixed-rate loans,” said Doug Duncan, MBA’s chief economist and senior vice president of research and business development, in a statement.

“Fixed-rate loans are more attractive as short term interest rates rise to similar levels as long term rates. Not surprisingly, consumers respond to interest rate-driven changes in opportunities in the marketplace,” Duncan said.

According to the survey, reverse mortgage originations increased by 45 percent over their level in the first half, with originations of FHA’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgages rising by 48 percent and other reverse mortgage volume increasing by 27 percent.

Total first mortgage originations increased by 14 percent from the first half to the second half of 2005, the MBA said. The refinance share of originations increased to 51 percent in the second half. 

During the second half, 72 percent of refinance loans contained a cash-out component. Fixed-rate products (including fixed-rate interest-only) were 47 percent of loan originations in the second half of 2005, up from 42 percent in the first half, the MBA said.

Demand for fixed-rate interest-only originations increased sharply to 13 percent of origination volume in the second half from 7 percent in the first half, the company said.

The survey included 114 participants, including a majority of the top 30 originators. During the second half of 2005, survey participants originated $866 billion in first mortgages and $189 billion in second mortgages.

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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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