Purchase mortgage loan activity is gaining momentum as the housing market enters the peak spring buying season, according to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report. According to the mortgage industry software provider, mortgage purchases represented 46 percent of lenders’ overall volume in March, compared with 53 percent in refinancing volume.

Purchase mortgage loan activity is gaining momentum as the housing market enters the peak spring buying season, according to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report.

According to the mortgage industry software provider, mortgage purchases represented 46 percent of lenders’ overall volume in March, compared with 53 percent in refinancing volume.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate in March rose to 4.04 percent, a slight increase of 0.03 percent over February’s rate of approximately 4.01 percent. For both February and March, the percentage of 15-year fixed-rate mortgages comprised 11.1 percent of loans; adjustable-rate mortgages hovered around 4 percent during both months.

In other findings, Ellie Mae said conventional mortgage originations fell slightly to 66 percent, down from 69 percent in February. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans got a boost, however, comprising 22 percent of all loan types closed, up from 19 percent in February. The percentage of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans remained unchanged at 9 percent.

Overall, it is taking longer to close both purchase and refi transactions, the report concluded. It took an average of 44 days to close purchase loan transactions in March, up from 40 days in February. It took an average of 45 days to close refi transactions, up from 36 days in February.

Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report sampled about a third of mortgage applications initiated through Ellie Mae’s Encompass mortgage management solution in the past 90 days. With about 3.7 million loan applications run through Encompass last year, Ellie Mae believes the report is a strong representation of the underwriting standards that are being employed by lenders across the country. The Origination Insight Report uses aggregated, anonymized data and does not disclose client-specific or proprietary information.

Email Amy Swinderman.

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