As mortgage rates rise, purchase loans hit highest level since 2014

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As mortgage rates continued rising, the percentage of closed home purchase loans grew to its highest level in about four years, according to Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report.

The share of purchase loans closed in April hit 66%, an increase of four percentage points since March and one percentage point from a year ago to its highest level seen since June 2014.

Interest rates also hit new peaks for recent years, growing to 4.79% to their highest reading since 2011, the earliest Ellie Mae began tracking this data. They are up considerably from the 2018 low of 4.33% in January.

Growth in interest rates suggests the pool of mortgage borrowers who will benefit from a refinance will shrink, which was indicated in the drop of closed refinance loans in April. The share of mortgage refis fell to 34% from 35% last year, and from 38% in March.

"We're entering the peak summer home buying months and despite tight inventories, we expect to see a robust purchase market. We're also seeing our lenders' time to close purchases decrease month-over-month as they leverage our true digital mortgage solutions for better efficiency," Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae, said in a press release.

Overall, the time to close a loan fell by one day from a year ago to an average of 41 days.

By loan type, the time to close a refinance loan dropped from 41 days to 37 year-over-year in April. The time to close a purchase loan held steady at 42 days on an annual basis, but fell by one day from March.

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Purchase Mortgage rates Refinance Interest rates Ellie Mae