It took an average of 46 days to close a residential mortgage loan in February, the shortest closing time since May, according to Ellie Mae.

The average time to close a purchase was 48 days and the average time to close a refinance loan was 44 days, according to Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report. Closing rates on all loans rose to 69.9%.

Purchases represented 52% of all closed loans in February and refinancings were 46%.

Additionally, the average FICO credit score on closed loans rose to 720 from 719 in the month before.

For the first time since October, the number of days to close is falling substantially, said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae.

"This could be due to lenders becoming more familiar with the new loan estimate and closing disclosure forms and business process around 'Know Before You Owe,'" he said.

"We're also seeing closing rates continue their upswing…the highest we've seen closing rates since we began tracking data in August 2011."

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