A year ago economists at the Mortgage Bankers Association were bracing for an ugly 2012, one in which a meager $900 billion in fundings would come to pass. But happily, the trade group now predicts that originations could top $1.7 trillion by the time the books are closed on 2012.

And now for the bad news: next year will bring $1.3 trillion in fundings, a 23% decline from this year, but still a much better year than expected.

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