Mortgage forecast inches up on brighter refi outlook: Fannie

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Fannie Mae is slightly more optimistic about how single-family origination volumes are shaping up this year.

The government-sponsored enterprise has revised its monthly forecast for total originations in 2017 upward to $1.62 trillion from $1.59 trillion, but that's still more than 20% lower than last year's total.

The revision appears linked primarily to an improved outlook for refinancing.

Refi projections for the second quarter are slightly higher in terms of dollar amount and market share. The same is true of the third quarter, when Fannie plans to increase the maximum debt-to-income ratio allowable through automated underwriting to 50% from 45%.

However, Fannie's refinancing forecast for the fourth quarter remains largely the same. The government-sponsored enterprise's economists still anticipate there will be only $100 billion in refinancing during the quarter and that it will represent 28% of total originations.

"We expect the refinance share to move down," said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan in a press release.

Fannie expects refinancing to account for 34% of originations in 2017 as a whole, as compared to 48% last year, according to Duncan.

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