Refinance mortgages accounted for 45% of mortgage volume, the highest share in a year, according to Ellie Mae's Origination Insights Report.

The share of refinance loans increased from 40% in December, but is still below the 47% share of volume in January 2017. Purchase originations, which are typically lower in the winter months, accounted for 55% in January, after reaching a 2017 peak of 68% in May and June.

The share of Federal Housing Administration refinances grew three percentage points to 28%, and the percentage of conventional refinances hit 51% of closed loans in January, up from 47% in December 2017.

Refinance loans spike

"As we ring in 2018, we see refinances rise as a percent of overall loan volume, something that we have seen every January since we began reporting this data," Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae, said in a press release.

"This increase in the percentage of refinances is attributed to slower seasonal purchase market carrying over from the end of 2017. Our expectation is the percentage of refinances will taper back off to industry-projected levels of 25% to 30% in the coming months as the purchase market resumes its momentum," he continued.

In January, 30-year fixed mortgage rates grew to 4.33%, from 4.28% in December. The share of closed adjustable-rate mortgages dipped from 5.6% to 5.5%.

Closing rates declined slightly across the board, with closing rates for all loans decreasing to 70.9%, from 71.2% month-over-month in January. Closing rates on refinances ticked down from 65.6% to 65.5% and on purchase loans they fell from 76.1% to 75.7%.

Overall closing times for all loan types remained unchanged at 44 days, with the time to close a refinance loan decreasing one day to 40, and the time to close a purchase loan increasing one day to 47.

The data is derived from a sample of loans originated using Ellie Mae's loan origination system.

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