Reflecting the post-election interest rate rise, closed purchase loans were 57% of February's total volume, according to Ellie Mae's Origination Insight report.
This is the highest percentage of closed purchased loans since July when they were 62% of the market. Last month, purchase loans had a 53% share and a 52% share in February 2016.
"Along with the growing purchase market, we're seeing the time to close all loans decrease and FICO scores decline, trends that we will continue to watch in the coming months," said Ellie Mae President and CEO Jonathan Corr.
The increase in purchase loans coincided with the rising rate environment after the election. The average rate for a 30-year loan in February was 4.36%, an increase of 5 basis points since January and 55 basis points since November 2016.
The majority of the applications for these closed loans were received in December. It took an average of 46 days to close a loan during February, down from 51 days in January. Purchase loans took an average of 45 days, down from 48 days the month before, while refinancings took 47 days, down from 53 days.
The average FICO score for all closed loans continued to decline to 720, compared with 722 in January and 726 in December. For conventional purchase loans, the average FICO score was 752, while for Federal Housing Administration loans it was 686 and for Veterans Affairs loans it was 707.