Affordability products dominated the alternative-A mortgage sector in the second quarter, pushing the issuance of alt-A securities to a record high after a brief downturn early in the year, according to Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.Issuance rose about 33%, from $76 billion in the first quarter to $101 billion in the second quarter, and 50% when compared with the $66 billion volume a year earlier, S&P reported. Affordability products such as payment-option adjustable-rate mortgages and interest-only ARMs represented 77% of the total volume in the second quarter, up from 61% a year earlier, S&P said. "This growth is a result of the dramatic increase in the popularity of affordability products during the first half of 2006," said credit analyst Jeff Watson. "Standard & Poor's expects total volume in second-half 2006 to stabilize, rather than to continue to grow above current levels." The data were published in a report titled "Trends in U.S. Residential Mortgage Products: Alt-A Sector Second-Quarter 2006." S&P can be found online at http://www.standardandpoors.com.

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