United Wholesale Mortgage has been focused on the purchase mortgage market since last summer and it is paying off, according to the nation’s largest wholesale lender.

“We have been able to grow market share over the last six months,” says UWM president Mat Ishbia, because more than 60% of loan production is purchase mortgages.

While refinancing volume has been declining, the Troy, Mich., wholesaler lender expects the purchase business will increase in 2014.

Economists at Wells Fargo Securities are forecasting existing home sales will total 5.3 million in 2014, up 4% from the prior year. And new home sales will total 520,000, up 21% from 2013.

The United Wholesale Mortgage president also expects the number of cash transactions will slow down this year and more buyers will need mortgage financing. This would increase the number of mortgage transactions without any increase in actual sales.

“I think construction lending is coming back,” Ishbia says. UWM does end loans where the borrower wants to refinance a construction loan into a regular mortgage. “We are known for our turn times and speed,” he says. “That is why we do more purchases than the rest of the industry.”

United Wholesale Mortgage is the top wholesale lender in the U.S., according to NMN’s Quarterly Data Report. The company originated nearly $2.4 billion in loans in the third quarter, up 29% from a year ago. For the full year, UWM originated $9.4 billion in loans, up from $6.3 billion in 2012.

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