Mortgage production volume has been relatively high in recent years as low rates made borrowing more attractive and precipitated a refinance boom. But production fell by 19% in the third quarter and a further 34% in the fourth quarter, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
While mortgage production usually slows during the winter months, that tide was stemmed somewhat in recent years because of the huge increase in refinancing demand. With the end of the refi boom, winter is once again the slow season, the Journal reported.
Total originations in 2013 were about $1.9 trillion. That's down 11% from 2012, but still one of the industry's best years since the 2008 financial meltdown, the Journal reported. The Mortgage Bankers Association, however, forecasts that originations will fall to $1.1 trillion -- the lowest level in 14 years, according to the Journal.
Meanwhile, the country's largest lenders are pairing back their share of the market -- down to just 65.3% of all originations, while they accounted for 90% of all loans in 2008, the Journal reported.
Mortgage origination volumes fell in the fourth quarter to their lowest levels in five years.