First mortgage origination skyrockets in 2015

by Ryan Smith07 Apr 2016
The number of new first mortgages increased markedly in 2015, according to new data from Equifax.

According to the company’s latest National Consumer Credit Trends Report, the total number of new first mortgages originated in 2015 rose to 7.71 million, an increase of 31.6% from 2014. Meanwhile, the total balance of new first mortgages was $1.82 trillion, a year-over-year spike of 42.9%.

Equifax also found that first mortgage lending to subprime borrowers grew in 2015, with 366,900 loans made – an increase of 25.2% over 2014 – and a total subprime balane of $59.7 billion, a 41.3% increase.

“We saw a nice jump in mortgage lending in 2015 that was driven by both rising home-purchase activity and solid refinancing volumes,” said Amy Crews Cutts, Equifax senior vice president and chief economist. “While low interest rates are helping, continued gains in employment and consumer confidence are key. What we are not seeing is any meaningful loosening of underwriting, at least with respect to credit scores. The median credit score on new first mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2015 was 750 and 90% of first mortgage borrowers had a score in excess of 646; these values are essentially unchanged for the past three years.”

Last year also saw increases in home equity installment loans and home equity lines of credit, Equifax found. The total number of new home equity installment loans his 791,900 in 2015, a 26.7% increase from 2014 and the highest number in more than seven years.

The total credit limits of new HELOCs, meanwhile, was $146.1 billion, a nearly 20% increase from 2014. The total number of new HELOCs originated in 2015 was almost 1.39 million, an 11.7% increase over 2014.


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