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FHA Business Set to Slide

April endorsements rise, apps fall

June 4, 2012

By MortgageDaily.com staff


After inching higher, Federal Housing Administration-insured business is headed lower. The rate of seriously delinquent FHA mortgages has not increased for three months in a row -- a good sign given the spike in new FHA foreclosure filings.

Mortgages endorsed by FHA during April totaled 108,954 loans for $20.3 billion.

Business picked up from 100,939 endorsements for $18.8 billion in March and was also stronger than the same month last year, when 93,394 loans were endorsed for $16.8 billion.

But upcoming FHA originations are poised to tumble based on new applications, which fell to 156,453 in April from 205,778 applications received in March.

From Jan. 1 through April 30, FHA endorsements amounted to 402,465 loans for $73.9 billion.

On a fiscal-year basis, FHA has endorsed 672,333 loans for $122.0 billion since Oct. 1, 2011. By the time the fiscal year ends in September, 1.4 million mortgages are expected to have been endorsed for $248.6 billion.

Refinances accounted for 45,643 of April's endorsements for $9.3 billion, up 8 percent from the previous month. Refinance applications, however, were down 23 percent.

The government insured 58,716 purchase transactions for $9.9 billion, a more than 8 percent increase from March. Applications for purchase transactions fell 26 percent.

In the reverse mortgage category, 4,595 home-equity conversion mortgages were endorsed for a maximum claim amount of $1.1 billion, about the same as 4,381 endorsements in March for $1.1 billion. New HECM applications were off just 8 percent.

FHA endorsed 1,798 Section 203(k) loans during April, a few more than 1,704 a month earlier. Condominium endorsements climbed to 3,952 from 3,630, and manufactured housing activity fell to 1,523 from 1,636.

From application to closing, turnaround on FHA loans expanded to 5.9 weeks from 5.7 weeks in March. But turnaround remains faster than 6.1 weeks during April 2011.

April's activity wasn't enough to grow FHA outstandings, with mortgage insurance in force declining to 7,549,568 loans for $1.0570 trillion from 7,590,450 units for $1.0639 trillion the prior month. But the total still stands at more than the 7,035,016 loans outstanding for $0.9752 trillion during the same month in the prior year.

FHA managed to keep serious delinquency from rising for a third consecutive month, with the 90-day rate holding at 9.4 percent. Still, delinquency was worse than 8.2 percent a year previous.

The month-over-month delinquency performance was good news given that new FHA foreclosure filings spiked 73 percent during April according to Lender Processing Services. The month-over-month deterioration was primarily driven by the 2008 and 2009 vintages.

"In 2008, when the loan origination market virtually dried up, the FHA stepped in to fill the void," LPS Senior Vice President Herb Blecher explained in the report. "FHA originations tripled that year, and increased to five times historical averages in 2009. High volumes like that, even with low default rates, can produce larger numbers of foreclosure starts. That represents a lot of loans to work through -- the 2008 vintage alone represents some $14 billion of unpaid balances in foreclosure, and the overall FHA foreclosure inventory continues to rise."

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