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FHA Business Lower, Reverse Higher

FHA News

Despite a monthly increase in the volume of home-equity conversion mortgage endorsements, overall endorsements on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration declined. In addition, average credit scores were lower. But new applications saw a healthy increase.

During September, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development endorsed 176,753 FHA-insured loans, according to data released today. Volume fell from 185,423 endorsements a month earlier but was better than 150,436 a year earlier.

The weighted average FICO score on endorsed loans was 689 last month, lower than 692 in August. In September 2008, FICO scores averaged 660.

Purchase loans accounted for 107,598 endorsements last month, off from 109,069 during August. Refinances represented 59,682, dropping from 67,421.

HUD said, however, that reverse mortgage endorsements climbed to 9,473 from August’s 8,933. But HECM volume was off from 9,494 in September 2008.

Section 203(k) endorsements on forward FHA mortgages edged down to 1,743 from 1,790 in August. Condominium Section 234(c) volume eased to 10,034 from 10,569.

For all of fiscal 2009, endorsement totaled 1,946,809 — just shy of the 2.1 million projected. Fiscal 2008 endorsements were just 1,199,600.

Purchase endorsements were 995,590 higher than 2008’s 631,661. HECM endorsements rose to 114,691 from 112,153.

HUD said 254,019 applications were received last month, climbing from August’s 222,528 and 235,739 in September 2008. Purchase applications accounted for 132,696 of last month’s activity, while refinance applications were 102,268 and HECM applications came in at 19,055.

Full fiscal year applications received were 2,891,136, up substantially from fiscal 2008’s 2,008,157. Reverse mortgage applications climbed to 162,619 from 144,635.

The average time it takes to process an FHA loan from application to closing improved to 6.8 weeks from 6.9 weeks in August. From closing to endorsement, turnaround improved to 4.3 weeks from 4.4 weeks.

Total mortgage insurance-in-force as of Sept. 30 was 5,515,018 loans for $695.6 billion, rising from 5,406,747 loans for $675.3 billion three months earlier. Outstanding policies have soared from 4,366,508 for $472.9 billion on Sept. 30, 2008.

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