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FHA Finishes Year Lower

FHA News

The Federal Housing Administration endorsed 10 percent fewer loans during fiscal-year 2010 than in the previous year and fell short of original projections. Refinances and reverse mortgages were responsible for the decline. As conventional defaults have fallen, FHA’s delinquency metrics deteriorated. But it looks like the average FHA FICO score could break through the 700 level next month.

FHA endorsed 126,326 mortgages for $24.4 billion in September, slipping from August when 139,045 loans were endorsed for $25.9 billion. The data was laid out in a monthly report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

FHA endorsements were 176,753 for $32.6 billion in September 2009.

The most recent month’s production included 5,966 home-equity conversion mortgages for a maximum claim amount of $1.5 billion, declining from August’s 6,645 endorsements for $1.7 billion. Also included were 1,738 Section 203(k) endorsements, 5,908 condominium transactions and 2,109 manufactured housing endorsements.

Refinance share was 39 percent last month, accelerating from 31 percent in August.

Application activity is usually a sign of upcoming endorsements, though that wasn’t the case based on August’s applications. Nevertheless, FHA applications increased to 255,938 in September from 200,907 in August. The strength in last month’s activity was in refinance applications, which jumped 40 percent from August, and HECM applications, which were up 39 percent.

The weighted average FICO scored on September business was 699, improving from 697 in the previous report. FHA FICOs are also better than 689 a year earlier. From application to closing, it took 6.8 weeks last month, the same as August and the same as September 2009.

On a quarterly basis, the number of total endorsements rose to 409,885 in the third quarter from the second quarters 401,981. In addition, the dollar volume of endorsements were up — to $76.2 billion from $71.6 billion.

During its entire fiscal-year 2010, FHA endorsed 1.7 million mortgages for $318.8 billion — falling from 1.9 million loans for $360.7 billion that were endorsed in fiscal-year 2009.

The housing agency fell short of its original projection of 1.9 million endorsements for $349.7 billion for the 12 months ended Sept. 30.

Annual volume was dragged down by refinances, which declined one-third from 2009. HECM business also impacted activity, falling more than 30 percent. But purchase volume was up 12 percent.

FHA’s book was 6.6 million loans for $897.5 billion at the end of September, higher than $888.0 billion one month earlier. Last year at the same point, mortgage insurance in force was 5.5 million loans for $695.6 billion.

Delinquency of at least three months on FHA-insured loans closed out last month at 8.4 percent, higher than 8.2 percent on Aug. 31. It was also higher than 8.3 percent at the same time last year.

But Freddie Mac reported that 90-day delinquency on the loans it manages fell to 3.80 percent on Sept. 30 from 3.96 percent on June 30.

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