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Refinances Continue Free Fall

Monthly refinances of conventional agency loans tumbled, with transactions completed through the Home Affordable Refinance Program plunging 22 percent.

During the final month of last year, 150,868 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac home loans were refinanced by primary lenders.

Refinance volume was lower than in November, when 163,547 Fannie and Freddie mortgages were refinanced by mortgage bankers.

The statistics were reported Wednesday by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Refinance production has retreated each month since April 2013, when 463,586 transactions were closed.

In December 2012, there were 359,201 loans refinanced on behalf of the government-sponsored enterprises. The year-earlier number was revised down by four from the original report.

For all of 2013, GSE refinance production was 4,081,916 residential loans, down from the 4,750,529 mortgages refinanced in 2012.

At just Fannie, refinance volume declined to 96,152 in December from the prior month’s 105,307 transactions.

Freddie saw 54,716 refinances, down from 58,240 in November.

Included in the combined December figures were 30,021 home loans refinanced through HARP.

HARP activity also slowed from November, when 38,732 transactions were closed.

HARP volume plummeted from December 2012, when 76,465 loans were refinanced through the program. FHFA originally reported 76,461 HARP transactions in the year-earlier period.

Since the inception of HARP in April 2009, 3,057,958 loans have been refinanced through the program.

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