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Around 1.6 million (1,552,329) loans were originated on residential properties (1 to 4 units) in the fourth quarter of 2015, a 14 percent decrease from the previous quarter but still up 1 percent from a year ago, according to the recently released RealtyTrac® Q4 2015 U.S. Residential Property Loan Origination Report.

The loan origination report is derived from publicly recorded mortgages and deeds of trust collected by RealtyTrac in more than 950 counties accounting for more than 80 percent of the U.S. population.

The 14 percent quarterly decrease was fueled primarily by a 24 percent quarter-over-quarter decline in purchase originations — the biggest quarterly drop in purchase originations in more than five years, since the third quarter of 2010. Purchase originations accounted for 38.8 percent of all originations in the fourth quarter, while refinance originations accounted for 42.8 percent and Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) originations accounted for 18.5 percent. Refinance originations were down 7 percent from the previous quarter but were still up 2 percent from a year ago, while HELOC originations were also down 7 percent from the previous quarter but were still up 7 percent from a year ago.

“The 24 percent drop in purchase originations in the fourth quarter of 2015 was well above the average 15 percent seasonal slump in the fourth quarter over the past 10 years,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “New mortgage rules implemented at the beginning of October likely contributed to the decrease, but weakness in some local economies could also be contributing to the decrease, most notably in oil producing markets such as Houston and Oklahoma City, both of which saw purchase originations decrease by double-digit percentages both quarterly and annually.”

All 65 metropolitan statistical areas with at least 5,000 loan originations in the fourth quarter posted a quarterly decrease in purchase loan originations, while 31 of the 65 metros (48 percent) posted year-over-year declines in purchase originations, led by Raleigh, N.C., (down 41 percent); Omaha, Neb. (down 21 percent); Cincinnati, Ohio (down 21 percent); Richmond, Va. (down 20 percent); and Austin, Texas (down 17 percent).

Among the 65 metro areas with at least 5,000 loan originations in the fourth quarter, those with the biggest year-over-year increase in purchase loan originations were led by Nashville, Tenn. (up 79 percent); Knoxville, Tenn. (up 41 percent); Memphis, Tenn. (up 30 percent); Providence, R.I. (up 25 percent); and Albuquerque, N.M. (up 18 percent).

FHA origination share drops for second straight quarter

After reaching a five-year high of 20.1 percent in the second quarter of 2015, the share of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan originations decreased for the second consecutive quarter in Q4 2015. FHA loan originations accounted for 17.8 percent of all loan originations during the quarter, down from 19.9 percent in the previous quarter, but still up from 15.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Share of big bank originations decline, non-bank origination share soars

Among the top 10 loan originators in terms of number of loan originations in the fourth quarter, those with an increase in share of originations compared to a year ago were Caliber Home Loans (up 61 percent); LoanDepot (up 52 percent); Freedom Mortgage (up 40 percent); Guaranteed Rate (up 18 percent); and Quicken (up 10 percent).

Meanwhile top 10 originators with the biggest decline in share of originations compared to a year ago were JP Morgan Chase (down 30 percent); Bank of America (down 27 percent); US Bank (down 13 percent); and Wells Fargo (down 8 percent).

For more information, visit www.realtytrac.com.

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