Refinancing fell from 40 percent of residential mortgage originations in March to 37 percent in April Ellie Mae said today.  This was the lowest share for refinancing since Ellie Mae started reporting data in 2011 and is substantially below the 58 percent share in April 2013 and the 53 percent average for all of 2013.  The percentage of loans originated for purchase, of course, rose accordingly, and according to Jonathan Corr, president and chief operating officer of Ellie Mae two percentage points higher than the previous high of 61 percent in October 2013.

Twenty-two percent of loans originated in April were FHA backed, the same as in March and in April 2013.  Conventional loans made up 64 percent of the total, down from 65 percent in March and 68 percent one year earlier.

The average time to close a mortgage loan in April was 39 days, 37 days for a refinance and 40 days for a purchase.  Corr said this was the first time the all loan number had fallen below 40 days since Ellie Mae began reporting and that the average days to close a purchase loan has fallen seven days since January 2014.   

The average FICO score for a closed loan was 726 and loan-to-value (LTV) ratio was 82 percent.  This shows a bit of easing in underwriting compared to April 2013 when the average credit score was 742 and LTV was 81 percent.  Debt-to-Income also was slightly higher than a year earlier, 24/37 compared to 23/35.

To get a meaningful view of lender "pull-through," Ellie Mae reviewed a sampling of loan applications initiated 90 days prior (i.e., the January 2014 applications) to calculate an overall closing rate of 55% in April 2014, down from 58% in March 2014.

Ellie Mae's report comes from a sample of application data that runs through its mortgage management system which handled approximately 3.5 million applications in 2013.