Loans originated in May carried lower mortgage rates than the previous month for the 5th consecutive time according to Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report.  The average rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.52 percent, down from 4.61 percent in April, and 5.01 percent at the first of the year.

The share of originations intended for home purchase reached the highest level of the year, 68 percent, up 3 points from the previous month.  Nineteen percent of all originations were FHA loans, down 1 point from April. Other shares were unchanged; conventional loans at 66 percent and VA loans at 10 percent.

"As the 30-year note rate declines for yet another month, we are seeing purchase and refinance activity on the rise," said Jonathan Corr, President and CEO of Ellie Mae. "Closing rates remain well over 75 percent and with the Mortgage Bankers Association reporting solid purchase volume and new inventory on the rise, we could be in for a very robust summer home buying season."

The time to close a refinance loan jumped from 33 days to 37 from April to May and the timeline for purchase loans rose 1 day to 44.  The time to close all loans was 42 days compared to 40 the prior month.

FICO scores and loan to value ratio (LTV) for closed loans have crept higher since the first of the year. The average FICO score started the year at 724 and is now 728. LTVs have risen 3 percentage points to 80 percent.

Closing rates increased to 75.6 percent, up from 74.8 percent in April.  Ellie Mae calculates the rate from a sampling of loan applications initiated 90 days earlier, in this case, February 2019.

Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report is compiled from a sample of approximately 80 percent of all mortgage applications initiated on its mortgage management system.  The company says its report is a strong proxy of underwriting standards employed by lenders across the country.