Refinancing originations remained unchanged at 47 percent of all closed loans in November, not yet reflecting the sharp increase in interest rates that occurred after the November 8 election.  The share of originations by loan type remained precisely where they were in October with conventional loans garnering a 68 percent share, FHA loans 20 percent, and VA originations 9 percent.  However, Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report for the month pointed to slight changes in refinancing shares with those for FHA and conventional loans each increasing one percentage point to 22 percent and 58 percent respectively and VA refinancings down one point to 30 percent.  

The average time to close a loan increased by one day overall and for both refinancing and purchase loans. The average for all loans was 49 days, refinancing took 51 days, and purchase loans 47 days.

"We saw the strong refinance market extend into November, bolstered by the low 30-year note rate that increased only slightly to 3.810 percent," said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae. "As expected, homebuyers are trying to complete refinances as rates begin to rise. We believe that the strong refi market caused the increase in time to close in November, a data point that we'll watch as the purchase market picks up in early 2017."

Closing rates for all loans decreased slightly to 72.2 percent in November, down from 73 percent in October. Refinance closing rates increased to 68.7 percent from 68 percent the previous month. Purchase closing rates decreased to 76.1 percent in November, down from 77.2 percent in October.  Ellie Mae bases the closing rate on the percentage of loan applications initiated in the previous 90-day cycle that have closed.

The average time to close all loans increased to 49 days in November, up from 48 days the month prior. Similarly, time to close a refinance increased to 51 days and time to close a purchase increased to 47 days, both up one day from October.

FICO scores continued to decline, the average was 728, down from the 2016 high of 731 in September but still well above the January low of 719. Conventional refinance FICO scores dropped to 743 in November, down from 745 the month prior, and VA refinance FICO scores dropped to 710, down from 713 in October.

Ellie Mae's report mines its application data from a sampling of approximately 75 percent of closed and denied mortgage applications that flowed through its mortgage management system.  The company believes the Origination Insight Report is a strong proxy of the underwriting standards employed by lenders across the country.