The Mortgage Bankers Association released the results of two surveys covering the mortgage world in the second half of 2006 on Tuesday.

While we can't resist being a little snarky and asking why they so push the envelope of relevance by coming out with these figures a full six months after the survey period ended, there is some interesting information in the two surveys.

84 lenders participated in the Mortgage Originations Survey, including almost all of the top 30 mortgage originators. During the survey period these respondents originated $681 billion in first mortgages and $163 billion in second mortgages.



The survey found that fixed rate loans, including those with an interest only component, represented 46.2 percent of the dollar volume and 60.5 percent of the actual number of first mortgage loans during the second half of 2006 compared to 43.3 percent and 54 percent of loans originated during the first two quarters of the year.

First-time home buyers accounted for 26.9 percent of home purchases, identical to the figure for the first half of the year. As might be expected, first timers borrowed much less than repeat purchasers; the average first timer mortgage was $197,044 compared to an average of $228,547 for experienced borrowers.

By dollar volume, 19.9 percent of the mortgages were for single family attached homes, 75.1 percent were for single-family detached homes, 1 percent was used for manufactured or mobile homes and 4 percent financed 2-4 family homes.

Reverse mortgages increased 9.5 percent by dollar volume during the second half of the year while the actual number of reverse loans increased 19.1 percent. Loans originated under FHA's Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) program represented 87.8 percent of reverse mortgages by dollar amount.

Second mortgages decreased by 5.8 percent from the first half of the year and borrowers were tending to move toward fixed rate, closed end second mortgages which increased by 6.3 percent while open-end second or home equity lines of credit decreased 11.6 percent.

The second study, the Subprime Mortgage Originations Survey, collected information from 13 subprime companies including many of the top 10. Respondents were companies where at least 50 percent of originations are subprime or ones that could break out subprime originations from their total product.

The percentage of subprime loans, by dollar volume, used by first-time home buyers increased from 12 percent to 15 percent in the second half of 2006. 32 percent of the total number of subprime purchase loans was made to a first time buyer as compared to 25 percent in the first half of the year.

The percentage of subprime loans used for repeat and first-time home purchase increased from 46 percent to 47 percent. (This is an exact quote from the report; we assume it means that subprime loans represented 47 percent of all loans used for home purchases).

According to survey results, during both halves of 2006 55 percent of subprime originations by dollar volume were for refinance purposes. 87 percent were cash out in the second half of the year compared with 75 percent in the first half of 2006. However, data for the first half classified 12 percent of refinances as "unknown" or "other purposes" so it is possible that first half cash-out refinances were much higher than presumed.

93 percent of subprime borrowers were owner-occupants, up 1 percent from the first half of the year.

The average dollar amount of a subprime loan in the second half of 2006 was $202,295 compared to $200,167 in the first half.

Borrowers used a mortgage broker for 72 percent of subprime originations in the second half of the year, an increase of 3 percent from the first half of 2006.

ARMs (including Interest Only ARM Loans) comprised 75 percent of subprime originations in the second half of 2006, versus 67 percent of subprime originations in the first half of 2006.

Second mortgages averaged $35,506 compared to $33,555 in the first half of 2006. The increase in the average loan amount along with the rise in the number of second mortgage originations was driven largely by a sharp increase in closed-end loans.