Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report for February is headlined by both a decrease in closing times and, more significantly, further declines in mortgage interest rates.  The company said the average interest rates for loans originated on its platform during the month was 4.86 percent.  This was 15 basis points lower than the January average.

Closing times were shortened by two days to 43.  Timelines for refinancing were down three days to 35 and purchase loans took 47 days, two fewer than in January.

Purchase loans represented 66 percent of the total, up 1 percentage point from the previous month.  The share of adjustable rate mortgages declined to 7.6 percent from 8.6 percent.

 "Purchase percentages have increased following both the holiday season and the 30-year note rate decline," said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae. "We expect this increase to continue as we enter the busier spring buying season."

The share of loans originated for FHA and the VA were unchanged at 19 percent and 11 percent respectively.  Conventional loans had a 64 percent share, 2 points lower than in January.

Overall FICO scores increased two points to 726. LTV increased to 78 and DTI held at 25/39.

The closing rate for all loans rose a half point to 75.5 percent in February. To calculate this percentage Ellie Mae reviewed a sampling of loan applications initiated 90 days prior-or the November 2018 applications.

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