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Purchase Mortgage Approvals Break Record!

The approval rate for purchase mortgages hit new heights in October as more than two thirds (66.1 percent) of all applications for loans to buy a home were approved.

The approval rate for October was the highest recorded by the four-year old  Ellie Mae Originations Insight report; the previous high was 65.1 percent in August.  Last year the average approval rate for purchase loans was only 60 percent.

The high approval rate suggests borrowers and lenders are finding ways to overcome tight lending standards that are more difficult for lenders to circumvent following implementation of the QM Rule in January.  Tight credit has crippled access to financing for buyers, especially first time buyers, and slowed home sales this year

The October approval rate for conventional loans also hit a new peak at 67.9 percent; its previous top rate was 67.2 percent in January of this year.  The approval rate for all loan types in October was 59.4 percent.  Only 59.4 percent of refis were given the green light.

The average time to close for purchase loans in 0ctober was 40 days.  Purchase loans accounted for 60 percent of all loans closed in

The October 2014 report also found that the average 30-year interest rate for all loans fell for the sixth consecutive month to 4.371 percent purchase loans, reported in Ellie Mae’s October report.



6 Months Ago
(April 2014)*
1 Year Ago
(Oct. 2013)*
Closed Loans
Refinance 40% 36% 37% 39%
Purchase 60% 63% 63% 61%
FHA 19% 19% 22% 19%
Conventional 65% 64% 64% 68%
VA 11% 12% - -
Days to Close
All 40 41 39 45
Refinance 39 40 37 43
Purchase 40 41 40 46
ARMs vs. Fixed, Length, Rate
ARM % 6.3% 6.3% 7.6% 5.6%
15 Year % 9.6% 9.1% 12.2% 15.5%
30 Year – Note Rate 4.371% 4.381% 4.622% 4.750%

*All references to months should be read as month ended.


  Closed First-Lien Loans (All Types) Denied Loans
(All Types)
FICO Score (FICO) 726 681
Loan-to-Value (LTV) 81 80
Debt-to-Income (DTI) 25/38 29/46


In 2013, approximately 3.5 million loan applications ran through Ellie Mae’s Encompass mortgage management solution. The Origination Insight Report mines its application data from a robust sampling of approximately 57 percent of all mortgage applications that were initiated on the Encompass origination platform. Given the size of this sample and Ellie Mae’s market share, the Company believes the Origination Insight Report is a strong proxy of the underwriting standards that are being employed by lenders across the country.

The Origination Insight Report focuses on loans that closed or were denied in a specific month and compares their characteristics to similar loans that closed or were denied three and six months earlier. The closing rate is calculated on a 90-day cycle rather than on a monthly basis because most loan applications typically take one and a half to two months from application to closing. Loans that do not close could still be active applications or applications withdrawn by consumers or denied for incompleteness or non-qualification

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