Refinance share jumps in January report.

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According to the January Origination Insight Report released on Feb. 18, lenders saw their share of originations for refinancings jump by 8 percentage points from December's level. The report, released by Pleasanton, California--based Ellie Mae, found refinances comprised 51 percent of all volume tracked by Ellie Mae. That was up from 43 percent in December.

The 51 percent refi share was the highest level in more than a year and a half, the company said.

It also reported that the closing rate for all loans rose for the fourth consecutive month to 62.4 percent.

The average interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate loans in the January report was 4.154 percent. That rate was down significantly from 4.723 percent one year ago in January 2014. The company said in a press release, "Rates are at their lowest level since July 2013."

Commenting on the January results, Jonathan Corr, Ellie Mae president and chief executive officer, said, "Homeowners who missed refinancing over the past year because they did not have enough equity in their homes are getting a second chance in 2015."

He added, "Lower rates and the decision by the [Federal Housing Administration (FHA)] to lower the mortgage insurance premium are also good news for the purchase market."

The Origination Insight Report mines its application data from a sampling of roughly 57 percent of all mortgage applications initiated on the Encompass[R] origination platform.

Other findings in the January report included the fact that conventional share of closed loans rose to 70 percent up...

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