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19-Year Application High for Government-Insured Mortgages

Government-insured loans in June reached its highest share of mortgage applications since 1990, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey found that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Veteran Administration (VA) backed 35.9% of all mortgage applications in the month of June, spiking from 25.7% from a month earlier and 27% from June 2008. “A primary reason government-insured loans have retained a high share of the purchase market is that these loans typically require lower down payments than conventional loans,” said Orawin Velz, MBA’s associate vice president of economic forecasting, in a corporate statement Thursday. Tighter lending standards restrict conventional loans backed by private mortgage insurance, Velz said. The upward trend in mortgage rates hampered conventional refinance activity due to a combination of credit and LTV requirements, Velz said.  As a result, the government insured 33.6% of refinance applications in June. The MBA's study considers mortgage applications, which don't always represent closed and funded government-insured loans. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) outlook shows that FHA-backed loans are also on the rise as applications hit the closing table. According to the HUD’s report from June 1st to June 15th, the FHA insured 94,069 mortgages, a 23.7% increase from the previous two-week period. That growth represents the highest spike in over nine years. First-time buyers made up 80% of those mortgages. Write to Jon Prior.

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