A total of 1,950,267 loans were originated on single-family homes and condos in the second quarter, up 22% from the previous quarter and up 23% from a year ago to the highest level since the third quarter of 2013, according to the latest report for the second quarter from RealtyTrac.

The total dollar volume of loans originated in the second quarter was nearly $540 billion, up 14% from the previous quarter and up 29% from a year ago. Refinance originations represented nearly $307 billion in the second quarter, 56.7% of total loan origination dollar volume, and purchase loan originations represented nearly $234 billion, 43.3% of total origination dollar volume. As a share of total loan origination dollar volume, purchase originations reached a recent peak of 51.3% in the third quarter of 2014.

Of the more than 1.9 million loan originations in the second quarter, 737,824 were purchase loan originations, up 9% from a year ago. There were 1,212,443 refinance originations in the second quarter, an increase of 9% from the previous quarter and up 32% from a year ago.

“The rise in loan originations particularly the sharp rise in FHA purchase originations indicates the FHA premium reduction at the end of January really is having a big impact, pushing people off the fence to purchase,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “The average loan amount for FHA purchase loans increased from $187,718 in the first quarter of 2011 to $197,315 in the second quarter of 2015 (a 16 quarter high), as the lower FHA premium gave those buyers more buying power.”

There were a total of 1,203,722 conventional and jumbo loan originations in the second quarter, representing 61.7% of all loan originations. Conventional and jumbo loan originations increased 18% from the previous quarter and increased 17% from a year ago. Conventional and jumbo purchase loan originations in the second quarter increased 3% from a year ago, while conventional refinance originations increased 3% from the previous quarter and increased 30% from a year ago. The average value of homes purchased using conventional and jumbo loans increased 10% from a year ago.

There were a total of 326,143 Federal Housing Administration loan originations - typically low down payment loans utilized by first time homebuyers in the second quarter. FHA loan originations increased 50% from the previous quarter and were up 46% from a year ago.

FHA loan originations represented 16.7% of all loan originations in the second quarter, up from a 13.6% share in the previous quarter and a 14.1% share a year ago to the highest share since the second quarter of 2010.  FHA purchase loan originations in the second quarter spiked 73% from the previous quarter and were up 36% from a year ago, while FHA refinance loan originations were up 32% from the previous quarter and were up 58% from a year ago. The average value of homes purchased using an FHA loan increased 1% from the previous quarter and was up 13% from a year ago.

There were a total of 118,807 Veterans Administration loans originated in the second quarter, representing 6.1% of all loan originations. VA loan originations in the second quarter were up 12% from the previous quarter and up 39% from a year ago. VA purchase loan originations in the second quarter increased 45% from the previous quarter and were up 11% from a year ago, while VA refinance originations decreased 7% from the previous quarter but were up 83% from a year ago.

There were a total of 118,807 Home Equity Lines of Credit originated in the second quarter, representing 14.4% of all loan originations. HELOC originations were up 20% from the previous quarter and up 22% from a year ago. HELOC purchase originations were up 21% from the previous quarter and up 78% from a year ago while HELOC refinance originations were up 20% from the previous quarter and up 20% from a year ago.

Metro areas with a population of at least 500,000 and the biggest increase in loan originations from a year ago were Birmingham, Alabama (up 197%), Oxnard, California (up 58%), Minneapolis, Minnesota (up 51%), San Jose, California (up 50%), Los Angeles, California (up 50%), San Diego, California (up 49%) and Richmond, Virginia (up 48%). 

Other major markets among the top 20 for biggest year-over-year increase in loan originations included San Francisco, California (up 47%), Sacramento, California (up 46%), Denver, Colorado (up 46%), Riverside, California (up 41%) and Seattle Washington (up 39%).

“Total loan originations year-over-year are higher in the Seattle area primarily due to refinancing rather than home purchases. Many homeowners are scrambling to refinance before interest rates rise, as they’re expected to do in the fall,” said Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, covering the Seattle market. “The growth in FHA loans in the Seattle region tells us two things. First, it’s indicative of a market where prices are rising at a rapid rate. It also tells us that first time buyers, buoyed by a thriving economy and a belief in the housing market, are now dipping their toes into the water.”

Metro areas with a population of at least 500,000 and the biggest increase in purchase loan originations from a year ago were in Birmingham, Alabama (up 190%), Cape Coral, Florida (up 31%), Richmond, Virginia (up 30%), Augusta, Georgia (up 30%), Tampa, Florida (up 30%) and Minneapolis, Minnesota (up 29%).

Other major markets among the top 20 for biggest year-over-year increase in purchase loan originations included Orlando, Florida (up 28%), Sarasota, Florida (up 27%), Dayton, Ohio (up 24%), Atlanta, Georgia (up 22%) and Miami, Florida (up 19%).

On the other end markets with the biggest decrease in purchase loan originations from a year ago were Greenville, South Carolina (down 43%), Buffalo, New York (down 21%), New Orleans (down 21%), Cleveland, Ohio (down 13%) and Tucson, Arizona (down 11%).