Applications for FHA-insured mortgages climbed 31.1% in February, according to a report from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). More than 165,000 applications came in February, up from 126,000 in January. Applications for mortgage purchases increased the most. More than 97,000 FHA purchase applications came through in February, an increase of 37.4% from January. Applications for refinances picked up 23.9% to 61,425 in February, and reverse mortgage applications increased 14.4% to 6,643. Of the refinance applications, 79.7% were converted from conventional mortgages to FHA, and 20.2% were previous FHA mortgages. There were 46 applications for HOPE for Homeowners (H4H) refinances in February. Borrowers completing the H4H program become re-equified and refinanced into a new FHA-insured mortgage. Some analysts say H4H could be a “powerful alternative” to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). However, February numbers for the program are down from 209 in the same month in 2009. The FHA report also covers completed endorsement and delinquency numbers. FHA insured 16.8% fewer mortgages in February from the previous month – totaling 131,978 mortgages. In the single-family insurance system at FHA, there are more than 6m mortgages worth $786.5bn. In February, 9.2%, roughly 550,000, were more than 90 days delinquent. It’s a decrease from 9.4% in January but still above the 7.3% level in February 2009. Write to Jon Prior.
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