The government share of mortgage originations more than doubled numbers seen last year to 11.8 percent of all mortgages funded in the first half of 2008, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday; government share was ust 5.7 percent in the second half of 2007, in comparison. Government loans include loans endorsed via the Rural Housing Service and Dept. of Veterans affairs, as well as loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration — and the jump is not surprisingly due to a surge in FHA loans during the first two quarters of this year. The data came from the MBA’s bi-annual study of mortgage originations, which contained some surprising finds: for example, the refinance share of all originations was at 61.7 percent in the first half of 2008, the MBA said, compared to 54.8 percent in the back half of last year. The jump was partly due an increase in borrowers looking for better rates or term refinancing, the MBA said. Borrowers clearly preferred fixed-rate terms on their mortgages–nearly 80 percent of the dollar volume of originated loans in the first half of 2008 were fixed rate, up sharply from 63.6 percent in the previous survey. Waning preferences for interest-only loans also led the IO category to account for just 10.6 percent of originations in the current survey, down significantly from 22.4 percent at the end of 2007. The MBA said its own estimates found that purchase originations were down by 16.2 percent in the first half of 2008 compared to the second half of 2007, while refinance originations were up 16.3 percent in in the same time frame. Write to Paul Jackson at

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