Originations On Pace for 18 Percent Drop in 2008: Report

A forecast released Monday morning by industry research and forecasting think-tank iEmergent said that total dollar volumes of mortgage originations in 2008 are on track to fall as low as $1.94 trillion, as tighter credit standards and a dearth of subprime lending take a bite out of industry volume. The company said that originations would likely fall in a range of $1.94 to $2.1 trillion, depending primarily on refinancing activity throughout the remainder of the year. Refinance volume was projected by the firm to range between 5.4 million loans for $997 billion on the low end, and 6.3 million loans for $1.16 trillion — meaning that whether the industry crosses the $2 trillion mark this year will depend largely on where interest rates (and, by extension, refinancing) head throughout the balance of 2008. The last time total originations fell below the $2 trillion mark was in 2000, well before a myriad of factors led to a run-up in much of the nation’s housing prices. Owner-occupied purchase volume is projected at 5.1 million loans for $871.5 billion, according to iEmergent, while non-owner occupied purchase volume is expected to fall to .47 million loans for $75.5 billion. The forecast represents an expected 18.3 percent drop in total dollars originated from 2007 levels, and a 34 percent drop from 2006 levels, the company said. iEmergent’s updated forecast is surprisingly close to the estimate put out to begin the year by the Mortgage Bankers Association, which projected in January that total originations would run roughly at a $1.96 trillion rate before falling further during 2009. The MBA said then that it expected $955 billion in purchase volume. For more information, visit http://www.iemergent.com.

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