Mortgage refinance rates climbed another 8 percent in February to 59 percent, making it the highest it has been since May 2013. According to Ellie Mae’s Origination Report released Wednesday that number is almost doubled the rate seen six months ago in August 2014 and 16 percentage points higher than the year-over-year figure of 38.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) refinances rose 19 percent to 36 overall. Conventional refinances rose 6 percent from January and VA refinances had a slight drop from January to 41 percent. All numbers were higher than the year-over-year figures.
"The drop in the average 30-year fixed rate in last few months has kept lenders busy with increased refinance business," said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae in a press release accompanying the report. "Considering the demand, the fact that lenders are taking fewer days to close the average refinance loan is very good news."
The closing rate for mortgages was 60 percent for February, dropping from the record high level of 62.4 percent in January. Closing rates have stayed close to or above this number for the past four consecutive months. Refinance rates for loans closed within 90 days also were down from January at 53 percent.
The average time it took to close a refinance loan fell to 36 days, its lowest level since Ellie Mae began its report in 2013. It took three more days on average to close a refinance loan in January. The average time to close an FHA refinance was even lower at 33 days.
Interest rates also fell in February, with the average rate for a 30-year FHA loan falling below 4 percent for the first time since June 2013. The 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell to 4.008 percent, which is the lowest level it has been in the last two years.