The Lending Issue

by Jason Porterfield

LendingCovers-05Loosening credit and more savvy consumers are helping to keep Houston’s housing market healthy and active entering 2015. Catherine Reilly, a partner and loan originator at DMR Mortgage, sees mortgages as easy to get for consumers who have the right qualifications.

Reilly has been involved in real estate lending since the 1980s, when the market went through a rough patch and foreclosures became commonplace. She was active when a period of tight credit was followed by the real estate boom of the late 1990s and into the 2000s.

“It’s just a cycle,” Reilly said. “We’re in another cycle because loans were really hard to get in 2008, and the credit requirements were really hard to meet. They’re starting to lighten up now and they will lighten up.”

In January, most mortgages issued by Fannie and Freddie went to borrowers with average credit scores of at least 731 out of 850, according to the Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report. Refinancing represented a much more significant portion of loan activity than in recent months. Approximately 51 percent of all loan volume in January involved some form of refinancing activity, up 8 percent from December to the highest level since 2013. The closing rate for all mortgage loans also rose, going up to 62.4 percent.

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