November Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae Shows Refinance Activity Stays Steady

ARMs drop to lowest rate since May 2013; 30-year note rate ticks up slightly

PLEASANTON, Calif.--()--As 2016 comes to a close, refinance activity remained steady for November, representing 47 percent of all closed loans while purchases represented 53 percent of closed loans according to the latest Origination Insight Report released by Ellie Mae® (NYSE:ELLI), a leading provider of innovative on-demand software solutions and services for the residential mortgage industry. The percentage of FHA refinances increased to 22 percent in November, up from 21 percent in October, while VA refinances decreased slightly to 30 percent, down a percentage point from the month prior. Conventional refinances increased to 58 percent, up from 57 percent in October.

Closing rates for all loans decreased slightly to 72.2 percent in November, down from 73 percent in October. Refinance closing rates increased to 68.7 percent in November, up from 68 percent the month prior. Purchase closing rates decreased to 76.1 percent in November, down from 77.2 percent in October.

The 30-year note rate increased slightly to 3.81, up from 3.76 the month prior while adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) decreased to 3.9 percent, the lowest percentage since May of 2013.

The average time to close all loans increased to 49 days in November, up from 48 days the month prior. Similarly, time to close a refinance increased to 51 days and time to close a purchase increased to 47 days, both up one day from October.

Average FICO scores continued to decrease to 728, down from the 2016 high of 731 in September but still well above the January low of 719. Conventional refinance FICO scores dropped to 743 in November, down from 745 the month prior, and VA refinance FICO scores dropped to 710, down from 713 in October.

“We saw the strong refinance market extend into November, bolstered by the low 30-year note rate that increased only slightly to 3.810 percent,” said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae. “As expected, homebuyers are trying to complete refinances as rates begin to rise. We believe that the strong refi market caused the increase in time to close in November, a data point that we’ll watch as the purchase market picks up in early 2017.”

The Origination Insight Report mines its application data from a robust sampling of approximately 75 percent of all mortgage applications that were initiated on the Encompass® all-in-one mortgage management solution. Ellie Mae believes the Origination Insight Report is a strong proxy of the underwriting standards employed by lenders across the country.

Ellie Mae also distributes its monthly Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker, which focuses on mortgage applications submitted by millennials during specific time periods. Ellie Mae defines millennials as applicants born between the years 1980 and 1999. The Millennial Tracker will continue to be released on the first Wednesday of each month.

Other findings from the November report:

  • Time to close a VA loan held at 52 days.
  • The Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio for all closed loans was 24/38, and the Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio remained at 78.


      Nov. 2016*     Oct. 2016*     6 Months Ago

(May 2016*)

    1 Year Ago

(Nov. 2015*)

Closed Loans
Refinance     47%     47%     37%     46%
Purchase     53%     53%     62%     53%
FHA     20%     20%     23%     23%
Conventional     68%     68%     64%     64%
VA     9%     9%     9%     10%
Days to Close
All     49     48     45     49
Refinance     51     50     44     49
Purchase     47     46     45     49
Percentage of ARM and Fixed Loan Volume
ARM %     3.9%     4.0%     4.5%     5.3%
30-Year Rate
Average     3.81%     3.76%     4.06%     4.22%

*All references to months should be read as month ended.


      Closed First-Lien Loans
(All Types)
FICO Score (FICO)     728
Loan-to-Value (LTV)     78
Debt-to-Income (DTI)     24/38

More information and analysis of closed and denied loans by loan purpose and investor are available in the full report at

To get a meaningful view of lender pull-through, Ellie Mae reviewed a sampling of loan applications initiated 90 days prior—or the August 2016 applications—to calculate an overall closing rate of 72 percent in November 2016 (see full report).

About the Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report

The Origination Insight Report focuses on loans that closed in a specific month and compares their characteristics to similar loans that closed three and six months earlier. The closing rate is calculated on a 90-day cycle rather than on a monthly basis because most loan applications typically take one-and-a-half to two months from application to closing. Loans that do not close could still be active applications or applications withdrawn by consumers or denied for incompleteness or non-qualification.

The Origination Insight Report details aggregated anonymized data pulled from Ellie Mae’s Encompass origination platform.

News organizations have the right to reuse this data, provided that Ellie Mae, Inc. is credited as the source.

About Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae (NYSE:ELLI) is a leading provider of innovative on-demand software solutions and services for the residential mortgage industry. Mortgage lenders of all sizes use Ellie Mae’s Encompass® all-in-one mortgage management solution, Mavent Compliance Service, and AllRegs research, reference and education resources to improve compliance, loan quality and efficiency across the entire mortgage lifecycle. Visit or call (877) 355-4362 to learn more.

© 2016 Ellie Mae, Inc. Ellie Mae®, Encompass®, AllRegs®, DataTrac®, Ellie Mae Network™, Mavent®, Mortgage Returns®, Prospect Manager®, Total Quality Loan®, True CRM®, TQL®and the Ellie Mae logo are trademarks of Ellie Mae, Inc. or its subsidiaries. All rights reserved. Other company and product names may be trademarks or copyrights of their respective owners.


Ellie Mae, Inc.
Erica Harvill, 925-227-5913
Alexandra Gardell Kreuter, 646-428-0618


Ellie Mae, Inc.
Erica Harvill, 925-227-5913
Alexandra Gardell Kreuter, 646-428-0618