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LPS: HARP Continues to Drive Origination Activity

Elevated refinance activity under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) continues to support overall growth in originations, according to ""Lender Processing Services'"":http://www.lpsvcs.com/LPSCorporateInformation/CommunicationCenter/DataReports/MortgageMonitor/201211MortgageMonitor/MortgageMonitorNovember2012.pdf (LPS) ""Mortgage Monitor"":http://www.lpsvcs.com/LPSCorporateInformation/CommunicationCenter/DataReports/MortgageMonitor/201211MortgageMonitor/MortgageMonitorNovember2012.pdf report for November.


LPS data for October--the most recent data available for its report--shows origination volume reached 857,000, 20.1 percent higher than September (which had fewer business days) and 28.2 percent above year-ago levels.

As of the end of October, origination volume was up 49 percent for the whole of 2012.

LPS attributed the strengthened business to low interest rates and historically high HARP activity. The firm [COLUMN_BREAK]

estimates that there were approximately 177,000 non-federally insured high loan-to-value originations in October, making up about 26 percent of non-government originations. Most of those originations were likely done through HARP, LPS says.

In addition, there is a market for refinance to continue growing. According to LPS, nearly 10 million outstanding mortgages may fit the criteria for a traditional refinance, while an additional 2.6 million loans may be eligible for HARP. Nearly half of those HARP-eligible loans have prime credit scores of 720 or higher.

LPS estimates borrowers who fit the HARP requirements could save an average of 30 percent on their payments.

In addition, LPS found that new borrowers are benefitting greatly from today's low interest rates.

""Comparing interest rates on new versus paid-off loans, we see that interest rates on the former are 1.5 percentage points below the latter,"" said Herb Blecher, SVP of LPS Applied Analytics. ""With prepayment activity being as high as it is--2 percent of total outstanding U.S. mortgage balances prepaid or refinanced in November alone--this equates to significant potential savings for borrowers.

""On average, this translates into new loan payments that are approximately $190 less per month than those of borrowers prior to paying off their loans.""

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