March 5, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Applications for mortgage loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) jumped in January led by a surge in refinance applications while the number of loans that became delinquent continued to climb according to the agency’s Single-Family Outlook report for January.

A total of 126,835 FHA loan applications were submitted in January, 14.9 percent higher than the 110,427 applications submitted in the previous month of December. The total number of applications submitted was also higher than in January of last year when 103,991 applications were submitted, a gain of 22.0 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, it was the highest level of FHA applications since September 2010.

Applications to refinance a current loan increased by 26.3 percent from December to January with a total of 59,493 applications submitted in January compared to 47,101 in December. Refinance applications were 44.5 percent higher than in January of last year when 41,178 applications were submitted.

The total number of applications submitted for the purpose of puchasing a home was also higher in January, increasing by 7.5 percent compared to December. A total of 61,547 applications were submitted in January to purchase homes, up from 57,234 applications submitted in December. Purchase applications were 11.1 percent higher than in January of last year when 55,417 applications were submitted.

The total amount of FHA insured loans that were completed in January increased 8.8 percent from December, rising from 93,739 to 102,011. January’s loan completions continued to remain behind last year’s pace of 119,518 loan completions.

Loans for purchased homes accounted for 60.4 percent of all completed FHA insured loans in January with 61,663 completed, a gain of 5.2 percent from December, but 3.5 percent lower than the 63,887 purchase money mortgages in January of 2011.

Refinanced loans accounted for 34.5 percent of all completed loans in January, which was 28.5 percent lower than last year. The 35,173 loans completed in January were still 15.3 percent higher than in December.

The average FICO score for a homebuyer securing an FHA loan in January was 696, the same as in December but down from 703 a year ago. For refinanced transactions, the average FICO score in January was 706, also the same as the previous month but down from 707 a year earlier.

The number of seriously delinquent loans insured by the FHA continued to climb in January, increasing 3.2 percent from December and is 19.8 percent higher than a year ago.

An additional 22,762 loans became 90 days or more past due in January bringing the total number of seriously delinquent loans in the FHA’s portfolio to 733,844. In the last year, the number of seriously delinquent loans has increased by 121,401.

The serious delinquency rate was 9.8 percent in January, up from 9.6 percent in December and also up from 8.9 percent in January 2011.

At the end of January, the FHA had 7,512,171 insured single-family mortgages in its portfolio with an amortized balance of $1.051 trillion.

The number of loans insured by the FHA has increased by 9.1 percent in the last year while the amortized balance has increased by 10.9 percent.

Tags: FHA, Single-family Outlook report, loan originations, purchase loans, refinance loans, FICO score, serious delinquency rate