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Mortgage Originations Could Plunge 32% in 2014: MBA

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Mortgage originations could fall 32% in 2014 as refinancing volumes continue to plunge, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Tuesday.

Total originations are expected to drop to $1.3 trillion from an estimated $1.7 trillion in 2013. While loans to finance the purchase of homes are expected to climb 9% to $723 billion in 2014 on the back of higher home sales and home prices, refinances could drop as much as 57% to $463 billion from $1.08 trillion.

Although the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program will remain open until the end of 2015, the scope for further refinances under the program is limited, according to Jay Brinkman, chief economist at MBA.

"While on paper the number of HARP-eligible borrowers appears large, the reality is these borrowers have been unresponsive to numerous attempts to encourage them to participate in the program and are less likely to do so now that rates have gone up," he said.

For 2015, originations are forecast to drop slightly to $1.2 trillion, with the mix further shifting towards purchase loans.

The MBA predicts the 30-year mortgage rate would increase above 5% in 2014 and would rise to 5.3% in 2015.

-- Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj New York.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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