Updated from 9:20 a.m. with analyst comments and the current share price.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Wells Fargo's (WFC) earnings report this morning beat estimates but ended their 17-quarter streak of earnings growth. Although the earnings did not make that big of an impact on the stock price this morning, the report gives positive insight into the housing market and the U.S. economy.
Residential mortgage originations of $47 billion were up $11 billion from $36 billion during the first quarter in 2014, applications for new mortgages increased to $72 billion from $60 billion in the prior quarter, and the applications pipeline rose as well to $30 billion, up from $27 billion on March 31, 2014. Auto originations of $7.8 billion were up 9% from the prior year.
Most of those figures beat analyst estimates and give a clean picture of consistent activity in the housing market. Tough comparables from last year when interest rates bottomed means new lending fell at the bank year over year, but, overall this appears to be Wells Fargo's best quarter for housing activity in about a year.
In particular, new mortgage applications are down from the same time last year, the decline in refinancing shows that a higher percentage of people are looking to buy new homes rather than refinancing their existing mortgages.
Wells Fargo's first mortgage applications for the quarter was $72 billion, higher than last quarter, but a significant drop year over year. Last year, Wells Fargo reported new mortgage applications of $146 billion, but at that time 54% of those applications were refinances of existing mortgages. Only 36% of the $72 billion of the first mortgage applications are refinances.