Interest rates continued to decline in February, driving up the share of refinances by two percentage points, According to the February Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae®, the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry.

The 30-year rate on all loans dropped to 3.86 percent, down from 3.96 percent the month prior and the 30-year rate on conventional loans fell below 4 percent for the first time since October 2019, dropping to 3.89 percent from 4.03 percent in January. Similarly, the 30-year rate on FHA loans dropped to 3.87 percent, down from 3.91 percent the month prior. The 30-year rate on VA loans followed suit, dropping to 3.62 percent from 3.64 percent in January.

As rates dropped, refinances increased, representing 48 percent of all closed loans in the month, up from 46 percent the month prior. Purchase loans still continued to make up the majority of the market, representing 52 percent of closed loans in February.

Other statistics of note in February included:

  • The time to close all loans declined to 43 days in February, down from 48 days in January, likely due to seasonality.
  • Closing rates on all loans increased to 78.3 percent in February, up from 77.2 percent the month prior. Closing rates on purchases held at 80.7 percent and closing rates on refinances increased to 76.0 percent, up from 75.8 percent the month prior.
  • FICO scores on all closed loans held steady at 738 for the second month.

“Interest rates continued to decline into February which we believe is causing us to see a small refinance rebound,” said Jonathan Corr, President and CEO of Ellie Mae. “We will wait to see what the impacts of global factors, like stock market declines and the coronavirus, have on the housing market as we enter the spring. We continue to see our lenders consistently lowering their time to close and closing more loans as they leverage digital mortgage technology across more aspects of the loan origination workflow.”

The Origination Insight Report mines data from a robust sampling of approximately 80 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.

In addition to the Origination Insight Report, Ellie Mae also distributes data from its monthly Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker on the first Wednesday of each month. The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker focuses on mortgage applications submitted by borrowers born between the years 1980 and 1999.


6 Months Ago
(Aug. 2019*)
1 Year Ago
(Feb. 2019*)
Closed Loans
Days to Close
Percentage of ARM and Fixed Loan Volume
ARM %5.3%6.3%5.3%7.6%
30-Year Rate

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

Closed First-Lien Loans (All Types)
FICO Score (FICO)738
Loan-to-Value (LTV)76
Debt-to-Income (DTI)24/37

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 November 2019 applications—to calculate an overall closing rate of 78.3 percent in February 2020 (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 is the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry. Ellie Mae’s technology solutions enable lenders to originate more loans, reduce origination costs, and shorten the time to close, all while ensuring the highest levels of compliance, quality and efficiency. Visit or call 877.355.4362 to learn more.


Erica Bigley
Ellie Mae, Inc.
(925) 227-5913

Caitlin Coffee
(312) 635-8204

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