In what might be interpreted as a sign the economy is improving, a report from Experian shows that there was a 16% year-over-year increase in mortgage origination volume and a 20% increase in bankcard limits in the first quarter of 2013.
Mortgage origination volumes have increased for the past eight quarters, indicating a consistently improving housing market, Experian said in a release. Home prices continued to rise in the first quarter – and mortgage delinquency rates declined overall.
The average home price in California rose to $325,000. The average home price for the south-central region of the U.S. increased to $169,000, surpassing the Midwest region, which came in at $163,000.
However, regional share of originated mortgage dollars showed strong activity in the Midwest as the year began. Mortgage origination volume for the Midwest increased 27%, compared to the first quarter of 2012, reaching $101 billion. For the first time in two years, mortgage origination volume for the Midwest region surpassed California, which grew by 6%, year over year, to reach $92 billion.
Mortgage delinquency rates also reached multiyear lows. However, there was a slight increase in late-stage 90- to 180-day delinquencies that may be the result of continued stress in some specific housing markets, Experian said.
"This year is off to a solid start, given continued upward trends in origination activity,'' said Linda Haran, director of product management and strategy for Experian Decision Analytics, in a release. "With loan delinquency continuing to show exceptional performance, combined with the growth in originations over the past year, we expect to see a strong remainder of the year, and an improving economy can keep this performance going."