When it comes to home loans, Ellie Mae has the inside scoop.

“Ellie” is a tech company that provides automation software to a large chunk of the mortgage finance industry. Since more than a third of all U.S. home loans flow through its systems, Ellie Mae gets a first-hand look at what’s going on in residential home sales and financing. Up there from its perch on the electronic balcony, it gets a very accurate picture of the action in real time.

Ellie issued a news release last Wednesday that contained some interesting tidbits that might benefit homeowners or about-to-be homeowners. These releases are timely glimpses of the tides of U.S. home loan trends and specifics of what’s being required and what costs are being charged. If you’re going to be applying soon, those are attention-getters.

I’ve mined a few of the latest nuggets describing this year’s late summer/early fall activity:

  • For the first time this year, September’s 30-year interest rate “for all loans” decreased (by a tad) to 4.91%.
  • Refinancings remain a low percentage of the loans closed—29%—which is down from 38% a year ago.
  • Adjustables (ARMs) increased as a percentage of loans made, at 7.2% of the market. That’s about half of a percentage point higher than in August (not surprising, since home prices are up).
  • FICO score averages inched up to 727.
  • The amount of time it took to close held steady at 45 days.

It’s a truism that homes have to be sold twice: once to the buyer, and then to the lender. If you are planning to buy or sell in the foreseeable future, staying aware of how residential financings are trending prevents being blind-sided when that “second sale” is pending. Of course, I keep a more focused eye on activity—so when you tap me as your agent, you can be sure there won’t be any surprises. Call anytime!