Consumer demand for home loans has strengthened modestly this year as the economy improved, a trend expected to continue, according to a Fannie Mae survey of senior mortgage lending executives.
The demand was met by a slight easing of credit standards during the second quarter at large lenders, the survey showed, echoing recent remarks by executives at No. 1 home lender Wells Fargo & Co. and a separate survey by a trade association.
The picture was different, though, at smaller lenders, according to Fannie Mae, which said in a report Thursday that they tended to tighten their lending standards during the quarter.
What's more, the report said, the mortgage executives were much more likely than consumers to say it is difficult for a borrower to get a loan these days. And the demand for mortgages, though improved, was far from robust.
"These results are broadly in line with other major indicators released recently, including the pickup in home sales in May," said Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan.
Duncan said the findings "support our expectations of a steady but unspectacular rebound for housing during the second half of this year."
Mortgage shoppers continue to enjoy rates that are near their lows for the year.
The Freddie Mac survey showed the average 30-year rate, which was less than 4% during the first half of last year, had risen to about 4.5% as this year began.
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