The mortgage industry's output of new loans is at the lowest point in 14 years, according to estimates from a trade publication.
Inside Mortgage Finance said Thursday that even in the depths of the financial crisis, mortgage lenders were busier than during the first quarter of 2014.
One factor is the end of a refinance boom as interest rates have risen well off their record lows. But though the rates are still great by historical measures, mortgages written for home purchases have been weak as well, as sales of new and previously owned homes have slowed.
About $235 billion in new home loans were made last quarter, Inside Mortgage Finance said, off 23% from the fourth quarter's estimated $305 billion and 58% lower than in the first quarter of 2013.
It was the lowest output since the first quarter of 2000, when new originations totaled $215 billion. At the height of the financial crisis, in the fourth quarter of 2008, lenders still managed to originate $260 billion in home loans.