Mortgage originations will come in about 23% higher this year than last, according to a new projection by Experian, a data service in Anaheim, Calif.

Experian's projection is based on its own data, gathered from deed transfer records, sampling about two-thirds of the loans made in the United States this year and last.

The expected gain is similar in size to the one projected by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, which expects a 25% increase this year, to $796 billion. Experian offered only a projected percentage change based on the metropolitan areas it covers but said its sample is fully representative of the country as a whole.

"The increase in loan production is partially due to a pickup in housing demand across the country," said Nima Nattagh, a market analyst at Experian. "But for many lenders, nonpurchase lending, which includes refinancing and equity mortgage products, has been a more lucrative business."

The Experian report also predicted that nonpurchase loans would be up 35.1% for the year, while loans to buy homes were likely to climb only 13.5%.

The strength of the nonpurchase market is accounted for at least partly by the heavy marketing of home equity loans by specialists and newcomers to the field.

Experian found several states where originations are likely to have climbed 30% or more by yearend: Arizona, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, and Rhode Island. Lagging - with less than 20% growth projected - were California, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Nonpurchase loans were weakest of all in California, with a gain projected at 19.3%. "That's an indication that many Californians don't have much equity in their homes," said Mr. Nattagh. The pool of homeowners who could benefit from refinancing has shrunk in the Golden State, he said. The other soft spots for nonpurchase loans are in New York and Pennsylvania.

However, loans to buy homes are projected to have risen by $10 billion in California, the biggest dollar gain anywhere, out of a total gain of $28.2 billion nationwide. "In California, the market is gaining momentum, and lenders are gradually recovering much of the ground lost to the economic recession of the early 1990s," said Mr. Nattagh.

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