Mortgages guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs reached their highest level since 1994 after rising by 50% in the most recent fiscal year.

Originations for VA loans have risen as interest rates have dropped, subprime lending has dried up and credit standards for conventional financing have tightened. For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the department guaranteed almost 540,000 loans, up roughly 300% from five years ago, the New York Times reported on Thursday. About 338,000 of those loans were for refinancing.

VA home loans still offer a no down payment option for qualified borrowers, something that is less common since the housing crisis. Loans for home purchases were up nearly 10% from the previous fiscal year, the New York Times reported.

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