PLACE TO CALL HOME: Leida Miranda and her sons Ray, 15, left, and Elimelec, 13, in front of their house at 30 North County St. in East Providence. Miranda is a first-time homebuyer who bought this house through Rhode Island Housing.
Rhode Island Housing has seen a jump of more than 45 percent in the value of home mortgages closed for the period that runs January through the end of May of this year, compared with the same period in 2013.
From January through May 2014, the value of mortgages totaled $33.1 million, a 46 percent jump from $22.6 million for the same five-month period last year, said Peter Walsh, Rhode Island Housing’s director of home ownership and customer service. During the same periods, total mortgages climbed to 217 from 158, a 37 percent increase.
“One of the main drivers of the increase is that our lending partners are doing a lot more loans with us,” said Walsh.
Rhode Island Housing works with more than two dozen approved lenders statewide, including banks, credit unions and mortgage companies. The top three participating lenders in 2013 were Coastway Community Bank, Homestar Mortgage and Washington Trust.
“Within the past year, we’ve added a staff position that focuses on working with our lending partners,” said Walsh.
“Year-to-date, about 38 percent of our closings are through participating lenders. That’s up significantly,” said Walsh. “In the past couple of years, it was about 10 percent.”
Rhode Island Housing’s increase in mortgage closings for the month of May is in contrast to the dip in sales of homes in the state.
Rhode Island Housing closed 60 mortgage loans for a total value of $9.5 million just in May, compared to 37 mortgages totaling $5.3 million in May 2013, said Walsh.
Single-family home sales fell 6 percent in May compared with the same period in 2013, according to the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.
Statewide 784 houses were sold in May, 53 fewer than in May 2013, according to the state Realtors association.
“Just looking at May of this year, we haven’t closed that much since 2008. It’s a very hopeful sign for Rhode Island,” said Walsh. “A lot of our customers are first-time homebuyers. “