Calculated Risk published a post which I nearly missed and I think has some very important facts for investors. To take some quotes from their summary which I thought were very important:
Although mortgage companies represented only 22 percent of the reporting institutions, they submitted information on more than 60 percent of all the reported loans and applications.
The most active lenders (those providing information on 5,000 or more loans or applications) accounted for about 5 percent of the reporting institutions and nearly 90 percent of all the reported loans and applications.
For 2006, lenders covered by HMDA reported information on 27.5 million applications for home loans. Almost all the applications were for loans to be secured by one- to four-family (so-called single-family) houses, as follows: 10.9 million applications to purchase a home, 2.5 million to make home improvements, and 14.0 million to refinance an existing home loan.
After declining in the early 1990s, the share of non-owner-occupant lending among first-lien loans to purchase one- to four-family site-built homes began rising in 1994, and it has risen in every year between 1996 (when it was 6.4 percent) and 2005, when it reached 17.3 percent (table 8). For 2006, the share fell somewhat, to 16.5 percent.