The title insurance industry collected $2.3 billion of premiums in the second quarter, down 8.5% from a year earlier, according to the American Land Title Association.

The ALTA's Market Share Analysis report, released last week, shows only four states (Texas, New York, Illinois and Colorado) and Washington, D.C., reported an increase in title premiums for the second quarter, compared with the same period a year earlier.

California, which generates the most title insurance premiums of any state, reported that business fell 13.6% year over year, to $350.7 million.

"The latest market share analysis reflects an ongoing recession in the housing market, with further downward pressure on home prices," the ALTA's chief executive, Kurt Pfotenhauer, said in a press release.

It appears that the third quarter will be a tough one for title firms with an anticipated sharp decline in home sales predicted.

Title insurers charge higher premiums for home purchase transactions than on refinancings. Fannie Mae economists are forecasting that refinancings will account for 63% of mortgage originations in the third quarter, compared with 54% in the second quarter.

The ALTA has 3,769 member companies.

This story has been reprinted with permission from American Banker.

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