Housing Slump Hits New Mortgage Loans .

Mortgage lending declined last year amid weak demand and tight credit standards, with particularly sharp credit contractions in neighborhoods with many foreclosures, according to the Federal Reserve.

In its annual analysis of mortgage data provided by thousands of financial institutions, the Fed found that lenders originated 7.9 million mortgages in 2010, down 12% from 2009. The only year they were lower in the past decade was 2008, when they hit 7.2 million. The Fed analyzed data from more than 7,900 mortgage lenders that are reported to regulators under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

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