Last year, just 29,912 lender preapprovals resulted in mortgage loans, down from 101,626 five years earlier, according to data on the top 25 mortgage lenders gathered by the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council. Fewer banks are offering preapprovals, or written commitments stating the amount a homebuyer can borrow and the interest rate. Some are substituting pre-qualifications, which do not offer the same guarantees.

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