A steep drop in refinance activity next year is expected to reduce overall mortgage lending by as much as 32 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Total mortgage originations in 2014 are expected to come to $1.186 trillion, down from $1.745 trillion this year, according to the most recent MBA Mortgage Finance Forecast. Refinance activity is expected to make up only 39 percent of the 2014 mortgages, down from 62 percent this year, and decline even more in 2015. MBA economists said rising mortgage interest rates — which are expected to reach 5 percent by the end of 2014 and 5.5 percent the following year — will be responsible for much of the drop in refinance activity. The forecast wasn’t all bleak. Lending for new home purchases should rise about 9 percent next year while total home sales next year are expected to increase about 5.5 percent accompanied by a modest rise in median home prices. Michael Lewis is Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.