Zero down payments, lowest average interest rate on the market, no provide mortgage insurance required, and flexible credit terms is likely the reason that veterans and active duty service members continue to choose Veterans Affairs mortgages over conventional ones.

Statistics released this week from Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s largest VA lender, confirm that VA purchase loans are continuing to increase year over year for the seventh straight year.

In Washington state, VA purchase loans have climbed 53 percent in fiscal year 2018, when compared to five years ago. Nationally, the VA backed more than 610,000 loans over the past year totaling more than $161 billion. In total, VA loans account for approximately 10 percent of mortgages.

“This historical benefit program has experienced a resurgence since the housing crisis,” Chris Birk, director of education at Veterans United said in a statement. “More veterans have used this zero down loan in the last five years than in the prior dozen years combined. While the VA’s data show refinance loans cooled in 2018, the purchase market remains strong as more veterans and military families turn to what’s become the most powerful home loan on the market.”