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IRVINE, CA-Home Loan Center Inc., an Internet-based direct mortgage lender, has signed a three-year lease for 26,500 sf of additional office space here, boosting the fast-growing company’s total square footage to 40,000.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Home Loan Center is believed to have negotiated for less than the $2.55 per sf asking rate for the space.

CEO Anthony Hsieh says the new facility, which is at 18191 Von Karman Ave. will house the mortgage lender’s origination, fulfillment and administrative operations beginning Oct. 19. He says the company’s existing 14,500-sf leased offices elsewhere in Irvine will be converted to accommodate its wholly owned escrow subsidiary, Home Loan Center Escrow Inc., which is slated to begin operations Oct. 15.

Home Loan Center’s transaction is the latest in a series of leases by mortgage companies that have provided much of the action in Orange County office leasing this year, including some of the county’s biggest office leases.

Home Loan’s new offices occupy the entire third floor of a free-standing, five-story building that is owned by the Irvine Co.

Hsieh says the company needed more space because it has grown faster than expected, with its originations outperforming projections by 300% and Home Loan’s payroll growing from seven to 103 employees in just a few months. He expects that demand for mortgages will continue, and could shortly boost the firm’s need for office space again.

Home Loan Center is a branchless, retail mortgage lender that offers its products through its web site and call center. It has received mortgage banker licensing and approval in 47 states and the District of Columbia, and has secured an escrow license from the California Department of Corporations for its Home Loan Center Escrow subsidiary. Hsieh, who was the founder and CEO of LoansDirect Inc., established Home Loan Center this summer.

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