TORONTO -- Home Capital Group Inc. (HCG.TO) says its fourth-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago as its mortgage originations climbed 85 per cent.

The alternative mortgage lender says it earned $35.8 million or 46 cents per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a profit of $30.6 million or 38 cents per share in the same quarter in 2017.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 43 cents per share for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Mortgage originations for the last three months of 2018 totalled $1.61 billion, up from $872.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

For the fourth quarter of 2018, provisions for credit losses amounted to $3.9 million or 0.10 per cent of gross loans, compared with $3.4 million or 0.09 per cent for the same period in 2017.

In its outlook, Home Capital says it expects that the early signs of stabilization in the Canadian real estate market will persist for much of 2019.