Rate Locks Set New Record Lows

Rate lock volumes took a beating in December as buyers and sellers remained on the sidelines. Black Knight’s December Originations Monitor Report found that typical seasonal patterns, together with continuing inflationary pressures and elevated rates, resulted in record lows for locks of all kinds. “Using Black Knight’s McDash mortgage performance data to provide comparative history, December saw the fewest purchase locks in a single month since early 2014, and the fewest overall rate locks on record dating back to January 2000 when Black Knight began reporting origination metrics,” said Kevin McMahon, president of Optimal Blue, a division of Black Knight. Rate lock dollar volumes fell by 19.4% in December, their lowest level in the five years Optimal Blue has tracked…

Purchase-Locks Fell 22% In November

Rate-lock volumes fell 21.5% in November despite 30-year rates dropping 48 bps over the course of the month, according to Optimal Blue’s Mortgage Market Indices from Black Knight. Rates are 3.3% higher YOY but have declined in recent weeks. But affordability struggle and continuing stock shortages have diminished buyer demand, pushing rate-locks down 39% in three months and 68% from the same time last year. Purchase locks fell 22%, while rate/term refis and cash-outs dropped 17% and 18%, respectively. Total refi locks accounted for only 15% of November’s activity. The Thanksgiving holiday and normal seasonal slowing also contributed to low lock volume, but Optimal Blue President Scott Happ noted that these cannot account for dwindling activity by themselves. “While we…

Homes Bought In 2022 Face Rising Underwater Risk As Prices Cool

Americans who bought a home this year are facing rising underwater risk as home prices cool. Black Knight’s October Mortgage Monitor found that 8% of homes bought in 2022 are now at least marginally underwater, while almost 40% have less than a 10% equity stake in their homes. “Make no mistake: negative equity rates continue to run far below historical averages, but a clear bifurcation of risk has emerged between mortgaged homes purchased relatively recently versus those bought early in or before the pandemic,” said Black Knight President Ben Graboske. “Risk among earlier purchases is essentially nonexistent given the large equity cushions these mortgage holders are sitting on. More recent homebuyers don’t fare as well.” This is a particular issue…

Rate Locks Dip To New Low, Refis Hit Hard

Origination activity continues to sink as the market corrects, with refinances seeing major drops. Black Knight’s October 2022 Originations Market Monitor report found that rate lock dollar volume dropped 14.3% month-over-month to its lowest level since February 2019. Refinances have been hit especially hard, making up just 14% of all origination activity in October. Cash-out refis, which had previously seemed resilient due to widespread equity gains, fell 25.1% from September and are down 83.6% YOY. Rate/term refis sank an additional 15.7% and are now down 92.6% YOY. “With interest rates now at their highest level in 20 years, the refi market is rapidly approaching a bottom,” said Scott Happ, president of Optimal Blue, a division of Black Knight.  “Indeed, our…

Equity Down $1.3T From Q2, Largest Quarterly Dollar Drop On Record

Homeowner equity saw a contraction in Q3 2022 as dropping prices are finally taking their toll, according to Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Monitor Report. Home prices are cooling at a slower pace than they have been in the last few months, but the impact of those price drops is catching up to homeowners basking in record-high equity levels. Equity is down $1.3 trillion from Q2, and close to $1.5 trillion from its peak in May. This is the largest quarterly drop by dollar value ever recorded “by far,” Black Knight Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske noted. By percentage, it’s the biggest decline since 2009. “As we reported at the time, while hitting a record high in Q2, total homeowner…

Prepayments Drop To 20-Year Low

Prepayment activity dropped to a nearly 22-year low in September as interest rates rose to nearly 7%. According to Black Knight’s September 2022 First Look. prepayment activity slid by 14.9% to a single-month mortality rate of 0.57% in September, besting January 2019’s record of 0.59%. It’s the lowest level since November 2000. Inflation is a factor in low prepayment activity, says Jacob Channel, LendingTree’s senior economic analyst.  “Since the start of the year, inflation has increased significantly and as a result, many households likely have less cash that they can allocate toward non-necessities like putting extra money toward their mortgage payment,” he told MarketWatch. Black Knight also reported that the national delinquency rate fell 0.2% from August to 2.78%. This…

Loan Lock Volumes Fall Below Pre-Pandemic Norms For 3rd Month Straight

Lock volumes dipped almost 10% from August, bringing them down 30% in the last three months and 60% YOY, according to Black Knight’s latest Originations Market Monitor. Purchase locks are 10.2% below pre-pandemic levels. This is the third straight month of lock activity below pandemic norms. The decline in locks coincides with interest rates rising 91 basis points in September to 6.72%, their highest point in 15 years. Refinances made up only 16% of September’s lock activity, a new low. Of that, most were cash-out refis, though they are also down 26.2% from August and 78% YOY.  Rate/term locks remained basically unchanged. They are down 93.3% YOY, suggesting they’ve hit a floor now. Purchase lending accounted for most of September’s…

Home Prices See Largest Monthly Drop Since 2009

Home prices fell for a second consecutive month in August, with prices seeing the sharpest contractions in more than 13 years. Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Monitor Report showed huge price drops month-over-month and stalling inventory levels. Its Home Price Index saw prices decline 0.98%, with the median home price now 2% off its June peak. July’s 10.5% dip and August’s 0.98% are the largest one-month price drops since the Great Recession and are in the top eight largest dips ever recorded. “Either one of them would have been the largest single-month price decline since January 2009 – together they represent two straight months of significant pullbacks after more than two years of record-breaking growth,” Black Knight Data & Analytics President…

Delinquencies Dropped Again In August, Though Starts Rose

The historically low delinquency rate dropped further in August, closing in on May 2022’s record low, but rising foreclosure starts may cause it to increase, according to Black Knight’s First Look at August 2022 mortgage data. Nationally, delinquencies dropped 3.6% in August to 2.79%. This is just four basis points above May’s record. Improvements were seen across the spectrum of borrowers, with the number of those owing only a single late payment down 4%. Those 90 or more days delinquent fell by 4.5%. Cure activity also increased, with 62,000 seriously delinquent loans curing to current status. Cure rates refer to loans that were delinquent in the prior month but are now current. Start activity rose 15% from July, though it…

Purchase, Refi Applications Fall Again

Mortgage loan application volume fell last week, with both refis and purchase applications falling as interest rates hit their highest point since mid-June, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey shows. The adjusted Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased by 0.8%. The adjusted purchase index fell 1%, while the unadjusted purchase index dropped 3% and was 23% lower YOY. The refinance index dropped by 1% and made up 30.7% of total applications, down 83% from the same time last year.  “Mortgage rates moved higher over the course of last week as markets continued to re-assess the prospects for the economy and the path of monetary policy, with expectations for short-term rates to move and stay higher…