Purchase Locks Jumped YOY In April

Purchase mortgage lock counts rose year-over-year for the first since March 2022 in April, an encouraging sign in the tough homebuying environment. Optimal Blue’s April 2024 Originations Market Monitor report revealed that purchase locks were up 5% YOY last month, the first increase since the Central Bank hiked rates two years ago. Optimal Blue chalks the boost up to this year’s spring buying season. Total monthly rate locks rose 8.7%, driven by an 11% jump month-over-month. “Purchase lock counts are a key market indicator as they control for changes in home prices and more volatile refi activity, so the year-over-year increase in April is a particularly encouraging sign that mortgage production may be turning a corner,” said Brennan O’Connell, director…

Homebuyer Credit Scores Hit Multi-Year High

Average homebuyer credit scores soared to their highest point since 2018 in March, according to Optimal Blue’s March 2024 Originations Market Report. The average score hit 737, an all-time high in Optimal Blue’s data, which dates back to January 2018. Scores for FHA borrowers also hit 6-year highs, clocking in at 677 in February and 676 in March. VA and conforming loan scores soared to highs not seen since 2021. “Driven by rising interest rates and home prices, we’re witnessing the highest average homebuyer credit scores in years,” said Brennan O’Connell, director of data solutions at Optimal Blue.  “This unprecedented level of creditworthiness among purchasers is largely a result of the affordability issues borrowers face in today’s housing market, with…

Purchase Locks Rose At The Start Of Spring Buying Season

Mortgage purchase locks increased at the start of the spring homebuying season despite ongoing challenges, setting the stage for more activity. Rate lock volume increased by 5% from January to February despite rising rates, leading to a net rise in origination activity, according to Optimal Blue’s latest Originations Market Monitor report. Purchase activity drove the surge, climbing 8.3% from January and buoying the numbers even as refinances tanked. Purchase lock counts were up 7% from the month prior but decreased 7% YOY. It is the smallest such decrease since the Federal Reserve began its inflation fight in March 2022. Rate/term refis were down 22.5% month-over-month, while cash-outs dipped by 3.1%. All in all, 86% of last month’s originations were purchase…