Residential Lending Sinks To Lowest Point Since 2000

Residential lending is down in two-thirds of the U.S. and sitting at its lowest level since 2000. That’s according to new data from ATTOM, which showed that 1.28 million mortgages secured by residential property were issued in Q1, a 6.8% decline from the previous quarter. It’s the 11th decline in the last 12 quarters and the lowest level in 24 years. Total lending activity is down 4.8% YOY and 69.3% from its high point in 2021. The declines impacted purchase, refi, and home equity lending activity. Purchase loan activity, in particular, was down nearly 10%, while home equity fell by 9%. Refinances, which were already constrained, saw just a 1.9% decrease. The first quarter soured many analysts’ hopes for a…

Applications Slip Again Ahead Of FOMC Meeting

Mortgage applications declined again last week as rates continued their upward march.  The Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey shows that the adjusted Market Composite Index — a measure of mortgage loan application volume — fell by 2.3%, adding to last week’s 2.7% dip. Adjusted purchase applications slipped by 2%, while the unadjusted index was down 1% and 14% lower YOY.  Rates jumped to 7.29%, their highest point since November 2023. “Inflation remains stubbornly high, and this trend is convincing markets that rates, including mortgage rates, are going to stay higher for longer,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s SVP and Chief Economist.  As buyers desperately seek ways to lower their monthly payments, ARMs clocked another strong week, accounting for 7.8% of applications.…

Rates Retreat, Giving Refinances A Boost

Mortgage applications increased for a second week as rates retreated from 7%. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey shows that the adjusted Market Composite Index — a measure of mortgage loan application volume — increased by 7.1%, following the week prior’s 9.7% bump. Adjusted purchase applications rose by 5%, while the unadjusted index was up 6% and 11% lower YOY.  “Mortgage rates dropped below 7% last week for most loan types because of incoming economic data showing a weaker service sector and a less robust job market, with an increase in the unemployment rate and downward revisions to job growth in prior months,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s SVP and Chief Economist.  Nonfarm payrolls rose by 275,000 in February while the…

Mortgage Lending Plummeted In Q4 2023

Mortgage brokers felt the burn in the last three months of 2023, with residential lending across the board stalling. A new report from ATTOM found that 1.35 million residential mortgages were originated in Q4 2023. That’s a 13.8% drop from Q3, and the tenth decline in the last eleven quarters. Residential lending activity overall was down 16.5% YOY, with purchases, refinances, and home equity loans all taking a hit.  Compared to the boom of Q1 2021, activity is down more than 67%. “Multiple powerful forces continued to conspire against the mortgage industry during the fourth quarter, slicing back huge portions of their business,” said Rob Barber, CEO at ATTOM. “There were signs during the peak buying season of 2022 that…

Lender Customer Satisfaction Up In 2023 Thanks To Borrower-Centric Approaches

Mortgage lenders who pivoted to borrower-centric approaches in the last year saw customer satisfaction soar despite high rates. That’s according to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, which found overall customer satisfaction with mortgage lenders rose 14 points YOY, even as the average mortgage rate has climbed to its highest level in 23 years and lending volume tanked. The reason? Increased focus on the borrowing experience, leading to happier customers. While nearly a third of customers said they chose the lender with the lowest rate, 69% cited other reasons like personalized service and helpfulness. “The value equation for mortgage originators has shifted from instant approvals and lightning-fast processing to helpful advice and creative problem solving,” said Bruce…

Rates Cool, Ending Weeks-Long Upward Streak

Borrowers struggling with rampant unaffordability are seeing some relief as mortgage rates cool, ending an upward swing. Officials at Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.76%, down from 7.79%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.95%. The 15-year fixed rate remained unchanged at 7.03%. A year ago, it averaged 6.29%. “The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage paused its multi-week climb but continues to hover under 8%,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The Federal Reserve again decided not to raise interest rates but have not ruled out a hike before year-end. Coupled with geopolitical uncertainty, this ambiguity around monetary policy will likely have an impact on the overall economic landscape and may continue…

CoreLogic Updates AutomatIQ VOE/I

CoreLogic and Experian Verification Solutions have teamed up to enhance CoreLogic’s AutomatIQ Borrower Verification of Employment and Income. Four different verification options are now available, allowing lenders to create custom waterfall verification solutions with individual objectives. “People are at the heart of every mortgage transaction, and we want to ensure lenders are equipped with the most comprehensive solutions to bring clients a positive experience,” said Jay Kingsley, President of Mortgage Solutions, CoreLogic. AutomatIQ now includes Experian Verify, giving lenders instant access to income and employment information, and Borrower Assisted Payroll, which lets borrowers submit their information on a vendor website for quick verification. These are in addition to The Work Number and manual verification, both of which were previously offered…

Rocket’s Pathfinder Gets An Upgrade

Rocket Mortgage’s search tool has new advancements, the company announced in a press release. Pathfinder is an AI and machine learning-powered search engine used by more than 40,000 bankers, brokers, and underwriters to simplify mortgage processing. “Pathfinder has been an invaluable tool for curating complex data and transforming it into knowledge engineering. This technology, and others that leverage advancements in AI and machine learning, are truly evolving how we can facilitate homeownership,” said Brian Woodring, Rocket Mortgage CIO. Its custom Google AI search, which Rocket developed after releasing a searchable home loan knowledge database three years ago, increased Rocket’s speed and efficiency in answering client questions by 29%. Rocket is now testing a new AI chat interface, which has shown…

New Home Sales Spiked In September

New home sales sprang back to life in September, according to newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sales rose by 12.3% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 759,000. This is well above the rate of 680,000 units predicted by economists. The median price for a new home was $418,800, while the average sales price was $503,900, both down. But the increase may not hold over as the end of the year approaches, bringing with it historically lower-volume months. “While the overall number of potential homebuyers is down, ‘patience’ seems to be the mantra for those still in the market, and lenders would do well to follow suit,…

Mortgage Machine Launches All-In-One LOS

Digital origination tech company Mortgage Machine Services launched an all-in-one loan origination system. Mortgage Machine, named to mirror the company and developed by industry pro Jeff Bode, is designed to improve lenders’ operation times and support an end-to-end digital origination process, according to company leaders. The system consolidates disjointed operations through workflow automation and compliance assurance. It features AI-powered task automation, a scalable cloud-based infrastructure, and flexible API capabilities, as well as pre-configured workflows tailored for retail and wholesale loan processes. It also provides end-to-end support throughout the lending, underwriting, documentation, and closing of a residential mortgage loan. “The LOS is the operational linchpin for every mortgage business, but most LOS platforms on the market today were not designed to…