Equity Soars To Record $11 Trillion

The recent surge in home prices pushed U.S. homeowners’ tappable equity to a record $11 trillion. Prices were on a run in March, according to the ICE Home Price Index, up 1.2% and more than 25% above the 25-year average increase. This is the third straight month of above-average gains as stock shortages keep competition for limited homes high. As a result, mortgage holders’ equity shot to a record $16.9T in Q1, $11T of which can be leveraged while retaining a 20% equity cushion, both of which are all-time highs. “We’re still very much in a hole from an inventory perspective, but that deficit has fallen from 50% a year ago to 38% in March. Today, with 3.3 months of…

First-Time Buyers Took Out Record Number Of GSE Loans In 2023

First-time homebuyers accounted for a record number of GSE purchase loans in 2023, while originations sunk to new lows, according to ICE’s latest Mortgage Monitor. They made up 55% of agency purchases last year, the highest share ever recorded by ICE in the ten years it has been tracking this metric. “The market in which these folks purchased their first home was one of record house prices, ballooning down payments, rising rates, and elevated DTIs,” Andy Walden, ICE Vice President of Enterprise Research Strategy, said. “Given record exposure to first-time homebuyer loans, it’ll be worth watching the performance of this cohort very closely moving forward, particularly for those invested in 2023 agency MBS.” First-timers and repeat buyers differed greatly in…

Housing Market Posts Positive Indicators But Home Prices Remain Elevated

The housing market may be impossible for the average American now, but hold on a while longer: it’s heading in the right direction. That’s ICE’s message, at least, with its latest Mortgage Monitor report, which revealed a mix of good and not-so-good data about the state of homebuying. Affordability is improving, for one, as rates come down. The share of income required to purchase the median home fell close to 5 percentage points from October 2023’s peak. Stock is also slowly recovering, up for a seventh consecutive month. Lack of inventory has contributed to high prices and competition, making the bidding process a nightmare for many buyers in the last few years. But home price appreciation remains off the charts.…

Mortgage Activity Suffered Under High Rates In August

Mortgage activity dipped in August as rates reached new highs and inventory remained low, according to Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Monitor report. The 30-year conforming soared above 7.25% last month, its highest level in more than 20 years, before cooling down to 7.07%. As a result, overall rate lock volumes sank for a third straight month, down 1.5% from July.  “August was another rough month for mortgage borrowers from an interest rate perspective,” said Andy Walden, VP of enterprise research and strategy at Black Knight. “Rates did edge down toward the end of August, but prospective homebuyers still face the least affordable housing market in nearly 40 years.” The biggest driver was purchase volume, which fell almost a full 2%…

Price Growth Bucks Downward Trend, Rises Across The Nation

Home prices appear to have bucked their downward trend, rising almost everywhere in the U.S. in March. Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Monitor report found that home prices rose last month on both non-adjusted (+1.38%) and seasonally adjusted (+0.45%) bases. This is the third consecutive month of increases recorded by Black Knight, with 92% of markets seeing prices increase.  “[J]ust five months ago, prices were declining on a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis in 92% of all major U.S. markets. Fast forward to March, and the situation has done a literal 180,” said Black Knight Vice President of Enterprise Research Andy Walden. Other than Western and pandemic boomtown markets, 40% have seen prices return to peak levels, with only Austin (-0.7%), Salt…

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…

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…

Home Price Growth Stalls As Inventory Rebounds

Home price growth saw the largest single-month slowdown on record since at least the 1970s in June, coinciding with a huge increase in inventory, according to Black Knight’s most recent Mortgage Monitor Report. Annual home price growth fell from 19.3% to 17.3% between May and June. “For context, during the 2006 downturn the strongest single-month slowing was 1.19 percentage points – about what we saw last month – and June topped that by 66%,” said Black Knight Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske. However, while the slowdown was historic, home price growth would need to fall at this pace for a while yet before annual price appreciation returned to 5%. “Still, while this was the sharpest cooling on record nationally,…

Home Equity Reaches Another All-Time High

Home prices have risen 42% since the beginning of the pandemic and have gained 9% in value since the first of the year, with equity reaching another all-time high, according to Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Monitor Report. Black Knight reported that the annual rate of appreciation dropped slightly to 19.9% in April, down from an upwardly revised 20.4% for March. Despite this, rising prices and interest rates have brought about the worst affordability since July 2006. “While a downward shift from 20.4% to 19.9% annual growth is hardly cause for concern, it’s also likely we’ve not yet seen the full impact of recent rate increases. Rather, April’s decline is more likely a sign of deceleration caused by the modest rate…