Origination Activity Fell Again In December

Origination activity fell for the fourth consecutive month in December as higher rates and seasonal slowdown pushed rate locks down, according to Black Knight’s December 2021 Origination Market Monitor. Rate locks fell 18.3% from November to December and 35% year-over-year (YOY), fueled by a 22.5% drop in locks on purchase loans and a 17.1% drop in rate/term refinances. Rate/terms refis hit their lowest point in two years at the end of 2021. Locks on cash-out refis also dropped by 10% from November, though they are up 18% YOY thanks to incredible gains in home equity. The share of refinances rose to 48% due to the decline in purchase locks, though average refi credit scores were down 20 points YOY as…

2021 Finishes Strong, But Inflationary Concerns Weaken 2022 Projections

The Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group boosted its expectation for full-year 2021 economic growth to 5.5% in its December commentary, up 0.7% from November’s projection. The group cited “stronger-than-anticipated consumer spending and inventory investment data” as the reason for its revised projection. Total home sales are now expected to increase 7.1% in 2021 rather than 5.3%. Total mortgage originations are expected to be $4.5 trillion, up from $4.4 trillion. But it also revised its 2022 expectations, downgrading its 2022 growth forecast from 3.7% to 3.2%. Though recent data appears strong, the group noted it “likely reflects a pull-forward of activity from the first half of 2022 and is unlikely to be sustained.” Inflation is the primary reason…

Rate/Term Refinances Reach Lowest Point Since February 2020

Rate lock volume fell 4.7% month-over-month in November, Black Knight’s latest Originations Market Monitor report found. It is the third straight month of overall declines. The drop was driven by rate/term refinance originations, which fell 9.4% from October and almost 65% year-over-year (YOY), its lowest level since February 2020. Rate/term refinance dropped in eight out of eleven months in 2021. Locks on purchase and cash-out refinance fell 3.9% and 2.5% from October, respectively. However, they are still higher than 2020, with purchase locks up 13% YOY and cash-outs up 36% YOY. “While 30-year rates ended November relatively flat from where they were at the start of the month, there was some volatility in rate offerings throughout the month,” said Black…