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…

‘If You Haven’t Re-fi’d, Do So Now:’ Experts Predict Inflation, Fed Will Drive Up Rates

A new poll from Fox News shows 9 in 10 Americans are worried about inflation, and they aren’t alone. A growing consensus among housing and banking analysts is that, while the Federal Reserve gets most of the attention, the real force impacting mortgage rates in the coming months is inflation. And that’s a factor much harder for policymakers to impact than the Fed. “If you haven’t yet refinanced, do so now,” says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate. “The likelihood is that we see higher rates, not lower rates in the months ahead.” While an entire industry has grown up around ‘Fed watching’ — tracking every hint dropped by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and his counterparts — inflation…

Mortgage Application Volume Bounces Back

Mortgage loan application volume bounced back from last week’s low, rising 0.3%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly survey. Purchase mortgage activity grew 8%, driving the increase. Last week’s numbers hit their lowest point since Mid-July, largely due to a 3% drop in refinancing. Refi dropped another 3% this week, but purchase mortgage applications made up for it, reaching their highest level since April. “Compared to the same week last September, which was right in the middle of a significant upswing in home purchases, applications were down 11%– the smallest year-over-year decline in 14 weeks,” said Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. The average loan size for a purchase application also rose, to $396,800.…

BLACK KNIGHT: Cash-Out Refi Tops Market For The First Time Since February

Cash-out refis skyrocketed in the last three months, while overall rate locks for mortgage originations increased in August, according to Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Origination Monitor report. Rate locks rose 1.3% from July, driven by a 7.6% increase in cash-out refinancing activity. Refi lending is up 41% over the last three months, making refi the largest share of the market for the first time since February.  “The rise in cash-out lending is hardly surprising given the extraordinary growth we’ve seen in tappable equity this year,” Black Knight Secondary Marketing Technologies President Scott Happ said. American homeowners gained a record $1 trillion in tappable equity in the second quarter of 2021. “We’ve now seen cash-out activity increase for three consecutive months,…