Black Knight Financial Services’ most recent Mortgage Monitor report is in line with other recent industry reports in that it shows that refinances were particularly strong in the third quarter due mainly to low interest rates.
The report finds that although purchases were down slightly compared with the second quarter, total originations were up 6% due to a 17% increase in refinances.
A total of about $579 billion in loans were originated in the third quarter – the highest total origination volume since the second quarter of 2009. About $270 billion of that was for refinances – the largest quarterly volume for refinances since the second quarter of 2013.
The findings of the Black Knight report correspond with the findings of another recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions showing that approximately 1.9 million loans were originated in the third quarter – a decrease of 2% compared with the second quarter but an increase of 1% compared with a year earlier. Of the approximately 1.9 million loans, about 876,633 were refinances – up 7.0% compared with the second quarter and up 16.0% from the third quarter of 2015, ATTOM’s data shows.
Still, this increase in refinances does not necessarily mean that purchase volume is waning in the longer term: Black Knight’s report shows that although purchases were down in the third quarter compared with the second quarter, they were up 7% compared with the third quarter of 2015.
A total of about $818 billion in loans (refinances and purchases combined) were originated for the first three quarters of this year – the highest for the first three quarters of any year since 2007, Black Knight’s data shows.
With refinances expected to shrivel as mortgage interest rates rise, many lenders are hoping that purchase volume will pick up some of the slack in 2017. However, this might not happen due to the fact that nearly two-thirds of purchase loans in 2016 were for higher-credit borrowers (740+ credit scores) – and many of those borrowers are likely now tapped out.
“As this segment has been mainly responsible for the overall recovery in purchase volumes since the recession and currently accounts for two-thirds of all purchase lending, such signs of possible market saturation bear close watching,” Black Knight says in its report.
One thing that is for certain is that the recent spikes in rates mean the recent refinance “boomlet” is likely to end soon.