Residential Refinance Mortgages More Than Double in Fourth Quarter of 2019
Dollar Volume of Refinance Originations At Nearly Seven-Year High; Purchase Mortgages Up Annually 3 Percent; HELOC Originations Down Annually 6 Percent
IRVINE, Calif. – Mar. 19, 2020 — ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s premier property database and first property data provider of Data-as-a-Service (DaaS), today released its fourth-quarter 2019 U.S. Residential Property Mortgage Origination Report, which shows that 1.27 million refinance mortgages secured by residential property (1 to 4 units) were originated in the fourth quarter of 2019. That figure is up 20 percent from the third quarter of 2019 and up 104 percent from the fourth quarter of 2018, to the highest point since the third quarter of 2013.
With interest rates near all-time lows, the refinance mortgages originated in the fourth quarter of 2019 represented an estimated $391.3 billion in total dollar volume, up 19 percent from the previous quarter and up 138 percent from a year ago to the highest level since the first quarter of 2013.
Total residential loan originations rose 40 percent, year-over-year, in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 2.27 million, the highest point since the third quarter of 2016.
“The fourth quarter was a banner period for residential mortgages across the United States, as declining interest rates and a strong economy helped spur more than 2 million borrowers to sign on for new or refinanced loans,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Refinancing largely drove the trend, with more than twice as many homeowners trading in higher-interest mortgages for cheaper ones than in the same period of 2018. These trends could all change when the economic fallout from the Coronavirus outbreak hits. But the last few months of 2019 saw a burst of lending activity not seen in the U.S. housing market for several years.”
Refinance originations increase in most of nation, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago
Lenders originated 1,274,495 refinance mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 19.6 percent from the third quarter of 2019 and up 104.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2018.
Residential refinance mortgage originations increased, year over year, in 207 of the 209 metropolitan statistical areas that have a population greater than 200,000 and were analyzed for this report, including those greater metro areas of New York, NY (up 91.5 percent); Los Angeles, CA (up 158.8 percent); Chicago, IL (up 144.5 percent); Dallas, TX (up 90.0 percent) and Houston, TX (up 32.9 percent).
The only metro areas that ran counter to the national year-over-year trend were Beaumont, TX (down 6.8 percent) and McAllen, TX (down 9.1 percent).
Purchase mortgage originations up 3 percent from year ago
Lenders originated 685,898 residential purchase mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2019, down 13.3 percent from the previous quarter, but up 3.1 percent from a year earlier.
Residential purchase mortgage originations increased from a year ago in 141 of the 209 metro areas that have a population greater than 200,000 and were analyzed for this report, including those greater metro areas of Los Angeles, CA (up 13.8 percent); Chicago, IL (up 1.6 percent); Washington, DC (up 3.7 percent); Philadelphia, PA (up 2.1 percent) and Miami, FL (up 2.9 percent).
Counter to the national trend, residential purchase mortgage originations decreased from a year ago in 68 of the 209 metro areas analyzed in the report, including the greater metro areas of New York, NY (down 1.0 percent); Dallas, TX (down 14.7 percent); Houston, TX (down 16.8 percent); Minneapolis, MN (down 3.8 percent) and Tampa, FL (down 6.9 percent).
HELOC originations down 6 percent from year ago
A total of 307,180 home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) were originated on residential properties in the fourth quarter of 2019, down 8.9 percent from the previous quarter and down 5.5 percent from a year earlier.
Residential HELOC mortgage originations decreased from a year ago in 56.5 percent of metropolitan statistical areas that have a population greater than 200,000 and were analyzed for this report, including New York, NY (down 13.5 percent); Los Angeles, CA (down 20.6 percent); Chicago, IL (down 4.9 percent); Washington, DC (down 14.5 percent) and Philadelphia, PA (down 0.3 percent).
Counter to the national trend, residential HELOC mortgage originations increased from a year ago or stayed the same in 43.5 percent of the metro areas analyzed for the report, including Dallas, TX (up 3.9 percent); Houston, TX (up 37.0 percent); Boston, MA (up 4.0 percent); St. Louis, MO (up 5.1 percent) and Charlotte, NC (up 6.4 percent).
FHA loan share down quarterly, but up annually
Mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) accounted for 294,206, or 13 percent, of all residential property loans originated in the fourth quarter of 2019. That was down from 289,593, or 13.2 percent, of all loans in the previous quarter, but up from 199,004, or 12.3 percent of all loans, a year ago.
Residential loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accounted for 9.1 percent of all residential property loans originated in the fourth quarter of 2019, the highest percentage since at least 2000. The figure was up from 8.7 percent in the previous quarter and from 6.3 percent a year ago.
ATTOM Data Solutions analyzed recorded mortgage and deed of trust data for single family homes, condos, town homes and multi-family properties of two to four units for this report. Each recorded mortgage or deed of trust was counted as a separate loan origination. Dollar volume was calculated by multiplying the total number of loan originations by the average loan amount for those loan originations.
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