Mortgage originations plummet 34% in first quarter 2017


Originations plummeted from the first quarter this year led by a drop in refinance originations, according to the latest Monitor Report from Black Knight.

Overall originations dropped 34% in the first quarter of 2017 and refinance originations fell 45% from last quarter.

About $372 billion in first-lien mortgage were originated in the first quarter of 2017, a decline of 9% from the first quarter of 2016. This marks the lower point since the fourth quarter of 2014.

Refinance originations dropped 20% from last year, making up a smaller share in lending and pulling total lending originations downward.

Black Knight explained this drop in refi originations was led by borrowers with high credit scores, and that borrowers will lower credit scores saw less fluxuation.

“Refinance lending among higher-credit-score borrowers, who have largely driven the refinance market these past several years, saw a quarterly decline of 50%,” said Ben Graboske, Black Knight Data Analytics executive vice president.

“As we’ve seen in the past, these borrowers tend to strike quickly and often when interest rate incentives are present, but tend to hold back when the conditions are less favorable,” Graboske said.” At the other end of the credit spectrum, lower credit borrowers, those with credit scores below 700, only saw refinance volumes decrease by 24%.”

Purchase originations increased, but not enough to make up for the falling refinance originations. Purchase originations increased 3% from last year and 21% from the fourth quarter 2016.

“Purchase lending was up year-over-year, but the 3% annual growth is a marked decline from Q4 2016’s 12%, and marks the slowest growth rate Black Knight has observed in more than three years, going back to Q4 2013,” Graboske said.

“At that point in time, interest rates had risen abruptly, very similarly to what we saw at the end of 2016 and originations slowed considerably,” he said. “The same dynamic is at work here.”

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