February 2022 Originations Market Monitor
Refinance Rate Locks Drop Across the Board in February as 30-Year Rates Climb Above 4% for First Time in Over Two Years
- Optimal Blue’s Mortgage Market Indices tracked conforming 30-year rates daily throughout February as they climbed above 4% for the first time since November 2019, finishing the month at 4.09%
- Fed policy changes and geopolitical uncertainty have driven the spread between 30-year mortgage rates and 10-year Treasury yields above 2.25%, reflecting a 40-basis-point jump over the last three months
- Overall rate lock activity fell 5.4% from January, driven by declines in both cash-out and rate/term refinance locks, which saw month-over-month drops of 15.3% and 34.1%, respectively
- Purchase volume showed resilience as strong homebuyer demand drove a 7.2% month-over-month increase, with February volumes up 5.6% from the same time last year
- The decline in refinance locks resulted in a 34.5% decrease in overall lock activity for the month, and pushed the refi share of the market down to just 35%, the lowest point since May 2019
- With the rate of home price growth continuing to accelerate in early 2022, nonconforming products captured further market share in February and now account for 17% of lock activity
- Likewise, upward pressure on home prices pushed the average home loan amount up another $6,400 to $353,830
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – March 14, 2022 – Today, Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE:BKI) announced the release of its latest Originations Market Monitor report, looking at mortgage origination data through February month-end. Leveraging daily rate lock data from Black Knight’s Optimal Blue PPE – mortgage lending’s most widely used pricing engine – the Originations Market Monitor provides the industry’s earliest and most comprehensive view of origination activity.
“As we noted back in November, the Federal Reserve’s unwinding of its bond buying program has been having a stronger impact on mortgage rates than Treasury yields,” said Scott Happ, president, Optimal Blue, a division of Black Knight. “Driven by Fed policy and exacerbated by global instability, we’ve seen the spread between 30-year conforming rates and 10-year Treasury yields climb more than 40 basis points in just three months, topping 2.25% in February. Our OBMMI daily interest rate tracker showed the average 30-year conforming rate top 4% in February for the first time in more than two years, closing out the month at 4.09%.”
The month’s pipeline data showed rate locks falling 5.4% from January, driven by declines in both cash-out and rate/term refinance locks, which saw month-over-month drops of 15.3% and 34.1%, respectively. Rate/term refinance lending activity was down for the fifth consecutive month – falling to the lowest level in three years – and is now more than 80% off 2021 levels. Cash-out locks – which have been somewhat buffered from rising rates by soaring home values – registered a 6.3% year-over-year decline in February. Nonconforming loan products continued to gain market share at the expense of agency volumes as the pace of home price growth has reaccelerated. Pull-through rates – the share of locks that result in funded loans – fell on both purchase and refinance locks, with refi pull-through falling to just 68.6%.
“While refinance activity took a hit in February due to sharp rises in conforming rates, purchase lending rose again on strong homebuyer demand,” Happ continued. “The 7.2% month-over-month increase in purchase locks pushed February purchase volumes up 5.6% from the same time last year. The average home loan amount continues to climb in the face of rising home prices and tightening affordability. Indeed, February’s $6,500 jump pushed that average to just under $354,000. In turn, nonconforming products – including both jumbos and loans with expanded guidelines – accounted for a full 17% of the month’s lock activity.”
Each month’s Originations Market Monitor provides high-level origination metrics for the U.S. and the top 20 metropolitan statistical areas by share of total origination volume.
About Black Knight
Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE:BKI) is an award-winning software, data and analytics company that drives innovation in the mortgage lending and servicing and real estate industries, as well as the capital and secondary markets. Businesses leverage our robust, integrated solutions across the entire homeownership life cycle to help retain existing customers, gain new customers, mitigate risk and operate more effectively.
Our clients rely on our proven, comprehensive, scalable products and our unwavering commitment to delivering superior client support to achieve their strategic goals and better serve their customers. For more information on Black Knight, please visit www.blackknightinc.com.
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