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Residential Mortgages Comprise Over Half of Home Loans in First Q1 2020: USA

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With interest rates continuing near all-time lows, refinance mortgages originated in the first quarter of 2020 represented an estimated $328.5 billion in total dollar volume, down 16 percent from the previous quarter but up 105 percent from a year ago. 

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 first-quarter 2020 U.S. Residential Property Mortgage Origination Report, which shows that 1.07 million refinance mortgages secured by residential property (1 to 4 units) were originated in the first quarter of 2020 in the United States. That figure was down 16 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019 but up 87 percent from the first quarter of 2019. 

With interest rates continuing near all-time lows, refinance mortgages originated in the first quarter of 2020 represented an estimated $328.5 billion in total dollar volume, down 16 percent from the previous quarter but up 105 percent from a year ago. 

Refinance loans accounted for 55.7 percent of all 1.92 million home loans in the first quarter of 2020, virtually the same as the 55.9 percent of loans in the fourth quarter of 2019, but up from 41.3 percent in the first quarter of 2019.

Historical Residential Mortgage Originations Graphic

“Home-loan data was way up again in the first quarter of the year, with refinancing activity again accounting for more than half the total volume of mortgages. The number and dollar value of home loans marked yet another sign of the how charged up the U.S. housing market continued to be in the early months of the year when everything was still pointing in the right direction,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Unfortunately, that is all uncertain now due to the economic fallout from the virus pandemic that could throw the market into a downturn. But at least the market heads that uncertainty with some of the strongest home loans – and by extension, overall market – numbers since the aftermath of the last recession.”

Refinance originations increase in most of nation, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago
Lenders originated 1,070,986 refinance mortgages in the first quarter of 2020, down 16 percent from the fourth quarter but up 87 percent from the first quarter of last year.

Residential refinance mortgage originations increased, year over year, in 186 of the 192 metropolitan statistical areas that have a population greater than 200,000 and with at least 1,000 total loans (96.9 percent), including Chicago, IL (up 129.3 percent); Los Angeles, CA (up 115.9 percent); Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (up 87 percent); New York, NY (up 71.2 percent) and Houston, TX (up 53.1 percent).

Counter to the national trend, the number of refinance loans decreased, year over year, in just six of the 192 metro areas, including McAllen, TX (down 29.3 percent); Beaumont, TX (down 13.4 percent); Syracuse, NY (down 1 percent); Amarillo, TX (down 0.4 percent) and Youngstown, OH (down 0.4 percent).

Purchase mortgage originations up 13 percent from year ago
Lenders originated 606,703 residential purchase mortgages in the first quarter of 2020, down 12 percent from the previous quarter, but up 13 percent from a year earlier.

Residential purchase mortgage originations increased from a year ago in 119 of the 192 metro areas that have a population greater than 200,000 and were analyzed for this report (62 percent). The largest increases were in Savannah, GA (up 299 percent); Lafayette, LA (up 230.9 percent); South Bend, IN (up 143.4 percent); Los Angeles, CA (up 121.7 percent) and Ventura, CA (up 115.5 percent).

Counter to the national trend, residential purchase mortgage originations decreased from a year ago in 73 of the 192 metro areas analyzed in the report (38 percent). The largest decreases were in Myrtle Beach, SC (down 47 percent); Port St. Lucie, FL (down 42.2 percent); Lubbock, TX (down 40.9 percent); Lincoln, NE (down 39.1 percent) and Amarillo, TX(down 38.7 percent).

HELOC originations down 11 percent from year ago, with biggest drops in South Carolina
A total of 244,941 home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) were originated on residential properties in the first quarter of 2020, down 20 percent from the previous quarter and down 11 percent from a year earlier.

Residential HELOC mortgage originations decreased from a year ago in 72.5 percent of metropolitan statistical areas that have a population greater than 200,000 and were analyzed for this report. Some of those metro areas that saw decreases include Washington, DC (down 17.3 percent); Atlanta, GA (down 10.5 percent); Chicago, IL (down 6.2 percent); Phoenix, AZ (down 5.3 percent) and Seattle, WA (down 3.8 percent).

Counter to the national trend, residential HELOC mortgage originations increased from a year ago or stayed the same in 27.5 percent of metro areas analyzed for the report. The biggest increases were in Fort Wayne, IN (up 78 percent); Topeka, KS (up 47.1 percent); Youngstown, OH (up 44.1 percent); El Paso, TX (up 44 percent) and Rochester, MN (up 42.7 percent).

FHA loan share decreases slightly in first quarter
Mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) accounted for 238,747, or 12.4 percent, of all residential property loans originated in the first quarter of 2020. That was down 4 percent from the previous quarter as well as year over year. 

Residential loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accounted for 9.7 percent of all residential property loans originated in the first quarter of 2020, representing an all-time high, since we began tracking in the first quarter of 2000. That figure was up from 9.2 percent in the previous quarter and from 6.8 percent a year ago.

Report methodology
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.

About ATTOM Data Solutions
ATTOM Data Solutions provides premium property data to power products that improve transparency, innovation, efficiency and disruption in a data-driven economy. ATTOM multi-sources property tax, deed, mortgage, foreclosure, environmental risk, natural hazard, and neighborhood data for more than 155 million U.S. residential and commercial properties covering 99 percent of the nation’s population. A rigorous data management process involving more than 20 steps validates, standardizes and enhances the data collected by ATTOM, assigning each property record with a persistent, unique ID — the ATTOM ID. The 9TB ATTOM Data Warehouse fuels innovation in many industries including mortgage, real estate, insurance, marketing, government and more through flexible data delivery solutions that include bulk file licenses, property data APIs, real estate market trends, marketing lists, match & append and introducing the first property data delivery solution, a cloud-based data platform that streamlines data management – Data-as-a-Service (DaaS).

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