According to Fannie Mae's Q1 2019 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, mortgage lenders net profit margin outlook has improved significantly in the past three months, despite still being negative. Fannie Mae cites stronger demand expectations for both purchase and refinance mortgages for the increases.
"Lenders appear less pessimistic regarding mortgage demand expectations; thus their profit margin outlook over the next three months is also slightly improved," said Doug Duncan, SVP and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. "While the results seem to portray the gloomiest picture of purchase mortgage demand during the prior three months in the survey's five-year history, the net share of lenders expecting rising demand over the next three months exceeded the level recorded in the same quarter last year. Lenders' view of the refinance market was somewhat rosier, as both recent and expected demand improved to the best showing in two years, helping to support lenders' improved profit margin outlook."
According to the survey, the net share of lenders reporting purchase loan demand growth across all loan types reached a survey low, but demand growth expectations for the next three months has improved. Meanwhile, the refinance mortgage demand saw a significant increase. The net share of lenders to report demand growth over the prior three months hit its highest number in two years. Lenders have also reported easing credit standards across all loan types
"While more lenders anticipate declining rather than rising profit margins, continuing the trend that started in the fourth quarter of 2016, the net share expecting falling profit margins decreased from a survey high in the prior quarter to the lowest share in nearly two years," continued Duncan. "Lenders' improved demand outlook going into the spring selling season bodes well for our forecast of relatively flat mortgage volume this year following the double-digit drop in 2018."
Find out more about Fannie Mae's Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey here.