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Refinances Surged 20% in Q4 2019

New data from ATTOM Data Solution reports that 1.27 million refinances were secured during Q4 2019—a 20% increase from the prior quarter and a 104% annual increase. 

The number of refinances secured during Q4 2019 is at its highest point since Q3 2013. 

ATTOM states refinances secured during Q4 2019 represented an estimated $391.3 billion in total dollar volume, which is up 19% from the prior quarter and 138% from Q4 2018. 

The total number of loan originations rose 40% annually during Q4 2019 to 2.27 million, which is the highest point since Q3 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.”

ATTOM also stated lenders originated 1.27 million refinance mortgages during Q4 2019, which is up 19.6% from Q3 2019 and up 104.2% from Q4 2018.

New York saw refinances originations rise 91.5% annually, Los Angeles saw refinances rise 158.8%, Chicago’s refinances were up 144.5%, Dallas rose 90%, and Houston increased by 32.9%. 

Beaumont, Texas, and McAllen, Texas, were the only metros that saw drops in refinances, falling 6.8% and 9.1%, respectively. 

In addition, Ellie Mae revealed refinances represented 48% of all loans closed in February, which is a slight increase from the prior month’s 46%. Purchase loans made up 52% of closed loans in February. 

The time to close all loans fell to 43 days in February—a drop from 48 days in January. The closing rate on all loans rose to 78.3%, which is up from 77.2% in January. Purchases had a closing rate of 80.7% and refinance closed at 76%.

“Interest rates continued to decline into February which we believe is causing us to see a small refinance rebound,” said Jonathan Corr, President, and CEO of Ellie Mae. “We will wait to see what the impacts of global factors, like stock market declines and the coronavirus, have on the housing market as we enter the spring. We continue to see our lenders consistently lowering their time to close and closing more loans as they leverage digital mortgage technology across more aspects of the loan origination workflow.”

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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