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Interest Rates Rise for the First Time in 2019

Interest rates rose for the first time this year, according to Ellie Mae’s November Origination Insight Report [1]. Rates rose slightly to 3.97% from October’s 3.94%. 

The number of adjustable-rate mortgages also saw its first increase in 2019, rising to 5.3% in November from 5% in October. Refinances fell below 50% after reaching 51% the prior month. 

“Interest rates rose for the first time in 2019, and as expected we are seeing the percentage of adjustable-rate mortgages rise and the percentage of refinances taper off,” said Jonathan Corr, President, CEO of Ellie Mae. “Simultaneously, closing rates have reached the highest point in 2019 at 78.6 percent. We will watch to determine the impacts of holiday seasonality on the homebuying market as we close out 2019.”

Times to close all loans rose to 45 days in November from the prior months’ 44 day. Refinances closed in 43 days, which is one day longer than in October, and purchases closed in 47 days—unchanged from October. 

Closing rates on all loans rose to their highest point in 2019 during November at 78.6%. Refinances had a closing rate of 77.1% while closing rates on purchases remained at 80.6%. 

Additionally, the Census Bureau’s New Residential Construction report [2] was a mixed bag, as housing permits and starts saw an increase, but completions fell from October. 

Single-family housing permits rose 0.8% from the month prior and were 918,000 in November. Single-family housing starts in November came in at 938,000, which is 2.4% above October’s 916,000. 

The completion of single-family homes fell 3.6% to a rate of 883,000 in November from October’s 916,000. 

Every region posted a month-over-month decline in housing completions. The West region posted the largest drop off from October at 16.1%, followed by the Northeast’s 11.6%. Completions in the Midwest fell 4.5% and the South dropped 0.9%.