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Missed Opportunity

tariffOnly 1.86 million mortgage holders had an interest rate incentive to refinance indicating a 56 percent decrease from the start of the year according to Black Knight's Mortgage Monitor report that was released on Monday.

According to the report an estimated 6.5 million homeowners had missed their opportunity to refinance their mortgages due to rising rates, for an aggregate of $1.5 billion in missed savings per month.

"On average, these homeowners had a 22-month window to refinance. All told, that amounts to an aggregate of $1.5 billion in lost savings every month for these borrowers," said Ben Graboske, EVP of Black Knight's Data and Analytics Division. "This year alone, 2.2 million borrowers had the opportunity to see a 0.75 percent reduction on their first mortgage rates but did not take advantage of the reduced rates before increases to the 30-year fixed rate removed their incentive."

Homebuyers too were facing an affordability challenge with the median income to make the monthly payment on the average-priced home rising to 23.6 percent compared to the long-term benchmark of 25.1 percent. "The monthly principal and interest payment needed to purchase the average-priced home has seen a $190 per month increase since the beginning of 2018, an 18 percent jump," Graboske said. Additionally, at the start of 2018, only two states, California and Hawaii, were less affordable than their long-term norms. But by October, the number had risen to 10 states passing that benchmark and another six were within 1 percent of long-term affordability levels.

The report also indicated that the national inventory of loans in active foreclosure fell to pre-recession levels for the first time since the financial crisis in September.

When today's foreclosure rates were taken into account along with "the fact that there are 16 percent more active mortgages today than the 2000-2005 average, relatively speaking foreclosure inventory is actually 40,800 below pre-recession norms." As a result, if the current rate of foreclosure reduction continued, active foreclosure inventory would hit a record low in September 2019 with fewer than 200,000 cases nationwide.

Read the detailed Black Knight Mortgage Monitor report here.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and editor. A former Online Editor and currently a reporter for MReport, she is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.

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