February MCTlive! Lock Volume Indices show that after an uptick in January, lock volume decreased across the board for the month. Purchase lock activity was down 13% compared to January, rate/term refinance volume was 42%, and cash-out refinance volume was down 25%. Lock activity in total was down 15% versus January.
The news may be disappointing, but as the Fed reaches its terminal fed funds rate for this cycle, we should see downward pressure on mortgage rates, which will only help increase origination activity. For added context, total lock activity is still down 54% from one year ago. That is mostly due to a drop off in refinance demand, as purchase lock activity sits 41% lower than at the same point last year. Rate and term refinance volume is down 86% from one year ago, and cash-out refinance volume is down 87% over that same period.
Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc. (MCT®), a provider of capital markets software and services supporting lenders with hedging and pipeline management solutions, released the MCTlive! Lock Volume Indices for February 2023. MCT Data represents a balanced cross section of several hundred lenders among retail, correspondent, wholesale, and consumer direct channels. A broad-based view of the entire market provides a more accurate picture of mortgage originations versus indices that are influenced by mega lenders. The February MCTlive! Lock Volume Indices is broken out by transaction type: purchase, rate/term refinance, and cash out refinance.
It is important to note that MCT’s rate lock activity indices are based on actual dollar volume of locked loans, not number of applications. Especially in a tight purchase market, MCT believes its methodology (using actual loans locked vs. applications) is a more reliable metric. There is a higher likelihood of having multiple applications per funded loan, and prequals do not convert at as high of a rate in the current market as has historically been the case – especially when applications are counted at the early stage of entering a property address.
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