Mortgage Originations Dropped 6.8 Percent in Q1 to Lowest Level Since 2000

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Roughly 1.28 million mortgages secured by residential property (1 to 4 units) were issued during the first quarter, a 6.8% decrease compared with the fourth quarter and down 4.8% compared with a year earlier, according to ATTOM’s U.S. Residential Property Mortgage Origination Report.

As of the end of the first quarter, mortgage origination volume had fallen in 11 of the previous 12 quarters, to the lowest level since 2000.

Total lending activity is off almost 70% in three years, ATTOM says, with purchase, refinance and home-equity lending all seeing decreases.

Purchase-loan activity in the first quarter dropped 9.9% compared with the second quarter while refinances fell 1.9%.

Home-equity credit lines slipped 9% quarter-over-quarter.

Measured monetarily, lenders issued $405.6 billion worth of residential mortgages in the first quarter – down 4.8% compared with the fourth quarter and down 4.5% compared with the first quarter of last year.

“There is reason to hope that we will see something of a turnaround when second-quarter data comes in, given the jump in lending activity that happened during the peak home-buying season of 2023,” says Rob Barber, CEO at ATTOM, in a statement. “But with little sign that interest rates are coming down, which could fire up refinance and HELOC lending, or that supplies of homes for sale are going up, any increase is likely to be limited.”

Photo: Majestic Lukas

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