ATTOM’s fourth-quarter 2022 U.S. Residential Property Mortgage Origination Report shows that 1.52 million mortgages secured by residential property (1 to 4 units) were originated in the last three months of 2022, which was down 24 percent from the third quarter of 2022 and marked the seventh quarterly decrease in a row.
This level of originations was down 55 percent from Q4 2021.
The ongoing decline in residential lending resulted from some of the largest downturns in both refinance and purchase loan activity this century along with the first drop in home-equity lending in a year. The contraction continued as the 11-year U.S. housing market boom stalled in the second half of last year amid rising mortgage rates, consumer price inflation and other signs of economic uncertainty.
During a period when average mortgage interest rates doubled to near 7 percent for 30-year fixed loans, lenders issued just $476 billion worth of mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2022. That was down quarterly by 27 percent and annually by 57 percent.
Within the overall activity, there were 708,739 loans granted to home purchasers in the fourth quarter of 2022, down 26 percent from the third quarter of 2022 and down 45 percent from the fourth quarter of 2021. The dollar volume of purchase mortgages dropped 28 percent quarterly and 44 percent annually, to $257 billion.
On the refinance side, only 496,221 mortgages were rolled over into new ones. That was down 27 percent quarterly, and down 73 percent annually. The dollar volume of refinance loans was down 27 percent from the prior quarter and 73 percent annually, to $158 billion
Even home-equity lending dropped, by 16 percent in the last few months of 2022, to a total of 313,973. The decline followed growth in five of the previous six quarters.
“The lending industry experienced a triple-dose of hits in the fourth quarter of last year as mortgage rates kept rising to levels not seen in more than 15 years and the U.S. housing market continued to stall after a decade of prosperity,” says Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM. “Rates have settled back down a bit so far this year, going back and forth in small amounts. That could lure some potential home buyers back into the market, especially if prices keep dropping. It also could spur some renewed refinance and HELOC action.”
In another sign of how much lending patterns have changed over the past two years, refinance activity represented just one-third of overall mortgages at the end of 2022, compared to two-thirds as recently as the first quarter of 2021.
Purchase loans, meanwhile, comprised almost half of all loans, versus about 30 percent early in 2021.
Home-equity lines of credit, despite a decline, still made up one of every five mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2022, up from one of every 22 in the first few months of 2021.
Banks and other lenders issued a total of 1,518,933 residential mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2022 – the lowest number since the first quarter of 2014. The latest figure was down 24.5 percent from 2,010,609 in the third quarter of 2022 and down 55.2 percent from 3,390,801 in the fourth quarter of 2021. The total number fell for the seventh straight quarter, extending the longest run of declines this century, while the annual decline marked the largest since at least 2001. The $475.5 billion dollar volume of loans in the fourth quarter was down 26.8 percent from $649.2 billion in the prior quarter and was 56.7 percent less than the $1.1 trillion lent in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Overall lending activity decreased from the third quarter of 2022 to the fourth quarter of 2022 in all 191 of the metropolitan statistical areas around the U.S. with a population of 200,000 or more and at least 1,000 total residential mortgages issued in the fourth quarter of 2022. It was down annually in all but one of those metro areas. Total lending activity dropped at least 25 percent quarterly in 83 of the metros with enough data to analyze (43 percent).
Lenders issued 496,221 residential refinance mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2022 – the smallest count since at least the first quarter of 2000.
The latest number was down 26.7 percent from 676,662 in third quarter of 2022 and down 73.4 percent from 1,865,118 in the fourth quarter of 2021 – the largest annual fall this century. It also was off 81.9 percent from a recent high of 2,744,363 in the first quarter of 2021. As with total lending, the number of refinance deals dipped for the seventh straight quarter, extending the longest run of declines this century.
The $157.9 billion dollar volume of refinance packages in the fourth quarter of 2022 was down 27.2 percent from $217 billion in the prior quarter and down 73.5 percent from $595.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Refinancing activity decreased from the third quarter of 2022 to the fourth quarter of 2022 in 186, or 97 percent, of the 191 metropolitan statistical areas around the country with enough data to analyze. It was down annually in all 191 of those metros. Refinance lending dropped quarterly by at least 25 percent in 106 metro areas (55 percent).
Lenders originated 708,739 purchase mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2022. That was down 26.1 percent from 959,244 in the third quarter of 2022, and down 45 percent from 1,287,519 in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The $257.5 billion dollar volume of purchase loans in the fourth quarter of 2022 was down 28.4 percent from $359.9 billion in the prior quarter and 43.7 percent from $457 billion a year earlier.
Residential purchase-mortgage originations decreased from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2022 in 188 of the 191 metro areas in the report (98 percent) and dipped in the same number annually.
A total of 313,973 home-equity lines of credit (HELOCs) were originated on residential properties in the fourth quarter of 2022. That was down 16.2 percent from 374,703 in the prior quarter. However, the latest number was still up 31.8 percent from 238,164 in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The $60.1 billion fourth-quarter 2022 volume of HELOC loans was down 17 percent from $72.3 billion in the third quarter of 2022 but still up 27.4 percent from $47.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Despite the fourth-quarter decline, HELOCs still comprised 20.7 percent of all fourth-quarter 2022 loans – nearly five times the 4.6 percent level from the first quarter of 2021.
“The severe contraction across the lending industry in the fourth quarter even hit HELOCs, which was the one major sector that had been holding up well earlier in the year as homeowners were using elevated equity from the real estate boom to finance home improvements and other things,” Barber says. “The direction of interest rates this year will dictate whether HELOC activity stays high as a portion of overall activity or households return to cash-out refinancing deals to help pay for big-ticket expenses.”
HELOC mortgage originations decreased from the third quarter of 2022 to the fourth quarter of 2022 in 83 percent of the metro areas analyzed.
Mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) rose as a portion of all lending for the fifth straight quarter. They accounted for 181,324, or 11.9 percent, of all residential property loans originated in the fourth quarter of 2022. That was up from 11.3 percent in the third quarter of 2022 and 9.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Residential loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) totaled 80,061, or 5.3 percent, of all residential property loans originated in the fourth quarter of 2022. That was up from 5.2 percent in the previous quarter, although still down from 6 percent a year earlier.