Rate Lock Data Reflect Continued Sluggish Mortgage Origination Activity


April 2023 month-end pipeline data from Black Knight Inc.’s latest Originations Market Monitor report show mortgage rate locks down across the board, with purchase locks down 22%, cash-out refinance locks declining 21% and rate/term refinance locks down 28%.

Purchase locks accounted for more than 87% of locks in April, the highest share on record.

Even so, purchase lock counts were down 45% year over year and 38% below April 2019.

“After seeing purchase rate locks pull to within 15% of pre-pandemic levels in mid-January and again in mid-March on easing rates, we’ve seen that deficit eclipse 30% again in recent weeks,” says Andy Walden, vice president of enterprise research and strategy at Black Knight. “The cause is likely multifaceted. In addition to fewer business days in April than in March, another component may be potential homebuyers waiting on the sidelines for more favorable rates before locking. We saw a similar phenomenon on the rate dips in March.

“Inventory challenges are surely playing a role as well,” he says. “New listing volumes remain well below pre-pandemic levels, and active for-sale inventory fell for the sixth consecutive month on a seasonally adjusted basis. Lock volumes will be worth watching closely in coming weeks to see if this trend continues.”

The Originations Market Monitor provides high-level origination metrics for the U.S. and the top 20 metropolitan statistical areas by share of total origination volume, drawn from Black Knight Optimal Blue PPE data.

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