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Refinance Activity Declines for Second Consecutive Month, According to the Latest Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker

Refinance Activity Declines for Second Consecutive Month, According to the Latest Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker

In December 2019, refinance share – the percent of all loans closed during the month that were refinances – among millennials dropped for the second straight month as interest rates rose yet again. According to the latest Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker, 27% of all loans closed by millennials in December were refinances, compared to 31% the month prior. The 4% decline represents the largest month-over-month drop in refinance share during 2019.

The decrease in refinance share in December happened as interest rates on 30-year notes increased to 3.95%, up slightly from November. Prior to November, interest rates had fallen 10 months in a row.

From November to December, refinance share decreased five percentage points for Conventional loans, which represented 71% of all loans closed during the month by millennials. Following the larger trend for all loan types, interest rates on Conventional loans increased from 3.97% to 3.99%.

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Despite a decrease in refinance share in December, it took a day longer to close refinances than in November. Comparatively, time-to-close held steady at 43 days for all loan types and 42 days for purchase loans.

Refinance activity faltered slightly in December, but refinance share is up 17% year-over-year.

Average interest rates peaked at 5.12% for all 30-year loans in December 2018 and have since dropped over a full percentage point to 3.95%.

Comparing data from December 2018 to December 2019, other notable trends include:

  • The average FICO score for all millennial borrowers went from 721 to 728
  • The share of Conventional loans increased 3% while FHA share dropped 3%
  • Average time to close for all loans remained flat at 43 days

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“The refinance boom potentially ending is a major topic of discussion in the industry at the moment, but the reality is that if we take a step back and look at the last year, overall the market is still favorable for homeowners looking to refinance and millennials considering purchasing their first home,” said Joe Tyrrell, chief operating officer at Ellie Mae. “Whether millennials are refinancing more or increasing their purchase activity, the reality is that this demographic plays a central role in shaping the market. Lenders can best set themselves up for success by understanding that, throughout the mortgage process, millennials want automation and human touch working in concert to create the best customer experience possible.”

Ellie Mae is the leading cloud-based loan origination platform provider for the mortgage industry.

The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker is an interactive online tool that provides access to up-to-date demographic data about this new generation of homebuyers. It mines data from a robust sampling of approximately 80 percent of all closed mortgages dating back to 2014 that were initiated on Ellie Mae’s Encompass® all-in-one mortgage management solution. Given the size of this sample and Ellie Mae’s market share, it is a strong proxy of Millennial mortgage indicators across the country. Searches can be tailored by borrower geography, age, gender, marital status, FICO score and amortization type.

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