Mortgage rates climbed north of 3% over the first few months of 2021, but crested at 3.2% in March before descending again. Despite such a favorable rate climate, there remains a shortage of homes for sale, pointed out Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.
“The lack of housing supply has been compounded by labor disruptions and expensive building materials that are driving up the cost of new housing, making it difficult for homebuyers to find homes to purchase,” Khater said.
Because mortgage rates held for so long in the sub-3% category, Fannie Mae‘s economic and strategic research group revised its expectations for 2021 and 2022 origination volume, noting that originations could have been higher if the market weren’t struggling with supply.
“We downgraded our expectation for 2021 purchase volumes by $43 billion from last month’s forecast to $1.8 trillion,” the ESR group said, “We expect refinance origination volume to be $2.2 trillion in 2021, a $125 billion upward revision from last month’s forecast, as incoming data continue to come in strong and interest rates have pulled back in recent weeks.”
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At current mortgage rates, the group estimated around 51% of all outstanding mortgage have at least a 50-basis point incentive to refinance, up from 42% in the previous months forecast. While millions of borrowers may have the opportunity, Joel Kan, the Mortgage Bankers Associations associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said the refi wave is still likely under volatility if mortgage rates continue to oscillate around current levels.
When mortgage rates failed to pick up in the last month, savvy homebuyers jumped back on them. But even with rates slipping to previous lows, borrowers are still battling it out in the bidding trenches on overheated home prices. April economic data for home sales showed year over year numbers are still above those in 2020, but beginning to dip sequentially