As mortgage rates continue to decline, Chad Earnest’s mantra with his referral partners in 2023 is “no buyer left behind.”
The Montgomery, Texas-based area manager, who moved from AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation to Cardinal Financial Company in November, launched in mid-2022 a platform to help their referral partners succeed.
He makes co-marketing investments and helps partners with their databases by looking for any missed opportunity in the market. The primary focus is on borrowers who may be credit-challenged.
“Homebuyers have traditionally been the byproduct of our referral partners, such as real estate agents and homebuilders,” Earnest said. “We are looking for agents that understand how important lead generation is and partnering up with them.”
According to Earnest, the traditional referral game is “tough right now, and we need to look under every rock for qualified homebuyers who are active in the marketplace.”
One buoy to Earnest’s team efforts: mortgage rates are declining, which is bringing borrowers on the sidelines back to the market.
Lower mortgage rates
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported on Tuesday that the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) decreased to 6.20% for the week ending January 20, down from 6.23% in the previous week.
Meanwhile, the MBA data shows that rates for jumbo loans (greater than $726,200) declined from 6.08% to 5.92% in the same period.
At Mortgage News Daily, conforming rates for 30-year fixed mortgages were at 6.21% on Wednesday morning, while jumbo loans were at 5.72%.
“Mortgage rates declined for the third straight week, which is good news for potential homebuyers looking ahead to the spring homebuying season,” Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist, said in a statement. “Mortgage rates on most loan types decreased last week and the 30-year fixed rate reached its lowest level since September 2022.”
More mortgage applications
Amid lower mortgage rates, applications for home loans increased 7% for the week ending January 20 compared to the previous week, according to the MBA.
Regarding the different products in the market, refinancing applications increased 15% from the previous week but were 77% behind last year’s pace. According to Kan, rates remain more than two percentage points higher than a year ago, which provides very little refinance incentive for most borrowers who are locked into lower rates.
Purchase applications increased 3% from one week earlier, but were 39% lower than the same week one year ago.
“Homebuying activity remains tepid, but if rates continue to fall and home prices cool further, we expect to see potential buyers come back into the market. Many have been waiting for affordability challenges to subside,” Kan said.