Industry News

Bye-bye real estate refi

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Rising interest rates will reduce mortgage originations in 2004, primarily through a drop in refinancings, according to Freddie Mac's May 2004 Economic Outlook. The share of refis is expected to come in at about 40 percent of all mortgage originations this year, compared with shares well above 50 percent the last three years. "For now, it looks like 'Bye Bye Refi,'" according to the report. Mortgage originations overall should total about $2.4 trillion in 2004, about 46 percent below 2003's record volume and 13 percent below 2002 volume. Purchase money origination volumes, however, should set a new record. Freddie Mac expects interest rates, which have climbed from 5.8 percent to 6.1 percent in the last month, to continue to remain volatile for some time. But they are expected to gradually rise to an average of 6.3 percent for conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgages by the fourth quarter. Higher mortgage rates could eventually slow housing demand, but not while rates remain be...