FHFA: GSE Refinance Volume Down in First Quarter as Mortgage Rates Rise

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed 356,003 refinances in the first quarter, down by nearly 22 percent from the fourth quarter.

The agency’s quarterly Refinance Report (https://www.fhfa.gov/AboutUs/Reports/ReportDocuments/Refi_1Q2018.pdf) said by comparison, the government-sponsored enterprises completed 446,295 refinances in the fourth quarter. The report also noted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinanced 4,139 loans through the Home Affordable Refinance Program, bringing the total number of HARP refinances to 3.448 million since inception of the program in 2009.

Other report data:

–Thirty-four percent of HARP refinances for underwater borrowers were for shorter-term 15- and 20-year mortgages, which build equity faster than traditional 30-year mortgages.

–Nine states–Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Maryland and Georgia–and Puerto Rico accounted for more than 70 percent of borrowers who remain eligible for HARP and have a financial incentive to refinance as of December 31, 2017.

–Borrowers who refinanced through HARP had a lower delinquency rate compared with borrowers eligible for HARP who did not refinance through the program.

HARP is scheduled to expire on December 31; FHFA estimated 73,868 borrowers could still benefit financially from a HARP refinance.