Optimal Blue: April Originations Market Monitor Shows Rise in Lock Counts

(Image courtesy of Optimal Blue; Breakout image courtesy of ArtHouse Studio/pexels.com)

Optimal Blue, Plano, Texas, released its April Originations Market Monitor report, which showed the first year-over-year increase in purchase mortgage lock counts since March 2022.

Optimal Blue noted that’s when the Federal Reserve started to initiate rent hikes.

Last month, purchase lock counts were up 5% from April 2023.

“Purchase lock counts are a key market indicator as they control for changes in home prices and more volatile refi activity, so the year-over-year increase in April is a particularly encouraging sign that mortgage production may be turning a corner,” said Brennan O’Connell, Director of Data Solutions at Optimal Blue. “While we are cautiously optimistic, May figures will provide further confidence in the positive trend, as April 2024 numbers got a boost from the Easter holiday landing in March this year.”

Monthly lock volume grew by 8.7% in April, including an 11% month-over-month increase in purchase lock volume.

However, refinance activity fell to 12% of total volume; rate/term refinance volume fell by 13.7% and cash-out volume was fairly flat.

Interest in nonconforming loan products–including jumbo and non-QM loans–increased their market share to 13.7% (up 1.85%).

Conforming loans were at 56.8% of the market, FHA at 18.4%, VA at 10.6% and USDA at 0.5%–a drop for all those types.

The average loan amount increased $7,200 to $374,500. The average home price was at $477,900, up about $14,000.