Refis to make up nearly half of 2H19 mortgage volume: Freddie Mac

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Freddie Mac now forecasts that refinance volume will make up nearly half of third and fourth quarter production, and has increased its origination estimate for the year to over $2 trillion.

"Despite fears of an economic slowdown, the U.S. labor market stands firm," Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said in a press release. "Specifically, jobless claims are near historic lows. This strong labor market, along with mortgage rates at three-year lows and consumer confidence holding strong, will set the stage for continued improvement in the housing market heading into the fall."

Freddie Mac now forecasts refinance originations of $874 billion, up from $607 billion one month prior. Meanwhile it projects purchase volume of $1.17 trillion, down from $1.19 trillion in July.

In comparison, Fannie Mae's August mortgage origination forecast called for $1.84 trillion in volume this year, while the Mortgage Bankers Association is projecting $1.89 trillion.

In the third quarter, refinancings are expected to make up almost 49% of the $617 billion in originations for the quarter; in the fourth quarter, refis will have a 45% share of the $528 billion projected volume. For the year, refis should make up 43% of total volume. In its August 2018 outlook for this year, Freddie Mac projected a 24% refinance share.

Mortgage rates should average 3.6% through the second quarter of next year, before rising to 3.8% by the fourth quarter of 2020, Freddie Mac said. It now projects 2020 originations of $1.82 trillion, with purchases making up $1.22 trillion of that.

As a result of increased housing demand along with an expected increase in inventory, home sales should total 5.94 million in 2019 and grow in 2020 to 6.04 million, the forecast said.

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Refinance Purchase Mortgage rates forecast Housing inventory Housing market Economy Freddie Mac