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Black Knight’s April 2022 Originations Market Monitor

With Mortgage Interest Rates at Highest Point Since Great Recession, Rate Lock Activity Fell Across the Board in April

Black Knight’s April 2022 Originations Market Monitor
  • Black Knight’s Optimal Blue Mortgage Market Indices tracked the steep ascent of conforming 30-year rates, which finished the month at 5.42%, eclipsing recent peaks to hover at their highest point in nearly 13 years
  • Rate-lock production reflected the current rate environment with overall volumes dropping 20% from March, led by yet another sharp drop (-50%) in rate/term refinance activity
  • Cash-out refinance locks fell 40% from last month as homeowners likely look for other avenues (HELOCs, 2nd liens, etc.) to access tappable equity without sacrificing historically low first-lien mortgage rates
  • The combined decline in refinance locks pushed the refi share of the market down to just 20% in April, the lowest point on record since at least January 2018, when Optimal Blue began tracking the metric
  • While purchase locks fell 11% from March, they remained flat on a year-over-year basis, indicating consistent and resilient demand from homebuyers
  • Government-backed lending picked up in April as FHA and VA locks captured market share from conforming products

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – May 9, 2022 – Today, Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE:BKI) announced the release of its latest Originations Market Monitor report, looking at mortgage origination data through April month-end. Leveraging daily rate lock data from Black Knight’s Optimal Blue PPE – mortgage lending’s most widely used pricing engine – the Originations Market Monitor provides the industry’s earliest and most comprehensive view of origination activity.

“Mortgage interest rates continued their steep ascent in April, with our OBMMI daily interest rate tracker showing 30-year conforming offerings finishing the month at 5.42%,” said Scott Happ, president, Optimal Blue, a division of Black Knight. “To put that in perspective, in the last few weeks, we’ve blown through the recent peak seen in 2018 and are now hovering at or near the highest interest rates we’ve seen since the Great Recession.”

The month’s pipeline data showed overall rate locks down 20.3% month-over-month, driven by a steep 50% drop in rate/term refinance lending activity. Cash-out refinance locks also fell, coming in 40% below March levels. The combined decline in refinance locks pushed the refi share of the market down to just 20%, the lowest point on record since at least January 2018, when Optimal Blue began tracking the metric. Government loan products gained market share as FHA and VA lock activity increased at the expense of agency volumes. Pull-through rates – the share of locks that result in funded loans – continued to fall on both purchase and refinance locks, with refi pull-through falling to just 62.7%.

“Seen in the light of such quick and sharp rises in 30-year rates, April’s declines in rate lock activity – though bracing – are hardly surprising,” Happ continued. “That’s particularly true of refinance locks when half of all mortgage holders have current first lien rates below 3.5%. That being said, while purchase locks were down somewhat from March, they remained flat from last April, reflecting consistent and resilient demand from homebuyers.”

Each month’s Originations Market Monitor provides high-level origination metrics for the U.S. and the top 20 metropolitan statistical areas by share of total origination volume. Much more detail on April’s origination activity can be found in the full Black Knight Originations Market Monitor report, located here.

About Black Knight

Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE:BKI) is an award-winning software, data and analytics company that drives innovation in the mortgage lending and servicing and real estate industries, as well as the capital and secondary markets. Businesses leverage our robust, integrated solutions across the entire homeownership life cycle to help retain existing customers, gain new customers, mitigate risk and operate more effectively.

Our clients rely on our proven, comprehensive, scalable products and our unwavering commitment to delivering superior client support to achieve their strategic goals and better serving their customers. For more information on Black Knight, please visit www.blackknightinc.com.

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