September 2021 Mortgage Monitor

8.8 Million Rate/Term Refinances Over Last 18 Months Have Delivered $14 Billion in Monthly Savings to Homeowners; Refi Incentive Reduced but Still Historically Strong

  • Recent rate increases have eliminated refinance incentive for 3.4 million mortgage-holders, but the population of 11.5 million remaining high-quality candidates is still larger than at any time prior to 2020
  • In the 18 months since the start of the pandemic, homeowners have reduced their mortgage payments by more than $1.3 billion per month through rate/term refinances, realizing $14 billion in savings to date
  • By the end of 2022, those borrowers will have realized nearly $35 billion in aggregate savings, with the potential for nearly $16 billion per year in continuing, ongoing economic stimulus
  • Another 5.5 million homeowners took advantage of low rates and record home price growth to tap available equity via cash-outs, which – as rates rise – now make up the majority of refinance activity
  • While homeowners with sub-3% first-lien rates hold just over a quarter of the $9.1 trillion in currently available tappable equity, more than half of that total is held by those with rates of 3.5% or higher
  • Likewise, 71% of tappable equity is held by borrowers with credit scores of 760 or higher, creating opportunities for lower-risk cash-out lending products
  • Almost all recent cash-outs have also resulted in rate reductions, but when 30-year rates hovered near 5% in late 2018, more than 70% of cash-out borrowers accepted rate increases to access their equity 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nov. 1, 2021 – Today, the Data & Analytics division of Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE:BKI) its latest Mortgage Monitor Report, based upon the company’s industry-leading mortgage, real estate and public records datasets. Though the pandemic and the Federal Reserve’s resulting accommodative stance on bond buying coincided with a historic refinance boom, indications that the Fed will begin to taper those measures have led to interest rates rising in recent weeks. This month’s report looks at how this is changing the dynamics of the refinance lending market. According to Black Knight Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske, refinance activity during the pandemic resulted in essentially tens of billions of dollars in economic stimulus.

“The record low interest rate environment driven by the nation’s COVID-19 response resulted in nearly 9 million homeowners initiating rate/term refinances over the first 18 months of the pandemic,” said Graboske. “Together, these borrowers reduced their aggregate mortgage payments by more than $1.3 billion per month, for some $14 billion in realized monthly savings to date. In fact – assuming they all stay in their homes for the duration of 2022 – this group is on track to save nearly $35 billion in total by the end of next year. By nearly any measure, that is an extraordinary level of potential stimulus to the economy as a direct result of refinance lending.

“Keep in mind, that’s on top of the $322 billion homeowners tapped via 5.5 million cash-out refinances during the same period. More than half of the nation’s $9.1 trillion in tappable equity is still held by homeowners with first-lien rates above 3.5%, meaning the potential exists for continued growth in that segment – which has been driving the majority of refinance activity for months now. Plus, more than 70% of tappable equity is held by borrowers with credit scores of 760 or higher, which creates opportunities for lower-risk cash-out lending products, even as rates rise. Though almost all recent cash-outs have resulted in rate reductions, in late 2018 – when 30-year rates were close to 5% – more than 70% of cash-out borrowers accepted rate increases to access the equity in their homes. It would not be surprising to see similar behavior among ‘equity-centric’ borrowers as we move forward into 2022.”

As mentioned, interest rates have risen in recent weeks as the market has responded to the Fed’s indication that it will soon begin to taper its bond purchases. In fact, according to Black Knight’s OBMMI daily rate tracking index, the average 30-year conforming rate is up nearly 20 basis points since the Fed meeting in late September, with 10-year Treasury yields up 33 basis points over the same period. The report also finds that while rising rates have cut the number of high-quality refinance candidates by 3.4 million (-23%), there is still more incentive in the market than at any time prior to 2020. Before that point, the refinance candidate population had never reached above 10 million. In contrast, as of October 21, there were still 11.5 million 30-year mortgage-holders with strong credit who could both likely qualify for a refinance and cut their first-lien rates by at least 0.75% by doing so. Much more detail can be found in Black Knight’s September 2021 Mortgage Monitor Report.

About Mortgage Monitor

The Data & Analytics division of Black Knight manages the nation’s leading repository of loan-level residential mortgage data and performance information covering the majority of the overall market, including tens of millions of loans across the spectrum of credit products and more than 160 million historical records. The combined insight of the Black Knight HPI and Collateral Analytics’ home price and real estate data provides one of the most complete, accurate and timely measures of home prices available, covering 95% of U.S. residential properties down to the ZIP-code level. In addition, the company maintains one of the most robust public property records databases available, covering 99.9% of the U.S. population and households from more than 3,100 counties.

Black Knight’s research experts carefully analyze this data to produce a summary supplemented by dozens of charts and graphs that reflect trend and point-in-time observations for the monthly Mortgage Monitor Report. To review the full report, visit:

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

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