Low interest rates and federal aid combined to create a surge in demand for home financing, as both refinances and purchases performed well in the second quarter.
The mortgage origination market has never had a more successful quarter. According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, lenders granted $928.0 billion in new mortgages nationwide between April and June, almost $200 billion more than the previous quarterly record set in the second quarter of 2006. Federal Reserve rate cuts were instrumental to this boom, as Americans rushed to take advantage of record-low interest rates. Of note, refinances accounted for an estimated 62.5% of second quarter mortgages, and credit unions historically have thrived in refi-heavy environments.
- Credit unions originated $130.0 billion in first mortgages year-to-date, the most in any six-month period on record.
- Fixed-rate mortgages comprised 78.4% of total mortgages originated this year, up 11.4 percentage points from 2019. Balloon/hybrid loans made up 15.5%, and adjustable-rate mortgages accounted for the remaining 6.2%.
- On the balance sheet, first mortgages outstanding increased 12.8% annually and surpassed $500 billion. Mortgages represented 43.6% of the loan portfolio for credit unions nationwide, the highest on record.
- Total mortgage sales to secondary markets increased 121.1% annually to $51.7 billion. This total makes up 39.8% of mortgages originated year-to-date.
The Bottom Line
Near-zero interest rates and federal aid together created a surge in demand for home financing, pushing mortgage growth to surpass all expectations in the second quarter. Purchases performed well, but refinances were the driving force as many people looked to save money on their existing homes. Naturally, refinances have helped keep delinquency rates low, but credit unions should still closely monitor repayment rates if unemployment remains high.