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USA Real Estate Blog

Millennials use January’s low mortgage rates to refinance: Ellie Mae

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Millennial homebuyers took advantage of a winter lull in interest rates, using the opportunity to refinance their loans, according to Ellie Mae’s Millennial Tracker.

Refinance mortgages occupied 13% of all millennial originations in January, a decrease from 18% year-over-year and a jump of 3 percentage points from December. It also marks the highest share since February 2018.

Purchase loans accounted for 85% of all millennials’ closed loans, a 4 percentage point increase from the year prior and an edge down from December’s 88%. Millennial homebuyers were undeterred by the tight inventory in the final month of 2018 and it reflected on the share of purchase mortgages.

“With average interest rates slightly falling in January, millennials took advantage of refinance opportunities,” Joe Tyrell, executive vice president of corporate strategy for Ellie Mae, said in a press release. “While we continue to see millennials enter the housing market and exercise their purchase power, the uptick in refinances may indicate maturity among this generation who previously purchased a home and are looking for an opportunity to take advantage of lower monthly interest payments.”

Conventional mortgages took up 69% of millennials’ closed loans for January — an annual growth of 2 percentage points. Federal Housing Administration loans fell 1 percentage point year-over-year, accounting for 27%. Veterans Affairs loans stayed static at 2% of closed mortgages and unspecified loan types went down to 2%.

The average FICO score of millennial borrowers was 722 in January, a slight drop from 723 a year earlier, but a bump from December’s 721.

The average loan amount in January was $196,140, up year-over-year from $189,849 and month-over-month from $193,624. The gender discrepancy tilted 60% male to 31% female with 9% unspecified. Overall, 52% of the primary borrowers were listed as married compared to 48% being single.

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