WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 22, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Economic and Mortgage Finance Forecasts released today project $1.1 trillion in residential mortgage origination volume in 2011, roughly $100 billion more than earlier forecasts, as low mortgage rates have brought in higher than expected refinance volume, while purchase volume has been less than anticipated. However, despite lower forecasted mortgage rates, weaker projected economic growth in 2012 led to a reduction in MBA’s origination forecast for that year to $931 billion, which would be the lowest volume originated since 1997.
Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s Senior Vice President of Research and Education and Chief Economist said, “We have lived through a series of unprecedented events over the past month: the debt ceiling crisis, S&P’s downgrade of US Treasury debt, the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in Europe, a commitment by the Fed to keep rates near zero for the next two years and stock market volatility that has reached levels not seen since the fall of 2008.”
“While there is substantial uncertainty about how these events will impact consumer and business behavior, we do not believe that the economy is facing the same types of risks as in 2008. Were the US economy to enter a recession, it would likely be the result of an external shock, and would be shallow and relatively brief. On the other hand, given that both fiscal and monetary policymakers’ options are limited at this point, it would be difficult for policy changes to soften any blow.”
Brinkmann continued, “As negative as much of this outlook appears to be, there are some indicators that have been more promising. None of these factors suggest any strong growth, but in total they do suggest a path out of this slowdown. Thus, we have revised our projections from previous estimates for GDP growth downward from 1.9 percent growth to 1.5 percent growth for 2011 and from 2.8 percent growth to 2.3 percent growth in 2012. Given the overall path of economic growth, we expect that the unemployment rate will stay above 9 percent for the remainder of 2011 and drop only slightly below 9 percent by the end of 2012.”
“Nothing in the housing market data suggests any significant change from our previous expectation of a frustratingly slow period with lackluster sales volumes. Purchase application volumes remain stuck at low levels, and even fell further in response to the volatility surrounding the events described above. Relative to last month, we have reduced our estimate for purchase originations in 2012 significantly, matching our more pessimistic outlook for the economy, the job market, home sales, and home prices. We still see purchase volume increasing in 2012 relative to 2011’s volume of $412 billion, but now see just a little more than $100 billion of increase on a year-over-year basis.”
“The silver lining in all the turmoil for our industry is that mortgage rates are once again at or approaching historic lows. Lower rates continue to boost refinance volumes above our earlier projections, even though refinance application volume remains quite constrained by tight credit standards, the weak job market, and the large number of underwater borrowers. Relative to our prior forecast, we have boosted our refinance forecast estimate for 2011 to $697 billion, up almost $100 billion, and increased our refinance estimate for 2012 by more than $150 billion, to $400 billion.”
“For the market as a whole, we are now projecting total mortgage originations to be $1.1 trillion in 2011, up about $100 billion from our earlier projection, and $931 billion in 2012, down about $30 billion from our prior estimate,” Brinkmann concluded.
MBA’s forecasts can be found here.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is the national association representing the real estate finance industry, an industry that employs more than 280,000 people in virtually every community in the country. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the association works to ensure the continued strength of the nation’s residential and commercial real estate markets; to expand homeownership and extend access to affordable housing to all Americans. MBA promotes fair and ethical lending practices and fosters professional excellence among real estate finance employees through a wide range of educational programs and a variety of publications. Its membership of over 2,200 companies includes all elements of real estate finance: mortgage companies, mortgage brokers, commercial banks, thrifts, Wall Street conduits, life insurance companies and others in the mortgage lending field. For additional information, visit MBA’s Web site: www.mortgagebankers.org.