Data Highlights Borrowers’ Experiences Obtaining a Mortgage During the Pandemic
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today published updated loan-level data for public use collected through the National Survey of Mortgage Originations (NSMO). The data also provide updated mortgage performance and credit information for a nationally representative sample of mortgage borrowers from 2013 to 2020.
Key highlights from the updated data are:
- The COVID-19 pandemic shaped the mortgage borrower experience in 2020. A higher share of borrowers reported that a paperless online mortgage process was important to them in 2020 (48 percent) than in 2019 (42 percent). More borrowers reported that the mortgage closing did not occur as originally scheduled in 2020 (21 percent) than in 2019 (17 percent).
- Mortgage borrowers, particularly those refinancing a loan, responded to the low interest rates in 2020. The share of borrowers who rated themselves very familiar with available interest rates increased from 55 percent in 2019 to 69 percent in 2020. The share who reported being very satisfied that they got the lowest interest rate for which they could qualify increased from 67 percent in 2019 to 75 percent in 2020.
- Borrowers who refinanced in 2020 were more well off financially than those who refinanced in 2019:
- A higher share reported their household income was $175,000 or higher in 2020 (29 percent) than in 2019 (20 percent).
- Similarly, a higher share indicated that they owned stocks, bonds, or mutual funds in 2020 (53 percent) than in 2019 (43 percent).
- Relatedly, 76 percent of borrowers who refinanced were not at all concerned about qualifying for a mortgage in 2020, up from 66 percent in 2019.
“The data released today provide a clear view of borrower sentiment about the mortgage process during the COVID pandemic in 2020,” said Saty Patrabansh, FHFA Associate Director for the Office of Data and Statistics. “This data should be helpful to analysts and policymakers in understanding the complete experience of mortgage borrowers and identifying what challenges may still exist in mortgage lending.”
“This year’s survey clearly shows both the impact of the pandemic and low interest rates on the mortgage market in 2020,” said Mark McArdle, CFPB Assistant Director for Mortgage Markets. “As with past years, this data can help us better understand underlying trends, identify potential issues as well as possible opportunities for industry to better serve consumers.”
The NSMO is a component of the National Mortgage Database (NMDB®), the first comprehensive repository of detailed mortgage loan information designed to support policymaking and research efforts and to help regulators better understand emerging mortgage and housing market trends.
The NMDB is designed to fulfill the requirements of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). HERA mandated that FHFA conduct a monthly mortgage survey of all residential mortgages, including those not eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Dodd-Frank Act mandated that CFPB monitor the primary mortgage market, in part through the use of the survey data.
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