Rate of refinance activity slows in September

Washington, DC –Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinanced more than 3.5 million mortgage loans in 2009 through September of this year. In the month of September, 262,000 mortgages were refinanced—a drop from the volume of the preceding month— with mortgage rates still higher than levels observed in the spring. The numbers were announced today by Edward J. DeMarco, Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, in its monthly report on Enterprises’ refinance volumes and the Administration’s Making Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

The report covers January 1, 2009 through September 30, 2009. It shows that refinance volume decreased from August to September as the average interest rate on a 30-year mortgage in July and August – 5.22 and 5.19 percent respectively as reported by Freddie Mac – were at a level higher than the rates observed earlier in 2009. Refinancing volumes are strongly influenced by mortgage rates with the effect most visible on a one- to two- month lag.

Mortgage rates have declined since August. In July, FHFA announced the expansion of HARP to allow borrowers with LTVs up to 125 percent to participate. Fannie Mae began accepting deliveries of refinanced whole loans with LTVs over 105 percent up to 125 percent on September 1 and began accepting mortgagebacked securities (MBS) for loans with LTVs over 105 percent up to 125 percent on October 1. Beginning October 1, lenders began delivering HARP loans with LTVs greater than 105 and less than or equal to 125 percent to Freddie Mac.