Survey results showed home loan borrowers had increasing optimism before pandemic

Slightly more Americans were not concerned about qualifying for a mortgage during the application process in 2019 (compared to the year before) before the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to updated mortgage loan-level data published Thursday by two federal agencies.

In a joint release, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said the data is aimed at providing insights into borrowers’ experiences in obtaining resident home loans. The data is collected, the agencies said, through quarterly surveys sent to borrowers who had recently obtained mortgages.

This latest data was collected before the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis became apparent in 2020, when economic conditions changed abruptly, and the process for applying for mortgages largely shifted to online. Thursday’s release adds two additional years of new mortgage data through 2019, the agencies aid.

Regarding the data point about concern among borrowers qualifying for a mortgage loan, those borrowers not concerned about qualifying during the application process increased somewhat from 2018 to 2019 (from 48% to 51% for home purchase mortgages and 57% to 66% for refinances).

Other points revealed by the data, the agencies said, included:

  • The percent of survey respondents who reported a paperless online mortgage process being important in choosing the mortgage lender/broker remained relatively high and unchanged from 2018 to 2019 (40% for home purchase mortgages and 44% for refinances).
  • The percent of survey respondents who reported applying for a mortgage through a mortgage broker increased from 2018 to 2019 (from 42% to 46% for home purchase mortgages and from 30% to 38% for refinances).
  • The percent of survey respondents who applied directly through a bank or credit union decreased from 2018 to 2019 (from 54% to 49% for home purchase mortgages and 67% to 61% for refinances).

CFPB and FHFA Release Updated Data from the National Survey of Mortgage Originations for Public Use