More Than a Quarter of Mortgages Declined

June 28, 2011 No Comments »

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A staggering 26.8 percent of all mortgage applications decisioned by the top 10 mortgage lenders in 2010 were denied, according to an analysis performed by the WSJ.

The paper said the denial rate was up from 23.5 percent in 2009, despite promises from banks to increase mortgage lending after receiving bailout funds from taxpayers.

With regard to purchase-money mortgages, the denial rate was 19.9 percent, up from 18.2 percent a year earlier.

For refinance applications, the denial rate was 27.2 percent, up from 24.4 percent.

Most looking to purchase who were denied were probably seeing more stringent underwriting guidelines related to income, asset, and employment documentation.

(What mortgage lenders look for?)

While those looking to take advantage of the low mortgage rates on offer probably had home equity issues. And by home equity issues, I mean negative equity.

But denial rates were actually higher back during the height of the housing boom.

Nearly a Third of Mortgage Apps Denied in 2007

In 2007, the rejection ratio reached 32.5 percent, which the WSJ attributes to mortgage brokers and loan officers testing the limits to see what mortgage lenders would and would not approve.

Inflated home prices were also likely to blame, forcing borrowers to go with stated income loans with absurdly high numbers that even the most lax underwriter would scoff at.

In Miami, nearly 44 percent of home loan applications were rejected last year, which explains why nearly two-thirds of home sales were financed with cash in April.

Nationwide, rejection rates were highest in the South and along the Rust Belt, which begins in central New York and runs west through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois.

The analysis revealed that the top 10 mortgage lenders accounted for more than 70 percent of total loan origination volume last year.

Read more: What mortgage rate can I expect?

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