Fannie Mae, the world’s largest mortgage financier, said mortgage lending this year probably will reach an all-time high of $3.9 trillion.
The dollar-volume record will be boosted by $2.4 trillion in refinancings, the highest level since 2003 and more than double the level seen in 2019, the mortgage giant said in a forecast on Tuesday.
“We continue to believe that a low-rate environment will support refinance demand over the forecast horizon,” Fannie Mae said in the forecast. “At the current interest rate of 2.86%, we estimate that nearly 69% of outstanding first-lien loan balances have at least a half-percentage point incentive to refinance.”
The low rates likely will boost the sales of new houses to 777,000 this year, a gain of 14% from 2019, the forecast said.
Sales of existing homes probably will total 5.3 million, down 0.4%, Fannie Mae said. That’s an improvement from the drop of 4.5% the mortgage company forecast last month.
The annual average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage will be 3.1% in 2020 and 2.7% in 2021, the forecast said, matching Fannie Mae’s prior monthly projection. Both would be the lowest annual averages on record.
The housing market has boomed because of the low interest rates created by a Federal Reserve program to buy mortgage bonds. Seasonally adjusted existing-home sales surged 25% in July, the biggest monthly gain ever recorded, beating the prior record gain of 21% set in June, the National Association of Realtors said in an Aug. 21 report.
“Housing data over the past month continued to show a strong ‘V-shape’ rebound, helping drive the broader economy,” the Fannie Mae forecast said.