The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requires lenders to report on mortgage applications. Here is what the 2014 data on over 9 million applications reveals about mortgages:
How difficult was it to obtain financing last year? “While mortgage credit stayed generally tight, conditions appeared to ease somewhat over the course of the year as the fraction of mortgage lending to lower-credit borrowers increased,” according to the Fed. “However, growth in new housing construction was slow throughout the year, suggesting some persistent softness in new housing demand.”
What percentage of the nearly 10 million applications in 2014 actually became mortgages? About 6 million. The dollar volume of those loans totaled almost $1.4 trillion, which is lower than 2013’s volume, but somewhat higher than most industry pundits predicted…
Of the $2.5 trillion in applications made to lenders last year, about 59 percent came from whites, and just over 20 percent came from minorities (blacks, Latinos, Asians, American Indians, native Hawaiians or people of mixed race). More than 1 in 5 applications were in the “unknown” or “N/A” categories, because many people do not fill in the “race” blank. But with minorities now around 38 percent of the American population, it appears that they continue to be underserved…
Beyond those figures, HMDA also offers a wide-angle snapshot of the country’s appetites for home loans. Of the 10 million applications, 89 percent were for owner-occupied units, with just 10 percent non-owner-occupied. Applications to purchase homes were just slightly more popular (51 percent) than those to refinance loans (41 percent), with just seven percent seeking home-improvement lending.
This data can be very interesting in itself but it helps to be able to take a longitudinal view to know how 2014 compares to prior years. This sort of data is available in a Federal Reserve report:
As this table shows, the number of applications is still down dramatically. Also note the number of refinance loans in the late 2000s compared to today – much of the mortgage activity in the last decade has actually involved refinancing.
Here is a table regarding the applicants:
As noted above, the data on race/ethnicity suggests small declines among non-white groups and an increase for whites. Borrower income has not changed much though the neighborhood income has increased a bit compared to 2004.