Lock volumes were down 22% in April, with cash-out refinance locks declining 21% and rate/term refinance locks taking a 28% tumble, according to new data from Black Knight Inc. (NYSE:BKI).
Purchase locks accounted for more than 87% of locks in April, the highest share on record – yet purchase lock counts dropped by 45% from April 2022 and were and were 38% below pre-pandemic April 2019.
“Despite the fact that mortgage rates on average were lower in April, rate lock volumes took a hit,” said Andy Walden, vice president of enterprise research and strategy at Black Knight. “From March to April, volumes were down 22%, even though the average rate in April was 17 basis points lower than that of March. While half the decline can be explained by the fact that there were three fewer business days in April than in March, we clearly saw additional cooling in rate lock volumes this month.”
“After seeing purchase rate locks pull to within 15% of pre-pandemic levels in mid-January and again in mid-March on easing rates, we’ve seen that deficit eclipse 30% again in recent weeks,” Walden added. “The cause is likely multifaceted. In addition to fewer business days in April than in March, another component may be potential homebuyers waiting on the sidelines for more favorable rates before locking.”
Black Knight reported that on a month-over-month measurement, purchase locks were down 21.8%, cash-out refinances declined 20.6% and rate/term refinances dropped 27.6% The refinance share of lock volume dipped below 13% to 12.8%, setting a new low. Average loan amount remained flat at $355,000 and the average purchase price rose slightly from $445,000 to $447,000.