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U.S. mortgage industry - statistics & facts

Mortgage debt is one of the main sources of debt held by Americans. The U.S. mortgage industry is one of the largest in the world, and the infamous subprime mortgage crisis of 2007 is well known across the globe. That subprime mortgage crisis set the stage and conditions that led to the financial turmoil and subsequent recession of 2008. Outstanding mortgage debt went down after the 2008 financial crisis, but has since bounced back and been on the rise since 2013.

The mortgage industry is a vital part of the U.S. economy

Mortgage interest rates in the United States dropped to an all-time low in 2020, which makes taking out a mortgage more attractive to consumers. Many Americans became homeowners in 2020 and 2021, in spite of the pandemic, which is likely a result of these historically low mortgage rates. With inflation soaring, however, the Federal Reserve has prompted several benchmark interest rates hikes, causing for mortgage rates to pick up: As of April 2022, the 30 year conventional mortgage rate reached nearly five percent, up from three percent in April 2021.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the mortgage industry?

The favorable mortgage conditions have allowed many mortgage borrowers to renegotiate their existing housing loans and benefit from the lower mortgage rates. The breakdown of mortgage originations shows that since the beginning of 2020, the total value of mortgage lending has grown mostly due to refinancing loans. On the other hand, the spike in demand for housing during the pandemic has led to house prices surging at an alarming rate and potentially offsetting the benefits of lower rates. At almost 18 percent, the average house price appreciation in 2021 was significantly higher than in the years prior to the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus crisis also led to many homeowners falling behind on mortgage payments. While this was the case in 2020, the mortgage delinquency rate has decreased since, reaching close to the levels prior to the pandemic. Due to the foreclosure moratorium imposed by the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, foreclosure rates not only did not spike, but decreased in 2020 and 2021.

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