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Mortgage Report: Minority Buyers Grow in 2021

The nation’s consumer bureau (CFPB) found a drop in refinances and increase in buyers, with all minority groups gaining ground in the share of homes purchased.

WASHINGTON – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) annual report on residential mortgage lending for 2021 found an increase in Asian, Black and Hispanic shares of home purchase loans.

The report is based on data submitted by thousands of the nation’s lending institutions under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), which requires financial institutions to collect and report mortgage loan-level information on applications and originations. CFPB uses that data to determine whether financial institutions are serving the housing needs of their local communities. The data is also used to help communities attract private investment, identify discriminatory lending patterns and enforce antidiscrimination statutes.

The report shows a shift from refinance loans in 2020 to home purchase loans in 2021, with a greater share of home purchase loans going to Asian, Black and Hispanic white borrowers relative to the share of home purchase loans for non-Hispanic white borrowers.

The top 25 closed-end lenders by loan volume held nearly half of the market share of residential mortgage lending – a percentage that has increased each year since 2018.

2021 report key findings

  • An increase in mortgage originations was driven by home purchase loans as refinance loans fell: Closed-end mortgage originations – excluding reverse mortgages – increased by 2.4%, from 13.4 million in 2020 to 13.7 million in 2021. From 2019 to 2020, 66.8% was largely driven by refinances; in 2020 to 2021, most was due to jumbo home purchase loans. Non-cash-out refinance loans began decreasing following a peak in March 2021.
  • The number of mortgage lending institutions reporting HMDA data dropped in 2021: At least one closed-end mortgage loan had been reported by 4,332 financial institutions, down by 3.1% from 4,472 financial institutions in 2020. The top 25 closed-end lenders by loan volume held a combined market share of 43.9%, which has risen yearly since 2018. The top 25 mortgage lenders by loan volume were notably prominent in the refinance market, and accounted for 53% of all refinance loans.
  • Asian, Black and Hispanic white borrowers’ home purchase loan shares increased from 2020 to 2021:
    • Black borrowers’ share of home purchase loans increased from 7.3% in 2020 to 7.9% in 2021.
    • Hispanic white borrowers saw their share of home purchase loans increase from 9.1% to 9.2%.
    • Asian borrowers’ share increased from 5.5% in 2020 to 7.1% in 2021.
    • Non-Hispanic white borrowers’ home purchase loans decreased from 59.1% to 55.6% during the same time period.

    Black and Hispanic white borrowers, overall, continued to qualify for lower median loan amounts, had lower median credit scores, and had higher denial rates compared to non-Hispanic white and Asian borrowers. Additionally, Black and Hispanic white borrowers paid higher median interest rates and higher total loan costs overall.

2021 marks the fourth year that HMDA data reflects changes implemented by the 2015 HMDA rule. The 2015 HMDA rule updated institution and transaction report criteria and revised the data points that covered institutions must report.

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