Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Home loan payoffs in Colorado surged during first quarter following record-low mortgage rates

The number of home loans paid off in Colorado was up 31.4 percent from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013. According to a new report released today by the Colorado Division of Housing, public trustees in Colorado released a total of 98,321 deeds of trust during the first quarter of 2013, which was the highest quarterly total recorded in any quarter since the Division began collecting quarterly totals in 2008. 74,809 deeds were released during the first quarter of last year.

Typically, a release of a deed of trust occurs when a real estate loan is paid off whether through refinance, sale of property, or because the owner has made the final payment on the loan. Increases in release activity occur as refinance and home-sale activity increases, and rising release totals typically indicate increases in the demand for home loans and real estate.

Release activity also increased from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013, rising 13.3 percent.  There were 86,816 deeds released during the fourth quarter of last year.

“From early 2011 to late 2012, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell for seven quarters in a row,” said Ryan McMaken, an economist with the Colorado Division of Housing. “We’re not surprised to see refi and purchase activity increase sharply as a result.”

Trends in release activity were not uniform across the state, although all of the 21 counties surveyed reported increases in release activity from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of this year. The largest increases were reported in Adams and Arapahoe counties where release activity increased 62.1 percent and 55.0 percent, respectively. The smallest increases were found in Eagle and Jefferson counties where activity increased 3.7 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.

Adjusted for the number of existing housing units in each county, the counties with the highest rates of release activity during 2013’s first quarter were Douglas, Teller and Summit counties. The counties with the least activity were Fremont, Pueblo and Delta counties.

“We still see some hotspots in some higher-income counties,” McMaken said, “But with most counties reporting sizable increases in release activity, we can say that home loan activity has been increasing generally across Colorado.” 

Totals for releases of deeds of trust are collected quarterly by the Colorado Division of Housing. This report tracks releases of deeds of trust as reported by public trustees in Colorado. The report includes twenty-one counties which are chosen based on population size and to ensure that as many regions of the state as possible are represented. More than 90 percent of all occupied households in Colorado are within the twenty-one counties chosen.