Mortgage refinance applications surged in 2020 as homeowners in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania sought to take advantage of lower interest rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. This report explores disparities by applicant race and income in mortgage refinance applications and originations.
Key points to remember:
- Refinance mortgages grew more than 200% in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in 2020. But growth for black and low- and moderate-income (LMI) homeowners was only about half three-quarters of the overall growth level.
- Even though the refusal rate of black and LMI refinance applicants has improved, these applicants have still been refused at higher rates than applicants overall. A high debt-to-income ratio was the most cited reason an IMT applicant was denied a refinance mortgage. For black applicants, it was credit history.
- Refinancing a residential mortgage can lower a homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment, put more money in their pockets and reduce the risk of default.
- Financial institutions and organizations that support homeowners can help create a fairer financial system by working with Black homeowners and LMI to remove barriers that prevent them from enjoying the benefits of mortgage refinancing.