Record mortgage applications as Americans rethink importance of home: Quicken Loans CEO

Record number of mortgage applications due to low interest rates

Americans are applying for mortgages at record levels amid a low interest rate environment, as many rethink the importance of home, Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner said Monday.

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"We are seeing record numbers of refinance applications, and actually in the last few weeks record numbers of purchase applications, as people prepare to buy a home. So a great time with low interest rates," Farner said during an interview on "Mornings with Maria." The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.21 percent in the week ending June 11.

Farner said purchasing activity is up "across the board," and that there there are "interesting" behaviors on the East Coast.

"I think that might be part of the change in thinking as people think about home and how important that is," he said.

Quicken Loans is the country's largest mortgage lender. Lack of inventory could be an issue as the number of prospective homebuyers grows.

This Feb. 18, 2020, photo shows a real estate sign in front of a home for sale in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

"We’ve got less than four months or right around four months of inventory," Farner said. "It's critical that people are fully approved, almost cash buyers, when they step out to find a home because there's lots of competition."

The numbers have pointed to a comeback for the U.S. housing market since May. In mid-May, purchase activity was only 1.5 percent lower than a year ago, compared to weeks earlier when it was 35 percent below last year's level.

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The flood of interest is slowing down some companies processing mortgage applications, but Farner said Quicken Loans has been able to scale up its operations.

"We have hired a few thousand people in the last 90 days ... it feels great to provide jobs," Farner said.

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