The top state for mortgages last year, this year and every year, is California. But which is the nation’s second state for home loans? Is it Florida, Texas, New York, Illinois? Early look Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) reporters show that as of Sept. 25, it was Florida.

We’ll see if that holds up when the final report comes out in a couple of weeks. Florida’s lead over Texas was 183,000 mortgages to 168,000 for Texas. Both states have been subjected to extreme weather recently, so looking ahead I wonder how badly their 2017 numbers will be affected.

Compared to California, where the average mortgage was a hefty $493,000 for 2016 among lenders that we know about, Florida is only about half that, at $253,000. That may be a hangover from the years after the subprime bubble collapse, which hit Florida very badly and depressed home sales and prices. The subordinate lien average was quite low as well, at $39,000, with less than two percent of volume coming through subordinate liens.

Florida has a large Hispanic population, as California does, and the percentage of loans is nearly identical in the two states, 15 percent in Florida and 14.7 percent in California. Whites dominated racial and ethnic categories in the Sunshine State, at 62 percent, and Blacks were granted six percent of mortgages.

The secondary mortgage market was busy in Florida last year, with just a hair less than a quarter (24.6%) held in portfolio. Fannie Mae was the biggest investor, at 26 percent, followed by Ginnie Mae at 21 percent and Freddie Mac at 17 percent. Non-agency investors accounted for just 11 percent of the total.

Upper-income borrowers were granted more than half of the mortgages (54 percent) while low- and moderate-income borrowers only got about a third of that at 19 percent.

You’d think with an average mortgage amount so far below the conforming loan limit, there wouldn’t be many jumbo mortgages, and you’d be right. Just 6.2 percent of volume was jumbo, and 93.8 percent conforming.

Purchase money was king in Florida last year, but not by much. Just a hair under 50 percent of mortgages were purchase loans, with 44 percent refinancings and the balance home improvement loans.

The gender rollup, apps with at least one male versus applications that were female without males, favored the guys by a wide margin. Sixty-nine percent went to males, while females were granted 21 percent of volume.

Conventional lending dominated at early look lenders in Florida last year, with 73 percent going to that cohort. Of the government-insured mortgages the Federal Housing Administration had a 16 percent share and the Department of Veterans Affairs 11 percent.

There is still a good bit of investor ownership on the primary level, with 12 percent of volume going to non-owner-occupied properties. That might seem to imply a nice percentage of multifamily units, but actually they were almost all one-to-four unit properties, at more than 98 percent.

My next blog will look at characteristics of the bronze medal winner in the states, Texas.

(Mark Fogarty is a journalist and analyst who has been covering the mortgage market for more than 40 years.)

 

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