As the fall gets underway I am looking forward to the release of the full 2016 Home Mortgage Data Act (HMDA) report by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. In the meantime, let’s see what Early Look filers will tell us about the biggest mortgage state, California.

As of Sept. 18, early look lenders who shared their HMDA filings with ComplianceTech made 441,000 mortgages in 2016, for a total of $214 billion in originations.

The biggest lender to date, according to an analysis by LendingPatterns™, is Wells Fargo Bank, which had a 21.6 percent share of those mortgage dollars ($46.2 billion). But JPMorgan Chase was not far behind, at $39.7 billion (18.6 percent). Bank of America was third with a 12.6 percent share, or $27 billion.

Three other lenders had made more than $10 billion in mortgages in California during last year: Quicken Loans, Flagstar Bank and Citibank.

More than a third of that lending—35 percent—went to minorities. It is hard to get a full reading on this because the racial/ethnic identities of more than 16 percent of total borrowers was unknown or in the NA category. Less than 50 percent—48.3 percent—went to whites.

Asian borrowers beat out Hispanics as the minority borrowers with the highest share of loans. Asians received 16.4 percent of the total, while Hispanics were granted 14.7 percent.

California, unconventional in many ways, apparently is a conventional state when it comes to home loan finance. A huge 85.6 percent of loans were conventional in this cohort. Among the guvvie insurers, Federal Housing Administration volume of eight percent beat out Department of Veterans Affairs mortgages, which were at 6.3 percent.

With a number of high-priced housing markets, I would expect there to be a high number of jumbo mortgages. The number so far comes to 38 percent, leaving 62 percent in the conforming range. The average loan amount is above the conforming limit, at nearly $500,000 per loan ($493,000 to be exact). Subordinate liens averaged $180,000.

With that average price above the conforming limit, I’d expect a lot of higher-priced mortgages to be held in portfolio or sold to other than agency investors. And in fact more than a third, 35.1 percent, was not sold, indicating portfolio loans. Another 10.8 percent went to non-agency investors.

Of the agencies, Fannie Mae ranked the highest, at 25.5 percent. Freddie Mac was second, at 18.8 percent. And Ginnie Mae brought up the rear, with 9.8 percent.

Upper-income borrowers are a good guess to fit the kind of profile we have seen so far, and in fact nearly two thirds of early look California volume (64.9 percent) falls into that category. The low- and moderate-income categories together make up just 10.8 percent.

Refinancing dominated California early look lending last year, at 64,6 percent. Purchase mortgages were far behind, at 29.9 percent. The balance was in home improvement loans.

Property types were overwhelmingly one- to-four-family, at more than 98 percent. Multifamily had a less than 1.5 percent share.

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

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