Fannie Mae’s
Q4 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey (MLSS) found lenders lowering their
expectations for profits over the next three months
. Only 19 percent of those
responding to the survey think their profit margins will increase, one-third
expect no change while 48 percent are looking for a decline. In the third
quarter survey 48 percent were expecting their profits to grow. Fannie Mae says
this is a change from the prior six quarters in which lenders indicated
increasingly optimistic profitability expectations. Lenders reported that consumer demand remained strong in the fourth quarter for
all loan types. Demand for purchase mortgages set a new survey high for
GSE-eligible loans and a new fourth-quarter survey high for government loans.
Looking ahead, purchase mortgage demand expectations fell compared to the prior
quarter but reached new highs for any fourth quarter in the survey’s history.
For refinances, lenders reported that consumer demand fell on both a
looking-back and looking-ahead basis across all loan types but generally
remains strong.

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