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Mortgage borrowers and refinancers are experiencing ‘discouraged’ feelings about credit, as lending continues to be shackled by too-tight standards and interest rates rise.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s recently released Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) Credit Access Survey, the share of those surveyed who were “too discouraged to apply” across all types of credit in the last year expanded to 7.1 percent, an increase from 5.7 percent in October 2016. Application and rejection rates, including for mortgages, decreased in February, with the application rate dipping to 42.3 percent from 39.9 percent in October and the rejection rate falling to 8.5 percent from 9.9 percent over the same period.

Markedly, the share of those surveyed who expect to refinance their mortgage decreased to 8.4 percent from 12.2 percent in October. CoreLogic’s recently released Housing Credit Index (HCI) for the fourth quarter of 2016 confirms the trend.

“Refinance volume will decline with higher mortgage rates, and lenders generally will respond by applying the flexibility in underwriting guidelines to make loans to harder-to-qualify borrowers,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic, in a statement on the Index.

The HCI indicates mortgages approved for single-family homes were largely low risk in the fourth quarter of 2016, with credit scores averaging 737, debt-to-income ratios (DTI) averaging 36 percent and loan-to-value ratios (LTV) averaging 87.1 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2015, credit scores averaged 733, DTIs averaged 36 percent, and LTVs averaged 86.7 percent.

Sources: CoreLogic, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

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