EDGE: Cash-Out Refi Speeds Mortgage rates have risen nearly 200bp from the final quarter of 2021, squelching the most recent refinancing wave and leaving the majority of mortgage holders with rates below the prevailing rate of roughly 5% (see chart below). For most homeowners, it no longer makes sense to refinance an existing 30yr Read More.. April 19, 2022 Mortgage rates have risen nearly 200bp from the final quarter of 2021, squelching the most recent refinancing wave and leaving the majority of mortgage holders with rates below the prevailing rate of roughly 5% (see chart below). For most homeowners, it no longer makes sense to refinance an existing 30yr mortgage into another 30yr mortgage. GET STARTEDBut, as we noted back in February, the rapid rise in home prices has left nearly all households with significant, untapped gains in their household balance sheets. For homeowners with consumer debt at significantly higher rates than today’s mortgage rates, it can make economic sense to consolidate debt using a cash-out refi loan against their primary residence. As we saw during 2002-2003, cash-out refinancing can drive speeds on discount mortgages significantly higher than turnover alone. Homeowners can also become “serial cash-out refinancers,” tapping additional equity multiple times. In this analysis, we review prepayment speeds on cash-out refis, focusing on discount MBS, i.e., mortgages whose note rates are equal to or below today’s prevailing rates. The volume of cash-out refis has grown steadily but modestly since the start of the pandemic, whereas rate/term refis surged and fell dramatically in response to changing interest rates. Despite rising rates, the substantial run-up in home prices and increased staffing at originators from the recent refi boom has left the market ripe for stronger cash-out activity. The pivot to cash-out issuance is evidenced by the chart below, illustrating how the issuance of cash-out refi loans (the black line below) in the first quarter of this year was comparable with issuance in the summer of 2021, when rates near historic lows, while rate/term refis (blue line) have plunged over the same period. With cash-out activity set to account for a larger share of the mortgage market, we thought it worthwhile to compare some recent cash-out activity trends. For this analysis, the graphs consist of truncated S-curves, showing only the left-hand (out-of-the-money) side of the curve to focus on discount mortgage behavior in a rising rate environment where activity is more likely to be influenced by serial cash-out activity. This first chart compares recent performance of out-of-the money mortgages by loan purpose, comparing speeds for purchase loans (black) with both cash-out refis (blue) and rate/term refis (green). Notably, cash-out refis offer 1-2 CPR upside over rate/term refis, only converging to no cash out refis when 100bp out of the money. Next, we compare cash-out speeds by servicer type, grouping mortgages that are serviced by banks (blue) versus mortgages serviced by non-bank servicers (green). Non-bank servicers produce significantly faster prepay speeds, an advantage over bank-serviced loans for MBS priced at a discount. Finally, we drill deeper into the faster non-bank-serviced discount speeds for cash-out refis. This chart isolates Quicken (red) from other non-bank servicers (green). While Quicken’s speeds converge with those of other non-banks at the money, Quicken-serviced cash-out refis are substantially faster when out of the money than both their non-bank counterparts and the cash-out universe as a whole. SCHEDULE A DEMO We suspect the faster out-of-the-money speeds are being driven by serial cash-out behavior, with one servicer in particular (Quicken) encouraging current mortgage holders to tap home equity as housing prices continue to rise. This analysis illustrates how pools with the highest concentration of Quicken-serviced cash-out loans may produce substantially higher out-of-the-money speeds relative to the universe of non-spec pools. To find such pools, users can enter a list of pools into the Edge platform and simultaneously filter for both Quicken and cash-out refi. The resultant query will show each pool’s UPB for this combination of characteristics. Contact US to run this or any query For this analysis, we focused mortgages aged 18 to 48 months, with FICO above 700, LTV less than or equal to 80, and loan size greater than or equal to 250k. Other cuts are available. Please see us for details.  For this analysis, we removed points with less than 1000 observations to reduce statistical noise.