Real Estate - Residential

Residential Mortgage Activity Down 26% In Wilmington Area 

By Johanna F. Still, posted Jun 10, 2022

After a flurry of activity spurred by record-low interest rates, residential mortgage activity has cooled off as interest rates and inflation have climbed. 

“Refinances, which are a large part of this business, have been done away with completely,” said Michael Lopez, owner and president of Alpha Mortgage. “They’re just gone. Rates rose from the mid-twos to the low-fives.”

As of June 10, the average 30-year fixed residential mortgage rate is 5.62%, according to Forbes. Following an all-time low in December 2020, rates are now approaching a 13-year high, however, Lopez takes a more zoomed out approach when considering the fluctuations. When he first entered the industry in 1993, he said he was doing a ton of business with 18% fixed and 12.9% adjustable rates. “We are in great territory,” he said, with rates that are “still some of the lowest in history.” 

“People have forgotten. They think 5% is a higher rate,” he said. “I just have a longer-term memory than that.”

In the Wilmington MSA, residential mortgage originations were down 26% year-over-year as of the first quarter, when 3,394 were initiated, according to data collected and analyzed by ATTOM. Mortgage originations peaked in the third quarter of 2005 at 5,839. 

Residential refinance activity was nearly halved year-over-year, down about 47% to 1,458 originations in the first quarter in the Wilmington MSA. Though most indicators are trending downward, one measure, home-equity lending, was up 16% year-over-year, with 506 originations. 

Wilmington’s activity mirrors nationwide trends, whereby tight supply and soaring inflation are limiting purchases. Trends are indicating “the nation’s decade-long housing market boom may be cooling off, including slower price growth, smaller home-seller profits and declining home affordability,” ATTOM shared in a release. 

Lopez, with a staff of 145, said he hasn’t had any layoffs as a result of reduced activity – he’s actually hiring. 

Lending firms are reducing their workforces this month in the Charlotte area, per recent state layoff notices. Many national lenders are shedding their payrolls to confront the reduction in revenue and activity. 

For Lopez, though refinance activity has plummeted, purchases are still flowing, he said. “We're a relationship lender so we're a little different than most of our competition,” he said.

National “call center” lenders are struggling, Lopez said, because they relied on leads that are now drying up, whereas a firm like Alpha Mortgage can depend on repeat customers. “We tend to be preferred lenders for builders and Realtors."

He said, “If your model was based upon call center refinances, you suddenly woke up one day and you had no business. It's been a very aggressive market, but now it seems to be evening out.”

Ico insights


Junegunter teachinghorse headshot 5721115557

What Is Next?

June Gunter - TeachingHorse
Atromitos micheallegady headshot

Walking the Walk: Creating and Sustaining “Speak Up Culture” at Work (or risk having your employees walk out on you)

Michealle Gady - Atromitos
Jeremytomlinson enfuse headshot

37% of Orgs Said They Were the Victim of Ransomware In 2021

Jeremy Tomlinson - Enfuse Technology Solutions

Trending News

Inaugural Avelo Flight Touches Down At ILM

Johanna F. Still - Jun 30, 2022

New Hanover Community Endowment Names Advisory Council

Neil Cotiaux - Jun 30, 2022

Stepping Up Burgaw's Parks And Rec

Beth A. Klahre - Jul 1, 2022

Commercial Rises In Surf City

Cece Nunn - Jul 1, 2022

Studio Apartments Near Hospital Trade For $3.6M

Cece Nunn - Jul 1, 2022

In The Current Issue

Canapi Ventures Enables 2-year-old Startup Able

An investment by Canapi Ventures is increasing the capacity of a tech startup to serve commercial lenders. Canapi led the recent Series A ca...

Propagating Growth In Pender

The past couple of years, with early pandemic-related travel restrictions and rise in remote working, has brought a renewed interest in gard...

Film Focus: Driving The Film Industry

Camera Car Service supplies a mobile platform for lighting and camera equipment to create plate and driving shoots for film productions....

Book On Business

The 2022 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!



Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100