The top economists at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expecting a strong second half not only for mortgage originations in general but also for their own enterprises.
"We're revising our forecast upward a bit. We were revising almost daily recently," said Robert Van Order of Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. "I originally guessed originations would drop to around $600 billion this year. Now I'm thinking $625 billion to $650 billion."
That would require an acceleration from the first half, when volume was generally believed to have been well under $300 billion.
Mr. Van Order said he expects refinancings to pick up as people with adjustable-rate mortgages react to upward rate adjustments. Many borrowers are experiencing their second and third adjustments, he said, making them prime candidates for refinancing.
At Fannie Mae, the Federal National Mortgage Association, David Berson is expecting refinancings to double during the second half. He sees originations at about $400 billion for the second half, after $275 billion in the first half.
And he, too, foresees a major shift toward fixed-rate mortgages, something that should be a boon to the secondary market as it regains market share from banks and thrifts.
The Federal Housing Finance Board reported adjustable-rate mortgages' share of the market at 38% in May, Mr. Berson said. "But that's a lagging indicator," he said. "It was measuring what happened in March and April, and rates have fallen further since then. By the end of the year, ARMs' share will be well down into the 20s."