Mortgage banking profits hit another stumbling block in the third quarter, sinking slightly as a decline in secondary market income offset rising production numbers.
Home lenders took in an average profit of $897 on each loan they originated over Q3, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said Thursday. That average was down from $954 in the second quarter but still a vast improvement from an average per-loan loss of $194 in the first quarter.
"Average company production volume was up in the third quarter, which resulted in a nominal decrease in per-loan production expenses," said Marina Walsh, VP of industry analysis for MBA. "Nonetheless, production profits were slightly down because of a decrease in secondary marketing income."
According to the group, average production volume came to $437 million per company last quarter, up from $378 million the prior period. By count, lenders average 1,901 new mortgages per company compared to 1,676 in Q2.
At the same time, secondary marketing income for the quarter was 261 basis points, a decline from 270 basis points the previous quarter.
The net cost to originate a mortgage was $5,038 per loan, a decrease from $5,074 in Q2, MBA reported. That total includes all production operating expenses and commissions with the exception of fee income.
The average loan balance for first mortgages in the quarter was $231,914, up more than $6,000 from the last survey and a new record high.
Among other findings, MBA reported a small drop in purchase loan origination share, which was 72 percent by dollar volume compared to 74 percent in Q2. For the industry as a whole, the association estimates purchase loans accounted for 62 percent of total originations in Q3.
Meanwhile, the share of high-cost first mortgage originations continued to increase, rising to a survey high of 9.4 percent as lenders loosen standards on jumbo products.
Including all business lines, 83 percent of the nearly 350 companies in the study posted pre-tax financial profits last quarter, up from 81 percent in Q2.