A plurality of the nation’s Top Originators are more optimistic about the first half of 2022 compared to the end of 2021, according to the debut edition of Scotsman Guide’s Mortgage Originator Sentiment Survey (MOSS).
For the first time ever, Scotsman Guide asked people who qualified for its comprehensive rankings of the top-producing residential mortgage originators how they expected their business to perform over the next six months compared to the current period. Roughly 49% of respondents said that they expect their business to perform better, while 38% indicated a belief that business will generally stay the same.
It’s important to note that the survey was conducted at the start of 2022, so the impacts and uncertainties stemming from the war between Russia and Ukraine had yet to affect the global stage. But with other headwinds such as inflation, low housing supply, rising mortgage rates and persistently growing home prices already shaping the environment, it’s notable that only 12.5% of Top Originators believed that their business would have a poorer performance in the six months ahead compared to the six months prior.
“Despite a bevy of downside risks heading into this year, our Top Originators were generally positive about what’s expected to be another strong housing market,” said Jeffrey Sabourin, chief product officer for Scotsman Guide. “Those risks are definitely casting a shadow on the mortgage industry, which is why the positives aren’t in a total majority. But considering the strong lending environment of the past couple of years, even the Top Originators who expect business to hold steady rather than improve are expressing some confidence in the marketplace.”
Splits between responses were largely consistent when respondents were broken down into various categories. Mortgage brokers, for example, were slightly more upbeat about the next six months compared to bankers; some 50.1% of brokers said they believe their business will perform better, compared to 49.1% of bankers. The shares of brokers and bankers who believed that business would stay the same (39.6% and 37.3%, respectively) or get worse (10.3% and 13.7%, respectively) also mirrored those of the overall respondent pool.
Broken down by census region, Top Originators in the South — the states that account for the largest share of home sales in the country — were the most optimistic, with 53.9% saying that they believe business will get better. Another 40.2% of originators there said that business will remain essentially the same, while only 6.0% believe it will take a turn for the worse. Least rosy were Top Originators in the Midwest, where only 43.9% said business will get better, 36.4% said it will hold steady and 19.7% said there would be a downturn. The Midwest had both the lowest share of Top Originators indicating that business will get better and the largest share of those saying that business will get worse.
Moving forward, the MOSS survey will continue to track Top Originators’ sentiments every six months.
“This first edition of our MOSS survey shows the resilience, adaptability and optimism of many top residential mortgage originators,” Sabourin said. “We’re looking forward to seeing how this sentiment compares with the second edition of the survey, which will be conducted later this year.”