Year-over-year, First American’s Defect Index increased by 3.9%, but was still 22.5% below its peak in October 2013.
Month-over-month, defects in refinance transactions went up by 3.3%, but were still 4.5% lower than the same time last year; defects in purchase transactions rose by 2.4% month over month and 3.6% last year over year.
“This month, the Loan Application Defect Index continued to trend upward as the risk on refinance and purchase transactions both increased compared to a month ago,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American. “After four consecutive months of increased defect risk, it’s fair to call this a trend. We are experiencing one of the strongest sellers’ markets in recent memory and the ‘speed-buying’ that is required for home buyers to make an offer and win a bid for homes they like may be contributing to the increase in defect, misrepresentation and fraud risk that we are observing.”
Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Mississippi and West Virginia rated the highest year-over-year increase in defect frequency, while Connecticut, Michigan, Oklahoma, Delaware and Washington had the greatest decrease in year-over-year defect frequency.
“Defect, fraud and misrepresentation risk is increasingly becoming a regional phenomenon. The risk is concentrating in attractive local markets where housing demand is the strongest, primarily in the South,” Fleming said. “The South may not be so charming anymore if you manage loan fraud and misrepresentation risk.”
Fraud on the rise in mortgage applications
Defects, fraud on the rise in January mortgage apps
Defects, fraud and misrepresentation in mortgage loan applications jumped 3.9% in March, marking a four-month trend, according to new data from First American Financial Corporation.