Are you in one of the most competitive mortgage markets?

by Ryan Smith31 May 2018

With housing demand outpaced by supply, homebuying competition is fierce in many markets. And rising mortgage rates mean that more borrowers could be shopping around before settling on a mortgage lender. According to a new study from LendingTree, borrowers could save an average of $28,000 on a $300,000 loan simply through comparison shopping before choosing a mortgage lender.

“The mortgage market varies across the country, and lenders are active in different regions at different intensities,” Megan Grueling wrote for LendingTree. “If more lenders are originating loans in a specific area, there could be more opportunities for borrowers to save by shopping around.”

In its study, LendingTree ranked the top 50 metro areas by the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), which uses a formula to calculate how competitive the mortgage market is. The study gave metro areas HHI scores ranging from zero to 10,000, with lower scores indicating greater competition among lenders.

“With rising interest rates, it is typical to see a decline in mortgage originations as refinance volume falls,” said Tendayj Kapfidze, LendingTree chief economist. “In areas where there are more lenders competing for in-market borrowers, they may have to make more enticing offers to borrowers if they want to win market share and cover their fixed business costs. This means borrowers stand to benefit by comparison shopping, a strategy that could help minimize the impact of rising interest rates.”

Key findings of the study included:

  • All metro areas showed a healthy amount of competition among lenders, with the highest HHI at 521 across FHA, VA and conventional loan types.
  • Some of the most expensive real estate markets actually have the least competition among lenders for conventional loans. San Jose, San Francisco and New York are all in the bottom 10 of the ranking, according to LendingTree.
  • The most competitive mortgage markets in the country were Providence, R.I., Boston, and Hartford, Conn.
  • Markets that were less competitive for conventional loans were more competitive for FHA loans
  • FHA markets were, on average, more competitive than conventional markets, while VA markets were less competitive.

Most competitive markets for conventional mortgages

  1. Providence, R.I.
  2. Boston, Mass.
  3. Hartford, Conn.
  4. Oklahoma City, Okla.
  5. Indianapolis, Ind.
  6. Tampa, Fla.
  7. Louisville, Ky.
  8. Nashville, Tenn.
  9. Baltimore, Md.
  10. St. Louis, Mo.


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