On the cusp of a buyer’s market, lower interest rates begin to drive a shift in consumer behavior

With interest rates for 30-year mortgages declining, Millennials moved quickly to close their mortgages in March 2019. According to the latest Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker, the average 30-year note rate dipped to 4.75%, down from 4.85% in February, and the lowest percentage since April 2018. At the same time, average time to close for all loans dropped to 40 days, marking the shortest closing period since February 2015.

Overall, Millennials closed all loans two days faster month-over-month and the trend was consistent for both refinances and purchases. On average, refinances took 42 days to close in March, 11 days faster than the month prior, while time to close a purchase shrunk from 45 to 39 days.

The decrease in interest rates on all 30-year loans was driven in large part by month-over-month interest changes for 30-year conventional loans, which on average decreased from 4.81% to 4.7%, and VA loans, which fell from 4.47% to 4.36%. FHA loan average interest rates decreased from 4.85% to 4.84% during the same time period.

“Homebuying tends to pick up in the spring and lower interest rates are intensifying this trend among Millennials,” said Joe Tyrrell, executive vice president of strategy and technology at Ellie Mae. “Likewise, lower interest rates are providing increased purchase power to Millennials, allowing them to participate in a very competitive home buying market.”

The Millennial Tracker data echoes findings from the Ellie Mae March Origination Insight Report, which also found a decrease in time to close and a drop in 30-year note interest rates across loans to all borrowers.

For all loans closed by Millennials in March 2019, 68% were Conventional and 28% were FHA, while VA and other loans accounted for 2% and 3% respectively. Among FHA loans, purchases increased to 95% in March, up from 89% the month prior. Alternatively, among Conventional loans, share of purchases fell to 85%, down one percentage point from February.

Additional findings from the March 2019 Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker include:

  • Average time to close for all VA loans in March 2019 was 48 days, higher than for FHA loans (41 days) and Conventional loans (40 days).
  • For all closed loans in March 2019, 87% were purchase loans and 11% were refinance loans.
  • The average FICO score for Millennial borrowers on all closed loans in March was 720, down slightly from 723 in February.
  • Millennial males were listed as the primary borrower on 60 percent of closed loans in March. Millennial women were listed on 31 percent and the remainder of closed loans did not specify primary borrower gender.

Ellie Mae® is the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry.

The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker is an interactive online tool that provides access to up-to-date demographic data about this new generation of homebuyers. It mines data from a robust sampling of approximately 80 percent of all closed mortgages dating back to 2014 that were initiated on Ellie Mae’s Encompass® all-in-one mortgage management solution. Given the size of this sample and Ellie Mae’s market share, it is a strong proxy of Millennial mortgage indicators across the country. Searches can be tailored by borrower geography, age, gender, marital status, FICO score and amortization type. For more information, visit http://elliemae.com/millennial-tracker.

About the Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker

The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker focuses on Millennial mortgage applications during specific time periods. Ellie Mae defines Millennials as applicants born between the years 1980 and 1999. New data is updated on the first Monday of every month for two months prior. The Millennial Tracker is a subset of our Origination Insight Report, which details aggregated, anonymized data pulled from Ellie Mae’s Encompass origination platform. Additional information regarding the Origination Insight Report can be found at http://elliemae.com/resources/origination-insight-reports. News organizations have the right to reuse this data, provided that Ellie Mae, Inc. is credited as the source.

About Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae is the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry. Ellie Mae’s technology solutions enable lenders to originate more loans, lower origination costs, and reduce the time to close, all while ensuring the highest levels of compliance, quality and efficiency. Visit EllieMae.com or call 877.355.4362 to learn more.


Erica Harvill
Ellie Mae, Inc.
(925) 227-5913

Caitlin Coffee
(312) 635-8204