- As two of the largest metro areas in the nation, Miami and Tampa scored in the national top 20 list in December for total mortgage origination volume – but still far down from previous months.
- Among all major metro areas, Miami had the highest average mortgage rates locked-in for pending home sales and refinances in December. Tampa remained even with the national average at 6.3%.
- But even with the highest interest rates, that didn’t deter some from moving forward with home purchases or refinancing in Miami, which had the 9th highest mortgage rate lock volume in the nation in December.
New mortgage origination data for December shows many home buyers are still staying on the sidelines, largely due to higher interest rates that didn’t budge over the final two months of the year. Because mortgage interest rate-locks typically happen weeks before home sales actually close, the lackluster mortgage data in prior months can be used as a barometer to anticipate the next month’s real estate sales data.
Market analyst Black Knight, Inc., a Jacksonville-based software, data and analytics company that provides regular reports on the health of the national real estate market, pointed to high interest rates as one reason the market remained sluggish.
“Mortgage rates declined through the first half of December but reversed course as the Fed doubled down on their stance of additional tightening in 2023,” said Kevin McMahon, president of Optimal Blue, a division of Black Knight. “December saw the fewest purchase locks in a single month since early 2014, and the fewest overall rate locks on record dating back to January 2000 when Black Knight began reporting origination metrics.”
Florida’s two largest markets, the Miami metro area (Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm), and the Tampa metro area (Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater), generated enough new mortgage originations to make a national top 20 list, a positive sign that the Sunshine State is keeping pace nationally, but few bright spots surfaced in the December data. The Miami metro ranked 9th in overall volume in December, while the Tampa metro ranked 16th nationally.
Notably, the Miami-metro area had the highest average interest rate locks among the 20 largest metro areas, coming in at a whopping 6.61 percent against a December national average of 6.33 percent. The next highest national metro market after Miami was San Francisco, coming in at 6.44 percent.