Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Releases of deeds of trust in metros fall to 32-month low

A deed of trust is "released" when a home loan is paid off. This event is recorded by the public trustee in each county in Colorado.

Trends in public trustees tell us about how much activity there is in terms of home loan refinances and home sales. In many ways, activity in releases of deeds of trust are an indicator of demand for real estate purchases in Colorado, and historically, we have seen more release activity during times of economic boom. 

Activity Through September of This Yea

In September 2017, we found that releases had fallen to a 32-month low in the 11 largest counties in Colorado, plus Broomfield County. These counties include more than 90 percent of the population of Colorado. 

In September, releases totaled 20,730. That's the lowest total since February 2015 when releases totaled 18,826. September 2017's total up down from the same month a year earlier, falling 26.6 percent from September 2016's total of 28,252.

Looking at counties, individually, we find that year-over-year, the counties with the largest drops were Douglas, Broomfield, and Denver counties. There were no counties that reported increases during this period. 

Although September's total is clearly down significantly from December 2016's peak, overall activity continues to be generally robust as demand for housing and homes for purchase remains strong. Although the Federal reserve acted to allow the Federal Funds rate to rise slightly over the past two years, mortgage rates spikes in late  2016, but fell throughout much of 2017. Without a sustained increase in mortgage rates, we're likely to continue to see relatively strong numbers for releases of deeds of trust. At least, this will be the case until there is a general worsening of the labor market and economy overall.  

So, for now, release activity is moderating, but compared to most years since 2008, activity is relatively strong. This reflects ongoing interest in real estate purchases and in refi activity in Colorado.