United Wholesale is now bigger than Countrywide ever was

The wholesale mortgage broker channel is fired up for the New Year. The chair of AIME, the mortgage broker trade group, sent a note on social media that he expects brokers can reach a 20% mortgage origination market share THIS year. That’s a firecracker of a claim, but numbers just out from United Wholesale Mortgage, the #1 wholesale mortgage lender, shows this goal may be exceedingly reachable. [Note: We’re doing a panel at #NEXTWINTER20 on this very topic, be sure to sign up!]

According to UWM, they set a company record of $107.7 billion in mortgage loan volume in 2019, more than doubling its 2018 production of $41.5 billion. In doing so, it broke the wholesale industry record of $103.3 billion of mortgage loan volume previously set in 2005 by Countrywide Financial. That is 159% percent growth year-over-year.

“We are proud of this amazing growth in 2019 which is truly tied to our mortgage broker clients along with our 5,000 team members here at UWM. We are ready for 2020 and will continue to stay focused on helping our clients compete and win,” said Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of UWM in a release.

UWM is nearly a third of the entire broker channel market share, vastly far ahead of any competitors, they say. UWM was also recognized as the nation’s No. 2 overall mortgage lender, behind Quicken Loans according to data compiled by Inside Mortgage Finance, UWM outpaced big bank lenders Wells Fargo, Chase and Bank of America in overall lending in all four quarters of 2019.

“To handle this unprecedented growth, UWM recently purchased an additional 900,000 sq. ft. building to add to its current 600,000 sq. ft. location in Pontiac, Mich. The result will be an incredible 150 acre, 1.5 million sq. ft. campus that will be home to over 5,000 team members and growing,” UWM said. They expect to hire another 2,500 in 2020.

Housing experts agree to agree

Experts. It’s a good thing we have so many of them to tell us what’s going to happen in housing and mortgage finance in 2020. The Washington Post actually published a laundry list of expert predictions on next year and cited the following institutions in one way or another: Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, NAR, NAHB, Zillow, Bankrate, Redfin, Black Knight and the MBA. 

And guess what. Everyone is saying the same thing. While we think it’s great when experts agree (Go, Team Experts!) does anyone else think we need to diversify the voices, here?

“A strong job market and low mortgage rates should sustain the housing market in 2020. The problem will be finding enough homes for buyers,” summarizes Kathy Orton in the WaPo wrap up.

Here’s the big news: “… the market is on better footing than it was a year ago, when economic uncertainty caused by global trade tensions, stock market volatility and a government shutdown, along with rising mortgage rates and home prices, put a damper on sales. Mortgage rates, which seemed poised to surpass 5 percent, a level they hadn’t reached since 2011, retreated in 2019. The average rate of the most popular mortgage, the 30-year fixed, has remained below 4 percent the past 32 weeks, according to Freddie Mac data. At the start of 2000, it was 8.5 percent.”

Here’s a new (not-so-good) housing prediction

So there is one prediction for 2020 not mentioned in the WaPo piece: Single-Family Rental investors are going to pick up their purchasing. The implications are big as this will lead to even lower inventory to put under a mortgage, as far as Up NEXT readers are concerned. But that’s not the point of the piece.

“With strong rental growth and lower interest rates, the time looks favorable for acquiring more single-family rentals,” writes Bendix Anderson for National Real Estate Investor online.

“The largest, publicly-traded SFR owners also have more money to spend on acquisitions because their stock prices are high, lowering their cost of capital,” Anderson states later in the piece.

Anderson includes some great rental data, deal flow info and quotes from Gary Beasley, CEO of Roofstock, an online platform for buying and selling SFR properties, that make it well worth a read.

“Robust rental demand is contributing to strong occupancy rates, helping boost financial performance for owners,” says Beasley in the article. “Rents have been increasing, buoyed by strong occupancy trends.”

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