“When there’s a rush of refinancers, lenders become flooded with volume and can adjust rates to slow their pipelines and increase margins,” says LendingTree Chairman and CEO Doug Lebda. “It becomes a matter of supply and demand, which unfortunately means borrowers are seeing higher rates than what’s being reported.”
Lending Tree looked at spreads between the 10-year treasury rate and the average national rate on the 30-year fixed a few weeks ago, when rates were nearing record lows.
"The 10-year treasury rate was at 1.88 percent, while the average national [mortgage] rate was at 4.03 percent. An alarming 215 basis point spread (compared to the 153 average basis point spread seen over the past 10 years) means that the full benefit of these low rates aren’t getting to consumers."
While mortgage volume is at historically low levels, there has also been a mass exodus of mortgage lenders from the market, partially due to new government compensation policies that went into effect last Spring.
"It had the effect of driving some of the best and most qualified loan officers out of the business," says Lebda.
To make matters worse, the consumers who are getting the best rates are those who need those low rates the least.