Mortgage

Employment in non-bank mortgages is reaching a 10-year excessive

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, monthly hiring of non-custodians in real estate finance set a new record for the decade.

An estimated 333,100 people were on non-bank mortgage and brokerage payrolls as of August, the highest number since at least 2010.

Before August, the payrolls were high, but still within the limits of recent years. The July total for the industry, revised up from 323,300 to 324,000, had approached the decade's high of 325,900 in August 2017.

With the strong demand for credit from interest rates, lenders have increasingly turned to third parties for help, and these outsourcers are, in turn, among the hiring companies in the market.

For example, Evolve Mortgage Services has hired more than 100 underwriters in the past 90 days to help its lender clients and plans to hire an additional 100 by the end of the year.

However, whether there will continue to be high volume and new hires after that remains to be seen, said Paul Anselmo, CEO of Evolve.

"There are a lot of 'what-ifs'," he said.

It's unclear how the general election outcome could affect volume, and mortgage business usually slows down in winter, Anselmo said.

A fee to refinance the government-sponsored businesses, due to be added in December, could reduce the demand for credit – unless widespread industry opposition stops it.

"It's been delayed once before. There's an incredible setback. I think it will be delayed again," said Anselmo.

Another factor that will affect mortgage demand is total employment, which is reported with less delay than non-bank mortgage jobs.

The total number of jobs in the US rose 661,000 in September. In July, the BLS reported that total employment had increased by 1.8 million.

The unemployment rate fell from 8.4% in August to 7.9% in September.

With an approximate adjustment for a misclassification error affecting unemployment figures since March, the unemployment rate would have been 0.4% higher in September. This adjustment is likely overrated, according to the BLS.

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