Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Home Improvements / December 17, 2022

Mortgage demand from homebuyers spikes 33% annually

This Black borrower has an outrageous story about his mortgage refinance. 

When the coronavirus struck the U.S. in early spring, and the stock market went into freefall, mortgage rates began to plummet as well. Thousands of homeowners rushed in to refinance their loans, getting much-needed savings on their monthly payments.

Akili Akridge, a Black homeowner in Maryland, saw all the flurry over low rates in April, so he decided to jump in too. The rate on his 30-year fixed mortgage at the time was 4.125%, well above the market rate of just over 3%. 

“I’m watching the news and keeping track, and I’m talking to friends who are refinancing, and they’re saying that they got in the low threes,” said Akridge. “I said of course, this would be a great thing for us to do. Why not?”

Akridge bought the townhome with his partner, Melissa, just over two years ago. She is White. The mortgage was in her name. Since she recently started her own business, which makes the mortgage process generally more complicated, they figured it would be easier for Akridge to refinance the loan on his own.

Akridge had all the necessary financial credentials: He had been working at his company for more than two years, where he said he earned a six-figure salary. He also said he had about an 800 FICO credit score, and that he and Melissa had close to 20% equity in the home, more than enough to refinance.

So he went to an online mortgage marketplace and filled out all of his financial information. Then the calls began coming in. All the lender agents asked his race, but they all said he was not required to disclose it. He told the first lender he was Black.

“So, the gentleman came back and advised, you know, turns out we’re not interested in townhomes, right now. He  just said it’s an industry standard right now,” Akridge said. “And I’m looking at my better half and kind of questioned, is this accurate? But, I let it go because, you know, maybe that’s just something that he did.”

He also disclosed his race to the second lender who called. That lender said they could do the refinance — apparently there was no ‘industry standard’ with townhomes -- but at a higher rate than he and Melissa already had.


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