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What is Mortgage Fallout?

In the mortgage industry, both lenders and borrowers are exposed to a variety of risks, many of which are often overlooked by the general public. One such risk is the phenomenon known as mortgage fallout. A concept tracked diligently by mortgage brokers, economists, and those participating in the secondary mortgage market, mortgage fallout is a significant factor influencing mortgage market dynamics.

Defining Mortgage Fallout

In its simplest terms, mortgage fallout refers to the scenario in which proposed loans fail to reach closing. This failure can occur for various reasons, such as changes in the borrower's financial circumstances, an adverse property appraisal, or a lender denying the application midway through the process.

The fallout rate, essentially, offers a numerical reflection of these failed transactions. It provides a production-oriented statistic that gives an idea of how many clients a mortgage company or a broker fails to close after a mortgage rate has been offered. High fallout rates can be unfavorable, indicating challenges for consumers, mortgage companies, and the broader economy.

Mortgage Fallout: A Signal of Economic Stagnancy

The timeframe from loan application to closing typically spans two months or more. A high fallout rate during this period may suggest a stagnancy in the economy. Economists tracking mortgages and the secondary mortgage market closely observe this rate as a significant economic indicator.

Mortgage fallouts can reflect a slowdown in real estate transactions, possibly signaling a downturn in the housing market. These slowdowns often correspond to broader economic troubles, which can impact various sectors, including the secondary mortgage market.

Fallout Rates and the Secondary Mortgage Market

The secondary mortgage market, where mortgage loans and their corresponding cash flows are traded, is considerably influenced by the fallout rate. In this market, financial instruments like Collateralized Mortgage Obligations and other derivative securities are created and sold. Participants in the secondary market base their positions, hedges, pricing, and interest rates on several sources of information, fallout rate being a key one.

High fallout rates can lead to changes in the pricing and availability of these securities. They can affect the interest rates on mortgages and influence the decisions made by participants in the secondary mortgage market, including how they manage their risk exposure.

Fallout Rates: A Critical Number for Mortgage Industry Players

From the perspective of mortgage brokers and mortgage companies, the fallout rate is a crucial figure that can affect their business operations. High fallout rates can reflect an inability to close loans after offering mortgage rates, which can affect the profitability and reputation of these businesses.

This, in turn, may lead to increased caution among mortgage lenders, potentially making them more hesitant to approve applications and thus further contributing to the fallout rate. It's a cycle that can have broad implications for the housing market and the wider economy.

Mortgage fallout is more than just a statistic within the mortgage industry. It's an essential barometer of the health of the economy and the housing market. As such, understanding and tracking mortgage fallout is crucial for mortgage industry participants, economists, and policymakers alike. Despite its complexities, with the right attention and understanding, it can provide valuable insights into the current state of the mortgage market and future economic trends.


Mortgage fallout refers to the instance of proposed loans falling through before closing.

This is something tracked by not only mortgage producers and their mortgage companies, but also economists who keep up with mortgages and the secondary market for mortgage derivatives. Since mortgages take two months or more to close, the fallout rate can indicate a stagnancy in the economy and trouble for the secondary mortgage market.

For mortgage brokers, mortgage companies, and those in the secondary mortgage market, fallout rate and fallout ratio can be important numbers. From one perspective, this is a production-oriented statistic that gives them an idea of how many clients they are failing to close after a mortgage rate has been offered.

It could also be that mortgage lenders have become skittish and are denying applications midway through the process. High fallout rates can be bad for consumers and mortgage companies.

This also has implications on the flip-side of the mortgage industry, where mortgage loans and their cash flows are bought and sold in the secondary mortgage market, where Collateralized Mortgage Obligations and other derivatives securities are created and sold. They base their positions, hedges, pricing, and interest rates on many sources of information, among which fallout rate is one of the most important.

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