Press Release

Purchase Activity Rises as Interest Rates Reach All Time Lows, According to the Latest Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker

PLEASANTON, Calif. – July 1, 2020 – Interest rates declined from April to May, resulting in millennials securing the lowest average interest rate on 30-year loans since Ellie Mae began tracking the data in January 2016. Low rates corresponding with the peak homebuying season led to a month-over-month increase in purchase share - the percentage of all loans closed during the month that were purchases.

According to the Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker, average interest rates for this demographic in May dropped to 3.42%, down from 3.48% the month prior. During this same time, purchase share ticked upwards from 45% to 47%, the first month-over-month increase since November 2019. It is important to note that this does not mean refinance volume has slowed, and year-over-year, refinance share is still up 39 percentage points.

“The refinance market is still strong, but as we progress further into what is traditionally peak homebuying season, we’re seeing the purchase market come to life as historically low interest rates give first-time homebuyers the confidence to make the American Dream a reality,” said Ellie Mae Chief Operating Officer, Joe Tyrrell. “Millennials haven’t previously been able to secure rates this low and they’re taking advantage of this opportunity.”

With purchase activity, driven by seasonality and low rates, on the rise during a refinance boom, average time to close for all millennial loans leapt from 40 days in April to 43 days in May. Broken down by loan purpose, average time to close reached 44 days for refinances, up 4 days month-over-month while purchase loans took 42 days to close on average, a 2-day increase from April.

“Spurred by low rates, overall loan application activity has increased, leaving lenders to manage larger-than-expected pipelines at a time when in-person meetings aren’t feasible from a health and safety perspective,” said Tyrrell. “Lenders with digital mortgage technology quickly shifted and took advantage of solutions, like virtual notarization, and they have been able to turn this volume into revenue, while lenders who haven’t made this investment have struggled to clear their pipelines, leaving business on the table.”

The average FICO score for a millennial borrower in May was 742, the highest number in Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker history, and up one point from April. This was driven in large part by FHA loans, as average scores for this loan type jumped month-over-month for both purchases and refinances.

“We’re in an era marked by economic volatility and this has caused lenders to tighten up their credit requirements so it’s more important than ever for millennials looking to enter the market or refinance, that they’re taking good care of their finances and carefully managing their credit,” said Tyrrell.

The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker divides millennials into two groups: older millennials – borrowers between 30 and 40 years old, and younger millennials – borrowers between 21 and 29 years old.

At 3.41%, older millennials locked in slightly lower interest rates on average, compared to 3.42% for younger millennials. With both sub-groups seeing historically low interest rates, purchase share increased for both older and younger millennials.

Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker – Older Millennials vs. Younger Millennials

Older Millennials Younger Millennials
Closed Loans (Share) — All
Refinance 61% 29%
Purchase 38% 71%
Loan Type — All
FHA 11% 22%
Conventional 86% 75%
VA 1% 1%
Other 2% 3%
Time To Close (Days) - All
All 43 42
Refinance 44 44
Purchase 43 41
Average Interest Rates
30 Year Note Rate — ALL 3.41% 3.42%
30 Year Note Rate — FHA 3.42% 3.42%
30 Year Note Rate — Conventional 3.4% 3.42%
30 Year Note Rate — VA 3.11% 3.11%

Ellie Mae®
is the leading cloud-based loan origination platform provider for the mortgage industry. 

The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker is an interactive online tool that provides access to up-to-date demographic data about this new generation of homebuyers. It mines data from a robust sampling of approximately 80%of all closed mortgages dating back to 2014 that were initiated on Ellie Mae’s Encompass® all-in-one mortgage management solution. Given the size of this sample and Ellie Mae’s market share, it is a strong proxy of Millennial mortgage indicators across the country. Searches can be tailored by borrower geography, age, gender, marital status, FICO score and amortization type. For more information, visit

About the Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker

The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker focuses on Millennial mortgage applications during specific time periods. Ellie Mae defines Millennials as applicants born between the years 1980 and 1999. New data is updated on the first Monday of every month for two months prior. The Millennial Tracker is a subset of our Origination Insight Report, which details aggregated, anonymized data pulled from Ellie Mae’s Encompass origination platform. Additional information regarding the Origination Insight Report can be found at News organizations have the right to reuse this data, provided that Ellie Mae, Inc. is credited as the source.

About Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae is the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry. Ellie Mae’s technology solutions enable lenders to originate more loans, reduce origination costs, and shorten the time to close, all while ensuring the highest levels of compliance, quality and efficiency. Visit or call 877.355.4362 to learn more.


Erica Bigley
Ellie Mae, Inc.
(925) 227-5913

Caitlin Coffee
(312) 635-8204

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© 2020 Ellie Mae, Inc. Ellie Mae®, Encompass®, AllRegs®, Mavent®, Velocify®, the Ellie Mae logo and other trademarks or service marks of Ellie Mae, Inc. appearing herein are the property of Ellie Mae, Inc. or its subsidiaries. All rights reserved. Other company and product names may be trademarks or copyrights of their respective owners.

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