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Best Mortgage Stocks to Invest In

2022 has not been kind to mortgage stocks. For more than a decade, mortgage rates have been historically low and homebuyers took advantage of it. Now mortgage rates are on the rise, which makes mortgages less affordable for homebuyers and the market has slowed.

Why Are Mortgage Stocks Down?

As the US recovered from the COVID pandemic, mortgage rates were low and the US economy was in recovery mode. That’s when the Federal Reserve vowed to end its easy money stance and begin to raise interest rates in 2022. Earlier in June, the Fed raised rates 75 basis points—more than expected. Mortgage rates rose accordingly.

At the beginning of 2022, homebuyers could get a mortgage rate around 3% on average. By June, mortgage rates were approaching 6%. Another data point for the mortgage market is mortgage applications. Applications can be an indicator of demand for mortgages. Mortgage applications fell 6.5% in the beginning of June this year.

Mortgage stocks also make refinance mortgages. Because mortgage rates were so low for so long, most homeowners have already refinanced their mortgages at these low rates. As mortgage rates keep rising, the market for refinancing looks pretty bleak.

On the other hand, the red-hot housing market has lifted home values to new highs. That means home equity is also on the rise. As the equity in a home rises, homeowners have the chance to take out home equity loans. Home equity loans could be a source of new sales for mortgage stocks this year. Just like other types of mortgages, home equity loans face rising rates, which will likely make potential borrowers think twice about taking out a home equity loan.

Best Mortgage Stocks on the Market

Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT) and Lendingtree (NASDAQ: TREE) are two mortgage stocks to consider.

Rocket Companies is the #1 home lender in the US. It runs the popular mortgage app Rocket Mortgage. According to its most recent presentation, it has processed over $1.5 trillion in mortgages since it started. Though, the company has gain notoriety over the last few years, it has been in business for 36 years.

In addition to home loans, Rocket Companies also does car loans. With its recent buyout of Truebill, the company also has a personal finance platform. The platform handles everything from lowering bills, cancelling subscriptions, tracking spending, managing budgets and improving credit. Truebill has over $100 million of recurring sales.

Rocket Companies stock IPO’d in August of 2020 and has fallen nearly 70% since then. In 2022, the stock is down 47% and now trades at a P/E ratio of 12x. The stock does not pay a dividend.

Lendingtree is also a leader in online mortgages. The company also sells insurance, which has grown in its overall sales. In addition, Lendingtree makes personal loans and issues credit cards to its customers. The company focuses on borrowers with good credit. For instance, customers with personal loans have an average credit score of 620. In addition, mortgage customers have an average credit score of 690.

Lendingtree stock does not pay a dividend and has a P/E ratio of 17.5x.

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Mortgage REITs

Arbor Realty Trust originates and services loans for multifamily real estate. In its first quarter 2022 presentation, the company states, “Arbor Realty Trust is one of the nation’s premier real estate finance companies, offering the most comprehensive, customized and creative financing platforms in the commercial real estate industry. Arbor’s diversified lending solutions are bolstered by its economic foundation as a real estate investment trust; however, it prides itself on conducting business as not just another mortgage REIT, but as a firm that builds long-term client partnerships with a results-oriented approach that produces innovative and efficient financial solutions.”

During the first quarter of 2022, Arbor Realty Trust raised its dividend to $.38 per share. It has increased its dividend for eight straight quarters. The stock is down 26.5% this year now has an eye-popping dividend yield of 11%.

Annaly Capital Management is one of the largest mortgage REITs. According to its first quarter 2022 slide deck, the company invests in mortgage-backed securities that are guaranteed by government agencies. It also invests in mortgage servicing rights, which provide the right to service residential loans in exchange for a portion of the interest payments made on the loans. Annaly stock is down over 21% this year and now fetches a dividend yield of nearly 14%. The stock also trades at a P/E ratio of 3.6x.

Investing in Mortgage Stocks

Mortgage rates are as high as they have been in recent past. In fact, the home buying market has compltly flipped in the past year. Therefore, it’s important to do your due diligence before investing in mortgage stocks.

Sign up for one of the best investment newsletters for expert insights and investment tips. Find balance in your portfolio during this difficult time for investors. You may want to keep a close eye on mortgage stocks over the coming months due to inflation concerns and market uncertainty.

BJ Cook is a long-time stock nerd. He has held several roles in the equity research world and earned the right to use the CFA designation in 2014. When he’s not writing for Investment U, you can find him searching for new investment ideas. Outside the investment community, BJ is a die-hard Cubs fan.

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