He said the trend effectively started with the working from home rule in response to COVID, which sparked a big increase in the number of new, small businesses.

According to a pre-pandemic projection from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of self-employed people was set to increase to 10.3 million by 2026, but more recent data from the Pew Research Center placed the number of self-employed workers actively at work much higher at 14.9 million for the second quarter of 2021.

In any case, with brokers aware that refi volume is tapering off amid the albeit small rise in rates, interest in the non-QM space can only grow.

“I think a lot of people were expecting rates to be a little bit higher as we approach the end of the year, but you can only refinance borrowers so many times,” Fisher said in a nod to the mortgage industry’s cyclical nature.

“The biggest challenge I think I’ve faced is just the huge swings and the huge ebbs and flows of the market where you can go from record breaking volume one year and then have a tick up in interest rates – the whole market can shift on a dime; it’s an industry that’s ever changing.