Mortgage News Daily

  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Existing home sales put an end to two straight months of gains , retreating in April on both a monthly and annual basis. The National Association of Realtors® said the sales of single-family homes, townhouses, condos, and cooperative apartments dropped by 2.5 percent from March's estimate of 5.60 million to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million. That put sales at a 1.4 percent deficit when compared to April 2017. It was the second straight month that sales have lagged on an annual basis. Economists polled by Econoday were not looking for greatly improved numbers but results even missed that target . Estimates ranged from 5.48 million to 5.64 million. The consensus was for no change from the March 5.60 million number. Single-family home sales were down by 3.0 percent to a seasonally...(read more)

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    Created: 5/24/2018 8:00:28 AM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Home prices in the first quarter of 2018 were 1.7 percent higher than at the end of the fourth quarter of last year. The Federal Housing Finance Agency said its Housing Price Index (HPI) gained 6.9 percent when compared to the level at the end of March 2017. On a monthly basis prices were 0.1 percent higher than in February. The month over month rate of increase in March was significantly higher than the 0.6 percent gain from January to February, but the annual increase slowed compared to the previous month. The rate of appreciation from February 2017 to February 2018 was 7.2 percent. "Home prices continue to rise across the U.S. but there are signs of tapering ," said Dr. William Doerner, FHFA's Senior Economist. "Since housing markets began to rebound in 2012, house price appreciation has...(read more)

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    Created: 5/24/2018 7:29:47 AM
  • Posted To: MBS Commentary

    One short week after hitting the worst levels in nearly 7 years there's suddenly a semblance of hope again for bonds. It was one thing to see last Friday's correction--which merely stopped the most abject bleeding--or the first 2 days of indecisive stability this week. It was another thing to see an unmistakably strong rally yesterday followed by even stronger levels today. The critical development over the past 48 hours for US bond markets has been the break below the 3.05% floor that had blocked progress since last Friday. If we wanted to be extra cautious about where we set our technical levels, we could use the previous 4-year ceiling of 3.04% and reserve judgment until bonds broke and closed below. With yields starting out the day well under 3.0%, it seems like there's not...(read more)

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    Created: 5/24/2018 6:35:51 AM
  • Posted To: Pipeline Press

    The conference this week? I attended various presentations dealing with housing finance and the economy in general. Even in the face of rising rates, the outlook on the housing market is bullish for prices – but with continued inventory problems. Labor shortages and environmental provisions/local zoning are expected to continue to contribute to extended times to complete the construction of new homes. Now that we are a decade past the financial crisis, we are seeing increased non-agency mortgage lending, as reflected through securitizations, and it is expected that the non-QM market will continue its expansion but still small on a relative basis to QM. Demographic factors play a dominant role in the housing market as millennials embrace homeownership, just as we knew they would. Given...(read more)

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    Created: 5/24/2018 6:18:07 AM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Fannie Mae is backing down slightly on its economic forecast for the remainder of 2018. The first quarter GDP growth of 2.3 percent was the slowest in a year , down from 2.9 percent a year earlier. The company's economists, led by vice president and chief economists Doug Duncan, say they expect growth to pick up later in the year but the economic boost from last December's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and this February's Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, will fade next year and the labor market will tighten more than previously thought. The earlier full-year 2018 forecast remains at 2.7 percent, but the company is lowering its projections for 2019 by two-tenths to 2.3 percent. They see substantial downside risks to their forecast , especially the rising price of oil. Crude prices have risen by about...(read more)

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    Created: 5/24/2018 6:08:17 AM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Loan performance continued to improve in April, even though Black Knight says mortgage delinquencies have a historic pattern of increasing during that month. The overall delinquency rate declined 1.6 percent from March to a national rate of 3.67 percent. That rate is down by 10.17 percent from the previous April. Black Knight notes, in its "first look" at the month's loan performance data, that not only did April's improvement buck a trend that has affected the month's numbers 85 percent of the time, it also ended seven months of annual increases, behavior that started with last fall's hurricanes. Areas in Texas, Florida, and Georgia where Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit drove the improving numbers. However, over 90,000 mortgages on homes impacted by the storms are still seriously delinquent...(read more)

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    Created: 5/24/2018 5:41:30 AM
  • Posted To: MBS Commentary

    Bonds surged to significantly stronger levels in the presence of the Fed Minutes today. Any time we see strong gains on a day with a Fed release, chances are the Fed is behind the move. Incidentally, that's NOT the case today (spoiler in the headline, I know). So how did Europe trump the Fed in terms of bond market impact? In short, this is all about Italian political drama. The two anti-Eurozone parties who are forming a coalition government in Italy are waiting for confirmation of their staffing choices from the Italian prime minister (yeah... things work differently over there). One of the picks had previously referred to the Eurozone as a noose around Italy's neck. It's not overboard to consider this political regime as potentially pushing Italy away from the Euro. That's...(read more)

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    Created: 5/23/2018 1:41:08 PM
  • Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    This week hadn't been too traumatic for mortgage rates through yesterday afternoon, but neither had it been positive in any noticeable way. That changed today as rates fell abruptly to the lowest levels since last Monday. Granted, at the time, last Monday's rates were still pretty close to the worst in 7 years, but the point is that we've managed to find our way back from the even higher rates that followed. Help came chiefly from European political developments where Italy is a day or two away from confirming a government that could end up pushing the country out of the Eurozone . Even though that's far from guaranteed, the mere risk of such a thing is enough to drive investors toward safer haven bonds like those issued by Germany or the US. In general, excess demand for bonds means rates...(read more)

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    Created: 5/23/2018 12:36:00 PM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    The House of Representatives passed a sweeping overhaul of regulations included in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on Tuesday. Senate Bill 2155, which passed the upper house in March, received a 258 to 259 vote in the House. It now goes to the White House for what is expected to be certain presidential approval. The bill did not go nearly as far as the House had hoped in rolling back Dodd-Frank. Leadership agreed to vote on the compromise bill negotiated in the Senate between Republicans and Democrats only after a promise of a vote latter this year on other changes House members, especially House Financial Services Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) were demanding. According to Bloomberg, the legislation gives smaller banks relief from post-crisis rules that they...(read more)

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    Created: 5/23/2018 8:21:43 AM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    New home sales dipped in April, a reversal that was expected by many analysts . The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said sales of newly constructed homes during the month were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 662,000 units. This is 1.5 percent below the revised rate of 672,000 units in March. The March estimate was revised down from 694,000 units, erasing much of that month's reported 4 percent gain. Despite the downturn, sales are now running 11.6 percent above the April 2017 estimate of 593,000 sales. In March the year-over-year gain was reported at 8.8 percent. Analysts polled by Econoday had expected sales to be in the 650,000 to 692,000 range. The consensus was 677,000. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis there were 64,000 new homes sold in...(read more)

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    Created: 5/23/2018 7:44:17 AM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Reams of data have been gathered about what appear to be significant changes in the profile of younger homebuyers and consequently mortgage borrowers. This usually means the Millennial generation, but recently Gen Z, those born in 1995 and later have begun moving into homeownership as well. A recent report by Freddie Mac says the Millennials came of age after the housing crisis and since home prices bottomed out, rents have increased an average of 20 percent. "It's not easy to save up for a down payment when you're pouring you money into rapidly escalating rents." And even those who do have savings, may have difficulty convincing a bank they have the necessary income to qualify for a loan: Increasingly, millennials don't have only one on-payroll job and a W-2 to show income. Add to that the...(read more)

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    Created: 5/23/2018 6:15:47 AM
  • Posted To: Pipeline Press

    Every vendor here at the MBA conference suggests they can help clients close more loans faster, more efficiently and compliantly. If only all these lenders had more loans in their pipelines to close! But lenders here in NY are an optimistic bunch. Lender Products Yesterday at the MBA Secondary conference in New York, Mortgage Coach and Optimal Blue announced an enhanced integration that avails access to accurate pricing within the Mortgage Coach platform. Now every Mortgage Coach-powered loan originator can include real-time product and pricing data within the Total Cost Analysis – in seconds without ever leaving the Mortgage Coach app – giving their borrowers the transparent and accurate loan options they need to make a confident mortgage decision faster. “Combining the sophisticated...(read more)

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    Created: 5/23/2018 6:11:56 AM
  • Posted To: MBS Commentary

    I woke up this morning to an automated alert from MBS Live letting me know I'd need to hustle to the desk and explain whatever it was that caused the friendly spike more than 6bps lower in 10yr yields (all the way down to 3.0%). The safest bet was that it was something to do with Italy, and my chart of Italian spreads vs German Bunds didn't disappoint. Equities markets happened to be playing ball as well. It's been a good morning to be a safe-haven US Treasury bond (especially longer duration bonds like 10 and 30yr securities). The net effect on the bigger picture for the US bond market is that it sets us up to challenge the important 3.05-3.06% floor (obviously). In fact, it gives us a huge head start for the day. Remember the lessons from bonds 2-3 weeks ago though. As we attempted...(read more)

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    Created: 5/23/2018 6:05:15 AM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Mortgage rates surged significantly during the week ended May 18, sending mortgage activity skidding for the fifth straight week . The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) says its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, dropped by 2.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis there was a 3 percent decline. The seasonally adjusted Purc h ase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week but remained 3 percent higher than the same week in 2017. Refinance activity hit a near 18-year low . The Refinance Index declined another 4 percent compared to the previous week, to its lowest level since December 2000. Refinancing also continues to lose...(read more)

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    Created: 5/23/2018 5:17:28 AM
  • Posted To: MBS Commentary

    For the 2nd straight day , trading levels in bond markets held inside a narrow range--far narrower than that seen on any given day last week, let alone the entire week. This could be incidental or it could be in anticipation of some future event. The leading candidates as far as future events would be tomorrow's release of the Fed Minutes at 2pm as well as the first serious Treasury auction of the week (5yr Notes at 1pm). Given that the bigger of the two events hits an hour later, that's where we'd be looking for intraday risk-- at least it would be if we were in a more normal environment. As it stands, the bond market is exceptionally well availed of the Fed's plans and it's unlikely that new information is going to be gleaned from this or any near-term release. The only...(read more)

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    Created: 5/22/2018 1:52:59 PM
  • Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    After quite a bit of volatility and a move up to 7-year highs last week, mortgage rates have managed to avoid any semblance of drama so far this week. In fact, each of the past 2 days has seen the average lender keep 30yr fixed rates perfectly in-line with Friday's latest levels. The worst that could be said of these rates is that they're very close to last week's highs. The second worst thing that could be said of these rates is that they're the latest in a series of gradual moves higher over the past few years. The general expectation is that rates can continue to move higher as long as the economy continues to tolerate higher borrowing costs. Mortgage lenders know that we are now in a rising rate environment. That means they're less likely to offer huge improvements on rate sheets unless...(read more)

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    Created: 5/22/2018 12:09:00 PM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    As if the new home inventory wasn't tight enough, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) say a higher proportion of those homes are being built as rentals rather than owner occupancy . Robert Dietz, writing in NAHB's Eye on Housing blog says the numbers are small, but the increase has continued for several recent quarters. From the first quarter of 2017 through the first three months of 2018, construction starts for homes built specifically as rental property rose from 33,000 to 37,000. Seven thousand of those starts were in the first quarter of this year. According to Census Bureau estimates, the market share of single-family homes built to be rented (and not including those built and sold to someone who then rents them out) accounted, on a one-year moving average basis, for 4.3...(read more)

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    Created: 5/22/2018 9:18:59 AM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    It only impacts auto lending, but if Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPB) keeps his word, a Congressional resolution signed by the President on Monday is likely to have an eventual impact on mortgage and other lending as well. The Joint Resolution, S.J. Res. 57, sponsored by Senator Jerry Moral (R-KS) and Rep Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to formally disapprove a rule from CFPB relating to "Indirect Auto Lending and Compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act"(ECOA). This causes that rule to "have no force or effect." Some background, and because today there always seem to be two various of facts, we summarize the story from both perspectives, that of the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) and of The Leadership...(read more)

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    Created: 5/22/2018 7:19:28 AM
  • Posted To: MBS Commentary

    Today begins the 3rd day where US Treasuries aren't imploding after hitting 7 year highs last Thursday. At this point, we might consider the resilience to be some sort of fledgling bounce attempt, even though we can continue to be concerned about technical floors (discussed here ). But let's say that 3.06% is convincingly broken today and confirmed tomorrow. Then what? If that happens, I will be looking squarely at the Italian political drama and European bond markets. What follows is a bit of an outline for a more robust primer on the topic of European bond markets as they interact with US bond markets. Does rate volatility in Europe really affect US rates? There can be no greater proof of this than the summer of 2012, when the EU debt crisis was at its apex. There's no way we...(read more)

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    Created: 5/22/2018 6:21:40 AM
  • Posted To: Pipeline Press

    The U.S. mortgage industry likely recorded an operating loss in the first three months of 2018 due to falling loan volumes and growing expenses, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s chief economist, Michael Fratantoni, said yesterday here in New York. On a personal note, I know many owners and CEOs of residential lenders, however, and would never bet against their success. They represent a very savvy, entrepreneurial, and street-smart group of individuals but are faced with many risks, with LO comp, technology, housing inventory, and shrinking margins in the forefront. Check out The Plight of the Small Independent Lender . Company News Saturday this commentary mentioned that bitcoins were not suitable for a down payment in Fannie’s guidelines. David T. showed me that there are state...(read more)

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    Created: 5/22/2018 6:10:47 AM
  • Posted To: MBS Commentary

    There were no significant economic reports or events today, and only a few newsworthy developments. The biggest of these also happened the earliest (yesterday night, in fact) when the White House announced the suspension of certain tariffs on China. Stock futures liked the news (after all, the threat of a trade war has been a big deal), but bonds didn't react much. As the overnight session progressed, a familiar trade took shape in European bond markets with core yields continuing to rally. Whereas that had been helpful for US bond markets on Friday, they were less responsive today. Both before and after the European rally, US yields approached and bounced at the 3.06% technical level (to be fair, it's more like 3.055%). This is right were bonds ran into resistance on Friday afternoon...(read more)

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    Created: 5/21/2018 1:56:51 PM
  • Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    Mortgage rates held steady today, which is better than what could be said for most of last week when rates shot up to the highest levels in 7 years. Friday was the only day of improvement, but it was scarcely enough to undo the damage from the previous 4 days. That said, it did raise questions. Specifically, was Friday some sort of indication that the worst was behind us in terms if upward rate momentum? Answering that question is tricky business because the time frame matters greatly. In the short term, there's always a possibility that a prevailing trend toward higher rates will cool-off and reverse course. While that's also technically possible over longer time horizons, we can begin to talk more about probabilities and less about random chance. With that in mind, we've be discussing the...(read more)

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    Created: 5/21/2018 12:38:00 PM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    In a prior article we summarized the options the Trump Administration might utilize to reform the residential mortgage financing system should Congress continue to drop the ball. Two noted economists, Jim Parrott and Mark Zandi, writing for the Urban Institute, address the notion of shrinking Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's (the GSEs) footprints and eliminating their cross-subsidy of higher risk borrowers. This article summarizes their alternatives for ending the 10-year government conservatorship of the two companies. The director appointed to replace Melvin Watt when his term as director of the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) expires next year will undoubtedly reflect the attitudes of the Administration including their claimed commitment to changing the GSEs' status. The authors...(read more)

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    Created: 5/21/2018 12:07:24 PM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Late last year Fannie Mae included questions in one of its National Housing Surveys about working in the "gig" economy. About a fifth of respondents claimed they earned at least some of their income through such employment. Gig-economy workers tend to have flexible work arrangements, working on single projects or tasks preforming on-demand services such as transportation (Uber, Lyft) lodging rental (Airbnb and VRBO) food/goods delivery, and personal tasks (TaskRabbit). Because of its "on-demand" nature, the income stream from gigging can be less stable and its source less reliable . With the numbers involved increasing, this is likely to become an issue in mortgage lending, so Fannie Mae's Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) group included some self-employment and gig-economy related questions...(read more)

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    Created: 5/21/2018 8:10:55 AM
  • Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Last week the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that severe shortages of construction tradespeople were slowing homebuilding and increasing costs. The shortages, as reported by NAHB's new home builder members, affected all trades from rough carpenters to plumbers and masons. Now, from Australia, comes news that brick masons at least may not have as much job security as that NAHB report would suggest. The Hadrian X, developed by Perth-based Fastbrick Robotics, can lay more than 1,000 bricks an hour and, in tests, has framed a small home in two days. Hadrian, essentially a long robotic arm that can be mounted on a track, crane, or barge, uses a 3-D model of the house, cuts its own bricks, applies adhesive, then conveys them to the arm which puts them in place. The plumbing...(read more)

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    Created: 5/21/2018 7:36:00 AM