MORTGAGE INTEREST RATE ADVISORY
This page was updated May 23, 2013 8:30 AM PST
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MORTGAGE MARKET INDICATORS
- 30-Yr Fixed Mortgage Rate rose to 3.59% on May 23, up from 3.51% on May 16
- MBS (3%) - 101.55, High: 102.02, Low: 101.55
- DJI Stocks currently $15,292.47, Down $-14.7, Change -0.096%
- Asian & European Stock Market Indexes changed -5.64%
- Crude Oil (WTI) Currently $92.60 Up -1.78%
Why Did Mortgage Rates Skyrocket Past 2013 Highs on Wednesday? By Matthew Graham
Mortgage rates were utterly destroyed today. Not only did the average rate move above the highest seen in 2013, but rates haven't been this high since May 22nd of 2012! Of course, there's the "everything's relative" perspective, whereby we can attempt to appreciate the fact that best-execution is still around 3.75%, but the fact remains that the day over day movement was devastatingly swift, and on the the most aggressively negative end of the spectrum of possibilities heading into the day. We'll dig into some of the reasons for today's spike after the following housekeeping note. >>Read More
Most Real Estate Investors in CA Plan on Selling Inside 6 Years
By Jann Swanson. Recognizing that real estate investors have played a key role in the state's housing market recovery, the California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) recently surveyed its members about their interactions with investor customers and have developed a profile of investors and their behavior.
Two-third of investors are following a long term strategy in investing, buying and holding property although three-quarters of intend to hold the property for less than six years. About one-quarter (26 percent) of inventors buy property in order to flip it » Read More.
Mortgage Rates Near 2013 Highs to Start Week
By Matthew Graham - Mortgage rates continued May's nearly constant trend higher to begin the week, though the pace of increases is slower compared to that seen on Friday. Even so, it brings rates dangerously close to their highest levels of 2013 (which are also the highest levels in 1 year). Best-execution for Conventional, 30yr Fixed Loans is in transit between 3.625% and 3.75%. Best-ex is also more subjective from borrower's points of view at the moment due to the fact that the most efficient rate on most rate sheets is 3.625% yet it might leave some borrowers bringing more to the table in terms of closing costs than they'd otherwise like. » Read More
Analysts Address Mortgage Interest Deduction at Realtor Expo
By Torry Barranger
While other hot-button issues have drawn national attention away from the subject of tax reform, speakers at the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo urged industry professionals not to forget what’s at stake.
Speaking at a session at the expo, political commentator and analyst Jeffrey Birnbaum assessed the issues currently holding Washington’s attention (including gun control, immigration reform, and the Affordable Care Act), discussing their potential impact in the real estate world. » Read More
Mortgage Rates Climb for Second Week
By Torry Barringer (MReport) Mortgage rates took another step up this week as economic news remained lukewarm.
According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.51 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending May 16, a significant climb from last week, when it averaged 3.42 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed averaged 3.79 percent and falling.to add text. » Read More
Purchase Applications Hit 10 Month High
By Jann Swanson:
The percentage of loans originated for purchasing homes increased again in April, the third consecutive month they have done so. According Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report for April, those loans made up 42 percent of the total originations during the month compared to 38 percent in March and 27 percent in January. It was the largest market share since July 2012 when purchase mortgages also made up 42 percent of the total. The average interest rate on a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage in April was 3.808 compared to 3.908 for all loans closed in 2012. » Read More
Mortgage applications retreat after steady climb
By Brena Swanson
Mortgage applications retreated this past week as refinancing and home purchase filings slowed.
The volume fell 7.3% from a week earlier when analyzing the survey period ending May 10, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.
The decline comes after a period of steady increases throughout April and early May.
The refinance index plummeted 8%, after posting an 8% increase a week earlier, the industry trade group said. » Read More
Market Competition Cools in April
By Torry Barringer (MReport) While competition over available homes remains fierce in many areas around the country, the latest Bidding War Report from Redfin shows some markets cooled off a bit in April.
The report, based on statistics compiled from more than 2,000 offers written each month by Redfin agents for its homebuying clients, shows 73 percent of offers faced competition, down from a peak of 79 percent in February but slightly up from 70 percent last April. » Read More
This Week In Morrtgage Land;
After last week with no economic releases, this week we have a number of measurements.. Monday April retail sales are expected to have declined, nothing scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday April PPI and CPI but inflation isn’t a problem and likely the two reports won’t jar the markets. April housing starts and permits Thursday, starts expected to have declined while permits expected to have increased. The May Philly Fed business index is thought to be slightly better, but the index is very close to neutral---not showing much improvement.
The interest rate markets continue to reflect the possible end to the 30 yr old bond market rally that started in 1983 with 30 yr mortgage rates at 17% and the 10 yr note at 18% (bank prime rate at 20%). The action in the rate markets that was triggered by the strong April employment report has not been able to achieve even a modest bounce after rocketing the 10 yr frm an intraday low of 1.63% to 1.93% last Friday before ending the week at 1.89%. Mortgage rates up about 15 basis points in rates last week. Japan’s plan to weaken its currency is working against the US bond market; as the yen falls there is less demand for US bonds. Every technical indicator on the bond and mortgage markets is now solidly bearish; last Friday in a Tweet PIMCO co-CEO and bond king Bill Gross declared the end to the declining interest rate rally, even after a month ago Gross said he was increasing PIMCO’s investment in US notes and bonds. Most likely Gross was looking at the magnitude and speed in which rates rose last week.
Home Values Expected to Jump 5.4 Percent Annually
(National Mortgage Professional) More than 100 forecasters said they expect the Zillow Home Value Index to end 2013 up an average of 5.4 percent year-over-year, and most expressed some fears the Federal Reserve could be inflating a new housing bubble, according to the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey. The survey of 105 economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists was sponsored by leading real estate information marketplace Zillow, Inc. and is conducted quarterly by Pulsenomics LLC. Panelists said they expected median U.S. home values to rise to $165,280, on average, by the end of 2013. At the end of 2012, the U.S. Zillow Home Value Index stood at $156,800. » Read More
One-Third of Homebuyers Lack Basic Mortgage Knowledge
Tory Barringer (MReport)
With mortgage rates low and affordability relatively high, the housing market is seeing buyers return in force—unfortunately, many of those would-be owners are woefully unprepared and misinformed when it comes to taking out a mortgage, Zillow discovered in a recently released survey.
According to Zillow, homebuyers participating in its Mortgage Marketplace Survey answered basic questions on mortgage information incorrectly nearly one-third (32.5 percent) of the time. >> Read More
Consumers Show Record-High Levels of Confidence in Housing
Tory Barringer (MReport.com)
April saw continued growth in American optimism when it comes to housing health, according to results in Fannie Mae’s monthly National Housing Survey.
More than half of those who took the survey (51 percent, up from 48 percent in March) said they expect home prices to climb in the next year, while 10 percent—flat for the fourth straight month—expect declines. Thirty-five percent expect no changes. >>Read More
Busy Week In The Mortgage Fraud Universe
(Mortgage Orb) Mortgage fraud took center stage this week in several corners of the U.S., led by a 12-year federal prison sentence for a Chicago man who pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges last April.
Fred Haywood, age 42, worked for a number of mortgage brokerages between 2001 and 2007, and in that time, he was a party to more than 60 dubious real estate transactions in the city. On top of the prison sentence, Haywood was ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution.>> Read More
This week in Mortgage Land;
not much in the way of economic data this week. Treasury will auction $69B of notes and bonds beginning Tuesday through Thursday. Ben Bernanke is scheduled to speak on Friday in Chicago. Some other Fed officials also speaking through the week, the interest will likely focus on last Friday’s surprisingly strong April employment report that sent stocks higher and increased the yield on the 10 yr and mortgage markets; the 10 yr had one of the strongest increase in rates in one day for a number of years---from 1.63% to 1.74% and mortgage rates up about six basis points in rate. With very little economic data this week markets likely will be looking for any comments and news out of Europe and China.
The strong selling last Friday erased all the improvement in rates over the previous three weeks in a matter of three hours. It is going to take a few days this week for markets to settle down, however the swiftness and depth of the selling on Friday is somewhat a concern that possibly the bond market had become too bullish. Technically, Friday’s selling did do damage to the near term outlook. The 10 now trading above its 20 day average and our momentum oscillators, after holding positive for almost six weeks have moved back to neutral; not bearish bit lost all the bullish momentum. We have chart support for the 10 at 1.75%, Friday’s close 1.74%. Monday should start generally flat with no news, any additional selling is going to further damage the current bullish view.
Are Housing Headwinds Actually a Blessing?
Tory Barringer (MReport) Gains in home prices over the last year haven’t provided enough lift to offset the headwinds holding the recovery down—and that’s a good thing, says David Hicks, co-president of Dallas-based HomeVestors.
While reluctance from lenders, sellers, and appraisers has become something of a drag on sales and price improvements, Hicks asserts the market’s slow growth has kept the country away from another housing bubble.» Read More
Foreclosure Inventory Numbers Down Substantially
(MortgageOrb.com) According to CoreLogic's March National Foreclosure Report, there were 55,000 completed foreclosures in the U.S. in March 2013, down from 66,000 in March 2012: a year-over-year decrease of 16%.
On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures rose from 52,000 in February 2013 to the March level of 55,000, representing an increase of 6%.
"In March, completed foreclosures were down 52 percent from the peak in 2010, and almost all of the top 100 major metropolitan areas have declining foreclosure rates," says Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "The foreclosure rate nationally is down 23 percent relative to a year ago, signaling continued reduction in the stock of distressed assets." >>Read More
Buyers Try Their Luck at Housing Lotteries
(Daily Real Estate News) Where buyer demand is high, some builders are holding lotteries to determine who gets to purchase homes in their developments.
For example, O'Brien Homes has been holding monthly housing lotteries in Sunnyvale, Calif., for its development Fusion, a 228-unit development. The builder decided to start having lotteries after potential buyers had camped out for the openings of other new condos in the area.
Each month, O'Brien Homes has attracted around 50 eager, pre-qualified buyers-who already have their down payments secured-to enter the lottery. Only about 10 or so sites are available to lottery participants each month. Participating buyers are given a bingo ball and then must wait for the builder to pick a ball from the tumbler to see if they have a chance at purchasing a home. O'Brien has begun to give returning buyers and extra bingo ball to better their chances of winning.>> Read More
Pending Home Sales Climb in March, Progress Slows
By Mark Liebrman
The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose 1.5 percent to 105.7 in March, the highest level in almost three years, the group (NAR) reported Monday.
Economists had expected a 0.7 percent increase to 105.5 from February’s originally reported 104.8. The February index reading was revised to 104.1.
Last week in a parallel report, the Census Bureau and HUD reported contracts for the sale of new homes increased 1.5 percent to 417,000 in March.
Both the new homes sales and the pending home sales reports measure contract signings and are designed to be forward-looking indicators. » Read More
This week is a big one for interest rate markets.
The economic calendar is full of data on businesses and manufacturing with both ISM reports (manufacturing and services), construction spending, personal income and spending (Monday), auto and truck sales, Q1 productivity and unit labor costs. The main focus however is twofold; the FOMC meeting that concludes Wednesday with its policy statement and on Friday the April employment report. The early estimates are for non-farm job growth at 150K after only 88K jobs in March, the unemployment rate unchanged at 7.6%, which should not be a focus as it doesn’t really tell the tale of job creation. Wednesday starts the ball rolling on employment when ADP reports its private jobs numbers for April, presently the estimate of what ADP will say is 150K new jobs.
The FOMC meeting starts Tuesday and ends Wednesday. Markets will direct attention to how the Fed frames the present economy that is showing signs of slowing. The Fed is facing an increasing concern of deflation, CPI is now under the 2.0% level thatr the Fed wants, at 1.7%. What to do? Most likely nothing this time around, but we will see how the statement reads. This policy statement will be tough to formulate; the Fed is likely to continue its easing clear through to the end of the year, but what is the plan if deflation concerns increase? At the moment the Fed is failing on both of its legislated mandates; the employment market is still not moving after years of money printing and low rates, now recent measurements on inflation is not meeting the Fed’s target on the down side. This week should keep market volatility on high.
A Pretty Good Mortgage Rate Predicter
Mortgage Rate Trend Index: April 25, 2013 By Bankrate.com
Will rates go up, down or remain unchanged?
UpDownUnchanged 9%18% 73%
About the Bankrate.com Rate Trend Index
Bankrate.com surveys experts in the mortgage field to see if they believe mortgage rates will rise, fall or remain relatively unchanged. The panel is comprised of mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers and other industry experts who provide residential first mortgages to consumers. Results from Bankrate.com's Mortgage Rate Trend Index is released each Thursday.
NAHB calls on Congress to support housing tax incentives
By Megan Hopkins (HousingWire)
The National Association of Home Builders called on Congress Thursday to maintain its support for vital housing incentives in order to meet the nation’s growing need for affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities.
The housing incentives include the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the mortgage interest deduction and real estate tax deductions.
"Homebuilding is an industry dominated by small businesses, so the idea of simplifying the complicated tax rules related to business has great appeal," said Robert Dietz, an economist and assistant vice president for NAHB. » Read More
Q1 Home Values See 'Sustainable' Growth
By Tory Barringer (MReport)
After “months of robust and largely unsustainable annual home value appreciation,” the national housing market finally showed signs of moderation in this year’s first quarter, Zillow reported Thursday.
Zillow’s Home Value Index (HVI) rose to $157,600 as of the end of Q1, up 0.5 percent over Q4 2012 and 5.1 percent over the same time last year. Quarterly home value appreciation in the fourth quarter was 2.1 percent—indicating the market is slowing down to a more sustainable pace, says Zillow chief economist Dr. Stan Humphries. » Read More
Distressed Loans Fall Below 5 Million For First Time In 5 Years
By: Jann Swanson (Mortgage News Daily)
All of the housing metrics released today by Lender Processing Services (LPS) showed movement in a positive direction. LPS generally provides a "first look" at some of the data which will be covered in its monthly Mortgage Monitor when released early the following month.
The national delinquency rate dropped 3.13 percent from February to 6.59 percent and was down 3.03 percent from March 2012. The delinquency rate translates to 3.308 million loans that are 30 or more days past due and 1.466 million loans that at 90 or more days delinquent. It does not reflect loans that are in the process of foreclosure.
Mortgage Rates Steady Near 3 Month Lows
(Mortgage Daily News) Mortgage rates were essentially flat to begin the week, with most lenders inconsequentially higher or lower than Friday's levels. That puts today's rates in the same league with last week's best offerings as well as those seen after the Employment Situation Report on Friday April 5th. For most lenders, these will be the lowest mortgage rates since mid-January, though we'd emphasize that the rate itself isn't moving at the moment, but rather the closing costs associated with prevailing rates » Read More
California Prices Soar 8.3% in One Month
Apr 19 2013, (Mortgage News Daily)
The median price of a home in California shot up in March to $313,000 from 289,000 in February, a one-month increase of 8.3 percent. The spike put the median price 24.7 percent above the price in March 2012, the 13th consecutive annual price increase. California prices peaked at a median of $484,000 in the late spring/early summer of 2007 and hit a low of $221,000 in April 2009. » Read More
Mortgage Rate Trend Index: April 18, 2013
Will rates rise or remain relatively unchanged? Experts and Bankrate analysts predict where mortgage rates are headed over the next week.
Prediction: Up 23%, Down 31%, Unchanged 46%
This week (April 18-24), 23 percent of the panelists believe mortgage rates will rise over the next week or so, 31 percent think rates will fall, and 46 percent believe rates will remain relatively unchanged (plus or minus 2 basis points).
FNC February Price Index Sees 28-Month High
By Tory Barringer (HousingWire)
U.S. property values went into spring continuing the growth trend that started a year ago, according to FNC’s Residential Price Index (RPI) for February.
The index, based on recorded sales of non-distressed properties (both new and existing homes) in the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), recorded a 28-month high after rising for 12 consecutive months. For the 12 months through February, the index was up 6.1 percent—its fastest acceleration since July 2006. Month-over-month, the index was up 0.2 percent. » Read More
Housing Starts in U.S. Surge on Multifamily Unit Demand
By Alex Kowalski (Bloomberg)
New-home construction in the U.S. climbed in March to the highest level in almost five years, propelled by a surge in multifamily building that will support economic growth.
Starts (NHSPSTOT) climbed 7 percent to a 1.04 million annual rate, the most since June 2008, from a revised 968,000 pace in February that was larger than previously reported, according to Commerce Department figures issued today in Washington. Other reports showed consumer prices unexpectedly dropped last month and factory production cooled. » Read More
The Week Ahead: Limited Calendar, But Beware the Technical Resistance by Matthew Graham Apr 15 2013, 7:51AM
There's no question that the past three weeks of trading for domestic bond markets have been their best 3 week stretch of the year. This was exclusively a factor of only two of those weeks, with the most recent example actually acting as somewhat of a drag on the trend. It's this "drag" effect that we're primarily concerned with on this relatively data-free and event-free week. » Read More
Foreclosures See Near 25 Percent Annual Drop in March
(National Mortgage Professional!) RealtyTrac released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for March and the first quarter of 2013, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 152,500 U.S. properties in March, a decrease of one percent from the previous month and down 23 percent from March 2012. The decrease in March helped drop first quarter foreclosure numbers to the lowest level since the second quarter of 2007. Foreclosure filings were reported on 442,117 U.S. properties in the first quarter, down 12 percent from the previous quarter and down 23 percent from the first quarter of 2012. » Read More
Obama Budget May Tackle Housing Reform By Shanthi Bharatwaj
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The housing industry will be paying close attention to President Obama's budget proposal to be announced Wednesday morning
With the Administration targeting a $1.8 trillion reduction in the deficit over a ten-year period, the government's significant subsidy to the housing sector may be on the chopping block.
Among the most costly tax subsidies is the mortgage interest tax deduction, which the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates will reduce revenues by $70 billion in 2013 and by $379 billion between 2013 and 2017. >> Read More
Mortgage Fraud Index Hits Five-Year Low
National Mortgage Professional
The holidays took a toll on mortgage fraud prosecutions as the Q4-2012 Mortgage Fraud Index sank to its lowest level in nearly five years. However, the drop appears to have only been temporary. California saw a big improvement, while the dollar volume in Florida spiked. Mortgage Daily tracked activity on 105 mortgage fraud cases for $1.3 billion during the fourth quarter. The actions are chronicled at the mortgage fraud blog FraudBlogger.com and represent activity on mostly criminal cases filed in local, state and federal courts. » Read More
Survey: Consumers Down on Economy, Up on Housing Outlook
BY: Krista Franks Brock
“Despite an uptick in concern expressed about the direction of the economy, it appears consumers believe that the housing recovery will march on,” said Fannie Mae SVP and chief economist, Doug Duncan.
The percentage of people who say the economy is on the right track declined 3 percentage points in March to 35 percent. At the same time, 21 percent of people said they expect their personal financial situation to worsen over the next 12 months, a 4 percentage point rise from the previous month. » Read More
Four MI Firms to Pay $15 Million-Plus in Penalties to the CFPB in Kick-Back Probe - National Mortgage Professional
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced four enforcement actions to end what the Bureau believes to be improper kickbacks paid by mortgage insurers to mortgage lenders in exchange for business. The CFPB filed complaints and proposed consent orders against four national mortgage insurance companies in order to stop these practices, which have been prevalent for more than 10 years. The proposed orders require the four mortgage insurers to pay more than $15 million in penalties to the CFPB. » Read More
A Pretty Good Mortgage Rate Predicter
Mortgage Rate Trend Index: April 4, 2013 By Bankrate.com
Will rates go up, down or remain unchanged?
How did Bankrate's predictions fare last week?
Results 3.73%- 2 basis ponts change (0.02%)
About the Bankrate.com Rate Trend Index
Bankrate.com surveys experts in the mortgage field to see if they believe mortgage rates will rise, fall or remain relatively unchanged. The panel is comprised of mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers and other industry experts who provide residential first mortgages to consumers. Results from Bankrate.com's Mortgage Rate Trend Index is released each Thursday.
My Disclaimer: While the Bank Rate rate panal is cool don't put much stock in Bankrate mortgage rate advertisers. From my own experience, for the most part, it is a last liar wins contest.
CoreLogic: Home Prices Continue to Show Yearly Improvement
By: Esther Cho
CoreLogic’s Home Price Index (HPI) posted its largest annual increase in nearly seven years in February.
Including distressed sales (short sales and REO transactions), home prices in February increased by 10.2 percent from February 2012, the data provider reported Wednesday. The annual gain marks the largest increase since March 2006. From January to February, prices still moved in a positive direction, but rose by just 0.5 percent. » Read More
Mortgage Rates Hit One Month Lows. Time To Lock?
Mortgage rates improved at their fastest pace in a week, bringing most lenders' rate sheet offerings to their best levels since the first few days of March. In a continued break from recent tradition, markets largely ignored the European trading overnight and instead took cues from domestic data. In this regard, a softer than expected read on employment marked the jumping off point for a healthy rally in bond markets. Bond markets include MBS, the mortgage backed securities that most directly influence mortgage rates, and when prices improve, consumer borrowing rates decline. >>Read More
Vacation Home Sales Rise 10.1 Percent in 2012
Why is that important? Increased discretionary spending is a very good sign.
Vacation home sales improved in 2012, while investment purchases remained elevated for a second consecutive year, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). NAR’s 2013 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2012, shows vacation-home sales rose 10.1 percent to 553,000 from 502,000 in 2011. Investment-home sales declined 2.1 percent to 1.21 million from 1.23 million in 2011, but those sales had been well under a million during the market downturn. Owner-occupied purchases jumped 17.4 percent to 3.27 million last year from 2.79 million in 2011. » Read More
Shadow Inventory On The Rise After 2012 Foreclosure Legislation
By Jann Swanson
A new report issued today by RealtyTrac says that the U.S. foreclosure inventory has increased by about 12 percent since May 2012 when it hit a five-year low of 1.3 million properties. Today that inventory stands at about 1.5 million and is up 9 percent form the first quarter of 2012. The foreclosure inventory consists of homes actively in the foreclosure process and bank-owned homes or REO.
RealtyTrac says it was the finalization of the National Mortgage Settlement in April 2012 that triggered the growth of the inventory which is driven by a 59 percent jump in properties in some stage of foreclosure. The inventory is down from a peak of 2.2 million properties in December 2010. » Read More
Mortgage practice concerns regulators
By Edward Wyatt, New York Times
WASHINGTON — Among the conditions imposed on most people who borrow money to buy a house, maintaining property insurance is one of the most common. If a borrower lets such a policy lapse, the lender often will protect its investment by purchasing a policy and billing the homeowner for it.
That practice, known as force-placed or lender-placed insurance, recently has attracted the attention of federal and state regulators, who say the policies often have premiums that are considerably higher than the policies they replace and might impose abusive costs on homeowners. » Read More
The Week Ahead: Big Mess in Italy Competes with Employment Data
Apr 1 2013, 8:07AM
With the failure to make any meaningful progress last week, the 2013 version of Italy's political crisis has come to a head. On the same day that US economic data showed meaningful improvements in consumer attitudes and spending, Italy's political leaders were out with long-awaited statements. But rather than indicate progress of any kind, Italy's President and representatives from all major parties were unified in their message: not only has there been no progress, but recent talks have created even more divisiveness. President Napolitano, who was credited with pulling Italy out of it's last politico-economic tailspin now characterizes efforts as "frozen between irreconcilable positions" (more from Reuters...). » Read More
Mortgage Rates Sneak Into Long Weekend Nearly Unchanged
Mortgage rates moved gently higher today, but levels were close enough to unchanged that several lenders were either in line with yesterday's rates or marginally better. The trading session for bond markets including Mortgage-backed-securities, came to an early close in honor of tomorrow's Good Friday holiday. Though there were several potential market movers in play, none of them caused a scene and trading levels moved very calmly sideways all day. Best execution (what is this?) for 30yr Fixed loans remained at 3.625% with the minor weakness being seen in the form of moderately higher borrowing costs. » Read More
BY JANN SWANSON
Freddie Mac Offers New Streamlined Modification
Freddie Mac has announced a new Streamlined Modification Program that it says will "open a new gateway to mortgage relief for many of American's stuggling borrowers." Starting July 1, servicers will proactively offer the program to eligible borrowers who are 90 or more days delinquent on mortgages that are at least 12 months old.
The new program can cut monthly mortgage payments as much as other modification programs but does not require borrowers to submit documentation. They merely accept the streamlined offer by beginning to make trial payments. The modification becomes permanent once the borrower demonstrates his or her ability to pay by completing the trial period. » Read More
Shadow Inventory Drops 2.2 Million Units in January— NationalMortgage News
CoreLogic reported that the overall shadow inventory is down 28 percent from its peak in January 2010, when it reached three million homes. Current residential shadow inventory as of January 2013 was at 2.2 million units, representing a supply of nine months. This figure represents an 18-percent drop from January 2012, when shadow inventory stood at 2.6 million units. CoreLogic estimates the current stock of properties in the shadow inventory, also known as pending supply, by calculating the number of properties that are seriously delinquent, in foreclosure and held as real estate-owned (REO) by mortgage servicers, but not currently listed on multiple listing services (MLSs). Transition rates of “delinquency to foreclosure” and “foreclosure to REO” are used to identify the currently distressed unlisted properties most likely to become REO properties. Properties that are not yet delinquent, but may become delinquent in the future, are not included in the estimate of the current shadow inventory. Shadow inventory is typically not included in the official reporting measurements of unsold inventory. » Read More
The Housing Bubble Is Back - Forbes (Karl Smith)
However, there is an ever increasing chance that this is not the future we are facing. Some time in the near future it is very likely that credit standards for homebuyers will fall. This will allow homebuyers to make larger offers and it will allow young people to buy a home even when they lack a down payment.
This rapid increase in the number of buyers and their purchasing power will likely drive home prices into a bubble. Likely not as large as 2005, but it’s not out of the question that the bubble could be even larger.
We might think – “didn’t lenders learn their lesson?” Or perhaps, “see this is what we get when we create moral hazard.” » Read More
The Day Ahead: Relatively Empty Calendar Increases Twilight Zone Potential
Imagine riding a bike, or an equivalent rote gross motor activity involving the navigation of a certain path. In this example, we'll use the bike. Now imagine riding this bike around a familiar path in a park. The weather is clear--the temperature, ideal. The pace is of your own choosing for the most part, though extra effort is required on some of the familiar hills. You might have to occasionally adjust your trajectory for a passerby, another cyclist, or a kamikaze squirrel, but for the most part, this is a path you know, on a fair day, with a fairly predictable set of eventualities and possible reactions on your part. Let this be "scenario 1." » Read More
Freddie Mac: Economic Outlook going from Gloom to Bloom
Freddie Macs senior economists Frank E. Nothaft and Leonard Kiefer said in the company's March Outlook that "the continued strengthening of the economy has brought good news for housing and mortgage markets so far this year" with nonfarm payrolls increasing by 236,000 in February and the unemployment rate dropping to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent. While the unemployment rate remains well above what would be expected in a healthy economy, it's moving in the right direction.
Near record-low mortgage rates are contributing to near record-high homebuyer affordability and housing is increasingly contributing to an economic recovery "that is poised to turn this year's spring homebuying season from gloom to bloom." » Read More Gap Closing Between Cost of Buying vs. Renting By: Esther Cho
Home price gains may be outpacing increases in rent, but the cost of being a homeowner is still much less than that of being a renter, according to Trulia’s Winter 2013 Rent vs. Buy report.
After factoring all cost components including transaction costs, taxes, and opportunity costs, Trulia found buying a home is 44 percent cheaper than renting, down slightly from 46 percent a year ago. » Read More
17 Counterintuitive Things the Most Successful People Do
You’re always going to get the same results, doing what everyone else does. Sometimes you have to know when to zig where others zag. These are some of the counterintuitive lessons I’ve learned and applied from the most successful folks I’ve met.
Pick Fights – to test others’ resolve in their own beliefs. In business you can’t turn over the reins to someone who doesn’t know how to defend their own ideas and plans.
The Day Ahead: Housing Starts and FOMC Countdown Overshadowed by Europe by Matthew Graham
Heading into a week expected to be more focused on Wednesday's FOMC Announcement, press conference, and updated forecasts, we instead got treated to the same sort of old-school Eurodrama that's kept rates near their all time lows for several years. This time around, it's Cyprus (get caught up HERE if you need to). This leaves the focus very much on the resolution (or lack thereof) of Tuesday's Parliamentary vote.
For markets, the troubling thing about Cyprus is attempting to discern which option is worse: a default or an unprecedented bank tax that suggests itself as a possibility for other Euro-zone nations despite claims that Cyprus is unique. Very likely, the better eventuality for markets will be if something actually passes the parliamentary vote because the worst effects of the bank tax have already been seen (at least as far as market reaction) and nothing is going to change the fact that the EU "tried to do this." » Read More
Hopeful Trends Continue, Inventory Still a Problem By Tory Barringer
The housing market continued to build on 2012’s positive trends last month, according to the February RE/MAX National Housing Report.
With data representing 52 metro areas, the report shows home sales rose 0.9 percent month-over-month and 2.3 percent year-over-year. According to RE/MAX, February is the 20th month in a row to see sales rise higher than they were a year before. Of the areas surveyed in February’s report, 29 reported higher sales on an annual basis, and 10 reported double-digit gains, including: Boise, Idaho (21.6 percent); Burlington, Vermont (15.4 percent); and Las Vegas, Nevada (14.1 percent). » Read More
California Home Prices Benefit from Short Inventory, Sales Suffer
BY Jann Swanson
California house prices have now risen on an annual basis for a full year according to the California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.). The median price of an existing single family home sold for $333,800 in February, down 1 percent from the January median of $337,360 but an increase of 24.2 percent from February 2012. In addition to marking a full year of annual price increases, February was the eighth consecutive month with annual increases in double digits. » Read More
US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.63 percent By Curtis Curtsinger
The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week to its highest level in seven months but remains near historic lows. Low mortgage rates have helped support the gradually recovering housing market.
Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year fixed loan rose to 3.63 percent from 3.52 percent last week.
It's the highest rate since August. But it's still near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on records dating to 1971.» Read More
BofA Said to Cut 5% of Property Appraisers Amid Slowdown - By Hugh Son -
Bank of America Corp., the second- largest U.S. lender, cut an appraisal unit’s staff by about 5 percent last month as the firm rid itself of overdue mortgages, said two people with knowledge of the move.
The dismissals from LandSafe’s workforce of more than 1,000 employees began Feb. 22, said the people, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. Those affected include appraisers, who estimate the market value of properties, and regional managers, according to a Feb. 25 staff memo from Tracy Sanderson, a LandSafe senior vice president. » Read More
US Mortgage Applications Fell Last Week as Rates Spiked:
(CNBC) Interest rates for U.S. mortgages spiked last week, sapping demand for home loans on the heels of a sharp rebound in applications the previous week, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 4.7 percent in the week ended March 8. » Read More
Jumbo Mortgage Divide Starts Shrinking
Even as mortgage rates begin to rise, the difference between conforming and jumbo loan rates is shrinking, and that is good news for buyers of higher-priced homes.
Conforming loans are largely financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and are valued at up to $417,000 — although they can be as high as $625,000 in some of the nation's pricier markets. » Read More
Mortgage Rates Highest In Nearly 10 Months After Employment Data
Mortgage rates vaulted higher Friday at their fastest pace since late January, after the Employment Situation showed an unexpectedly high number of jobs created in February. The Employment Situation is the most important piece of domestic economic data each month and always has the potential to greatly impact markets. This was indeed the case today, and it brings 30yr Fixed Best-Execution up to 3.75% for the first time since May 2012. Lenders are still offering lower rates, but at greatly increased costs. For every $100k in loan amount, you'd pay an extra $700 of closing costs to keep yesterday's rates at an average lender. On average, the costs associated with 3.625% yesterday are the same costs associated with 3.75% today.
Falling foreclosures keep national housing supply tight By Megan Hopkins •
National housing inventory remains at a traditional low, leading to healthy demand and pushing prices higher. And there is good reason for it: fewer foreclosures on the market prevent a bottoming out. The number of homes listed as for sale on Zillow dropped 16.6% year-over-year in February. » Read More
How Holder's Surprising 'Too Big to Jail' Admission Changes Debate
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder's stunning admission that it was difficult to prosecute large banks because of the potential economic impact may be a turning point of the drive to break them up.
For years, lawmakers from both political parties have questioned why some institutions appear to be "too big to jail." But in recent weeks, the issue has gained more prominence, particularly after Sen. Elizabeth Warren took center stage while grilling regulators on the issue last month. » Read More
Asking Prices Up 7.0% in February as Inventory Spiral Slows by Tory Barringer
National asking home prices have risen 7.0 percent year-over-year since bottoming out last February, Trulia revealed in its February Price Monitor Report. Seasonally adjusted, asking prices increased about 1.4 percent from January and 3.0 percent quarter-over-quarter, marking two post-recession highs. Nationally, inventory fell 23 percent year-over-year in February. Jed Kolko, Trulia's chief economist, explained that while falling inventory boosts prices, the relationship works both ways. » Read More
California’s Top Brokers By Carrie B. Reyes
Find out who excelled and who missed the list in this year’s compilation of the largest 60 brokers in California.
Which brokers are taking advantage of this crisis to capture market share? What costs might brokers be cutting or eliminating? Who among these brokers will go on to continued success? » Read More
Buyers Express Frustration By: Tory Barringer
Prospective homebuyers are starting to feel stung as the market slips away from them, according to responses in Redfin’s latest Real-Time Home-Buyer Tracker.
The survey shows a shortage of inventory and rising prices—both of which naturally benefit sellers—are creating frustration for buyers trying to get in on the ground floor of the housing recovery. According to Redfin’s findings, 79 percent of buyers who responded to the survey now believe home prices will increase in their neighborhood over the next year, up from 71 percent in Q4 2012. The share of buyers who believe prices will rise “a lot” more than doubled, increasing to 22 percent from 10 percent previously » Read More
Mortgage Rates Slip After Weeks of Flatness
Mortgage rates finally broke their holding pattern this week, pulling back as reports demonstrated the housing market's ongoing strength and the global economy's precariousness. According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.51 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending February 28, dropping from 3.56 percent previously. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.90 percent. Bankrate.com's weekly national survey showed rates falling to five-week lows. » Read More
Jumbo mortgages are back
(Reuters) - Home sales and prices are rising briskly in those neighborhoods where the well-heeled like to plant their mailboxes: along Chicago's north shore, in the San Francisco Bay area and in the haute Hamptons.
Sales of properties worth between $750,000 and $1 million are up 38.7 percent over a year ago; $1 million-plus property sales are up 25.7 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors. >>Read More
New Home Sales Jump to 4 1/2-Year High in January
New home sales jumped 15.6 percent in January--the strongest gain in 20 years--to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000, the Census Bureau and HUD reported Tuesday. The sharp increase in sales combined with steep price drops suggests builders are taking aggressive actions to pare inventories. Housing completions (as reported separately by Census and HUD) routinely exceed new home sales, and the gap between completions and sales has been widening. » Read More
Home Loan Volume Climbs 30 Percent in 2012
Mortgage origination volume continued to climb in 2012, according to data from Mortgage Daily's 2012 Mortgage Lender Ranking. According to data collected from surveys, earnings filings, and other public disclosures, loan volume across all lending firms grew 30 percent annually in 2012. In terms of production volume, Wells Fargo continued to dominate the market in Q4, reporting $125.0 billion in loans during the quarter (representing 23 percent of market share). It was followed by Chase and Quicken Loans. » Read More Stephen Colbert Savages Wells Fargo and big banks Video
FHA May Get Most-Favored Status by Brian Collins and Mark Fogarty
WE’RE HEARING that a new housing reform proposal developed by a private bipartisan commission will be very kind to the FHA mortgage insurance program.
The commission’s proposal, to be released Feb. 25, which will address a wide range of issues from affordable housing to tax policies, is expected to be supportive of FHA’s role in helping first-time and minority homebuyers.
This proposal comes as House and Senate Republicans are beating up on FHA officials. The GOP lawmakers argue that FHA should have conserved its capital instead of continuing to provide mortgage credit in the aftermath of the housing bust.
Nearly Two Million Homeowners Freed of Negative Equity in 2012
Negative equity continued to fall in the fourth quarter of 2012, dropping to 27.5 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage, compared with 31.1 percent one year ago, according to the fourth quarter Zillow Negative Equity Report. Almost two million American homeowners were freed from negative equity over the course of the year. Approximately 13.8 million homeowners with a mortgage were in negative equity, or "underwater," at the end of the fourth quarter, owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth » Read More
First Mortgage Default Rate Drops to 1.58 Percent in January,
Data through January 2013, released by S&P Dow Jones Indices and Experian for the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices, a comprehensive measure of changes in consumer credit defaults, showed a decrease in national default rates during the month. The national composite was 1.63 percent in January 2013, down from 1.72 percent in December 2012. » Read More
4 Keys to Unlock the Home-Selling Power of Video
You’ve seen the data. The vast majority of homebuyers and sellers start the process online. And when it comes to marketing anything online, video is The Next Big Thing. So, of course, it would seem to follow fairly handily that *every* agent should be marketing *every* property, neighborhood and even their own services online, right?
Supply of listings shrinks in all but a few markets
For-sale listings inventory plummeted in January to a six-year low, according to a monthly report from Realtor.com, with all but three of 146 metros tracked by the listing portal posting annual declines. In January, an average of 1.48 million homes were listed for sale, a 16.5 percent decline from January 2012 and the lowest total since Realtor.com began tracking national inventory data in January 2007. » Read More
9 Business Books That Will Change Your Life Dave Kerpen
Great leaders learn every day, and reading great books is the one of the best ways to learn. I've been fortunate enough to read some excellent books over the last fifteen years - books that have inspired me to change the way I see the world, my business, and the opportunities in front of me. In the order in which I've read them, here is a list of nine books which have changed my life. May they change yours as well: » Read More
Watchdog Report Classifies FHA as ‘High-Risk’ Program
In response to the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) capital woes in the last several years, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed Thursday it considers the agency to be a "high risk" program "due to [its] greater vulnerability to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement or the need for transformation." GAO noted that "[a]lthough required to maintain capital reserves equal to at least 2 percent of its portfolio, FHA's capital reserves have fallen below this level, due partly to increases in projected defaults on the loans it has insured." » Read More
Housing as an Investment? Yes, That Idea Is Back
Don’t look now, but with the sector resurgent—prices for single-family homes climbed in 88 percent of U.S. cities in the fourth quarter—the idea of “house as nest egg” is making a comeback. The most recent national median price for an existing single-family home is about $179,000, a 10 percent rise from a year earlier, which was the biggest gain since 2005, according to the National Association of Realtors. » Read More
Credit Association Disputes 60 Minutes Contentions of 40 Million Errors
The credit reporting industry's trade group, the Consumer Data Industry Association is vigorously disputing much of a CBS 60 Minutes (watch below) report that aired last Sunday, February 10. CDIA has issued a barrage of press releases documenting its correspondence with the show's producers and presenting its responses to the show's assertions. » Read More A growing number of metropolitan areas had higher median home prices in the fourth quarter, with the national price showing the strongest year-over-year increase in seven years, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A companion report shows record high housing affordability conditions for metro areas in 2012. The median existing single-family home price rose in 133 out of 152 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) based on closings in the fourth quarter compared with same quarter in 2011, while 19 areas had price declines. In the third quarter 120 areas showed increases from a year earlier, while in the fourth quarter of 2011 only 29 metros were up. » Read More
The Week Ahead: Sparse Calendar, Possibly Cautious into Treasury Auctions
After a reasonable amount of weakness in the morning, broader bond markets were able to ratchet down to some of their best levels since January 25th by the end of last week. Unfortunately, that's not saying much considering that 10yr yields were at roughly the same levels on 3 other days of the week. 1.95, plus or minus 0.01 has been the scene of most resistance (read: floor) bounces during that time, and while it's refreshing to not be pushing up against the ceiling at 2.04, the longer we continue to have trouble moving back through the floor, the more it does to change the long term outlook » Read More
Consumers More Optimistic About Housing, the Economy
Consumers are showing increased confidence in home sales and a greater sense of job security, according to the results of Fannie Mae's most recent National Housing Survey. January's findings show 41 percent of respondents believe home prices will go up in the next year, a decline of 2 percentage points from December's high. However, the share who believe prices will fall also dropped, returning to a survey low of 10 percent. The average 12-month home price change expectation in January was 2.4 percent. » Read More
Applications Pick Up, Purchase Volume Strongest in 18 Months
Mortgage applications saw a slight bump in the recent holiday week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The survey's Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 3.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending February 1. Capital Economics also issued its data for mortgage application activity throughout January, observing that application volume for purchase loans was the strongest it's been in a year and a half. » Read More
Home Prices Show Largest Annual Increase in Nearly Seven Years
Home prices in December posted the largest annual increase in nearly seven years according to CoreLogic's Home Price Index (HPI) report. December was also the 10th consecutive month in which home prices increased nationally. "We are heading into 2013 with home prices on the rebound," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "The upward trend in home prices in 2012 was broad based with 46 of 50 states registering gains for the year. All signals point to a continued improvement in the fundamentals underpinning the U.S. housing market recovery." » Read More
Survey: Homeownership Important to 96% of Americans
Younger generations continue to hold a more favorable view of homeownership than their elders, according to Prudential Real Estate's end-of-year Outlook Survey. The report shows homeownership remains important to 96 percent of Americans, with 77 percent of respondents ages 25-34 and 78 percent ages 35-44 agreeing it is "very important." Those percentages fall off somewhat for older generations: 73 percent for the 45-54 crowd and 72 percent for those ages 55-64. » Read More
Daily Social Media Checklist
Developing a daily plan for your social media strategy can be highly advantageous. Starting a Facebook page or Twitter account and posting occasionally is simply not enough. To optimize the usage of your social media outlets, you must establish an effective strategy that will allow you to reach many followers and friends at one time. Take time to research and organize your content. Taking a short time to prepare for the coming week can optimize your social media campaign while making it easier on yourself. Decide where to post, what to post and when to post. » Read More
Mortgage Rates Slightly Improved Ahead Of Employment Report
Mortgage rates were very slightly lower in most cases, making for marginal improvements in borrowing costs within the confines of recently higher interest rates. In other words, today's quoted rate is likely the same as yesterday's, depending on the scenario, with a token reduction in closing costs (or increase in lender credit). » Read More
FHA to adjust HECM s and mortgage insurance premiums
FHA Commissioner Carol Galante announced changes to help bolster the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund.
As part of the changes, the FHA said it "will increase its annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) for most new mortgages by 10 basis points or by 0.10 percent." >>Read More
Comptroller Discusses Fading Threats to Secondary Market
Conditions in the housing sector may have finally improved enough to bring life back to the securitization market, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said in remarks at the American Securitization Forum. One of the most critical components in turning the picture around, he said, is "[g]etting the securitization pipeline flowing again," a task that requires "clear evidence of stability" in home prices and a resolution of "the legal and regulatory uncertainties that have kept many investors on the sidelines." » Read More
Pending Home Sales Slide Back in December
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) fell 4.3 percent to 101.7 in December, the sharpest month-over-month drop since April, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday. The November index was revised down to 106.3. The December index reading was the lowest since September. Nonetheless, the NAR expressed optimism, noting the index was above year-ago levels for the 20th straight month in December (coming in at 6.9 percent above December 2011). » Read More
Mortgage Rates Hit Highest Levels In Months, More Volatility Ahead
Mortgage rates skyrocketed to their highest levels since August on Friday, both as a part of an ongoing move higher that began yesterday and more specifically in reaction to overnight events in Europe. » Read More
Mortgage Fraud Up 1.1% from Q2 to Q3 2012
A recent report from verification services provider Kroll Factual Data, Inc., shows the risk of mortgage fraud rose 1.1 percent throughout the country between the second and third quarters of 2012. The company examined metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with at least 1,000 applications per quarter and isolated certain files that may contain indicators of potential mortgage origination fraud. In some MSAs, the risk of fraud rose from the second to the third quarter by more than 50 percent. » Read More
Facebook Introduces New Search Tool
Last week, from their Menlo Park campus, Facebook announced an improvement to the popular social networking site that grabbed the media’s attention. The new feature called “Graph Search” allows you to draw connections between you and your Facebook network to find trusted recommendations to restaurants, places, events, businesses, and professionals from a specific industry (e.g. doctors, lawyers, etc.). The new Facebook feature is comparable to search engines like Google and Bing, but instead of having to search through one of the aforementioned popular search engines, you can simply search within Facebook for something to do, which business to use, or where to eat, through the collective wisdom and experience of your network. >>Read More
Dry Inventory Drags Down Existing-Home Sales in December
Existing-home sales fell 1.0 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Tuesday. According to the NAR data, December existing home sales--closed transactions--were up 12.8 percent from one year earlier. With the December sales report, NAR said the preliminary annual total for existing-home sales in 2012 was 4.65 million, up 9.2 percent from 4.26 million in 2011 and the highest volume since 2007. » Read More
Harvard Researchers Argue for New 'FHA Corporation'
A recent report from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies argues for more flexibility for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Under direction of a congressionally appointed advisory board and CEO, the new "FHA Corp." should be free to enact its own hiring process, manage its own budget and adapt to market changes "without Congress legislating each change or mandating numerous complex or inconsistent rules and regulations," researchers suggest. » Read More
Loan Officer Compensation Rules Finalized
The fourth and last of the final regulations coming from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Financial Protection Act was released Friday afternoon. This rule addresses the causes of what CFPB Director Richard Cordray said was one of the reasons for the collapse of the mortgage industry, the steering of consumers to high-priced loans. >>Read More
Housing Starts Soar in December
Builders broke ground on new homes at a yearly rate of 954,000 in December, a 12.1 percent jump over November and the highest rate since July 2008, the Census Bureau and HUD reported jointly Thursday. Applications for residential permits rose a modest 0.3 percent, and residential completions rose 1.6 percent. Single-family starts rose in December to a rate of 616,000, the strongest pace since June 2008. According to the data, multi-family starts rose in December to a pace of 330,000 from November's revised 268,000. » Read More
Builder Confidence Hits Wall in January
Builder confidence stalled in January as the Housing Market Index (HMI) stood at 47, remaining at its highest level since April 2006, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Wednesday. Economists had expected the index to tick up to 48. With the January report, the index remained below 50--the tipping point between a positive and negative market assessment--for the 81st straight month. The last time the HMI was above 50 was April 2006, when the reading was 51 and falling. » Read More
FICO Study Reveals Rising Demand for Credit
According to a recent study from FICO, U.S. banks expect an end to the household deleveraging trend observed among consumers during the past five years. The company's latest quarterly survey revealed that bankers are anticipating an uptick in customers' demand for credit. Additionally, results showed that the majority of respondents "believe the supply of financing for auto loans, credit cards, new mortgages, small business loans, student loans, and mortgage refinancing will meet or exceed consumer demand over the next six months." » Read More
HARP Continues to Drive Origination Activity
Elevated refinance activity under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) continues to support overall growth in originations, according to Lender Processing Services' (LPS) Mortgage Monitor report for November. LPS data for October--the most recent data available for its report--shows origination volume reached 857,000, 20.1 percent higher than September (which had fewer business days) and 28.2 percent above year-ago levels. Year-to-date, volume was up 49 percent. » Read More
Redfin: Housing Catches Slight Winter Cold, Still Looks Strong
The housing market felt December's chill as home sales, listings, and prices all slipped, according to Redfin's Real-Time Price Tracker. While it's not unusual to see the market cool off in the holiday season, December's decline in listings was considerable compared to the years prior. According to Redfin, listings were down 11.5 percent from November, 33 percent from December 2011, and 44 percent from December 2010. The lack of selection had a hindering effect on sales. » Read More
Final QM Rule Will Keep the GSE Loan Market Going for Years
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to keep credit flowing by allowing lenders to rely on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Housing Administration automated underwriting systems to meet the underwriting standards of the new qualified mortgage rule that was issued early Thursday morning.
During a seven-year transition period, loans approved by the GSE and FHA AU systems can exceed the 43% debt-to-income ratio and still be considered QM loans that enjoy a safe harbor from litigation. >>Read More
NAR Projects Record High for Housing Affordability in 2012
In November, the National Association of Realtors' Housing Affordability Index reached 198.2, up 1.5 points from a year ago. The association projects the index will achieve a record high of 194 for 2012. However, record high affordability doesn't necessarily translate into more homeowners, as "excessively tight underwriting precluded many would-be homebuyers from locking-in generational low interest rates," explained chief economist Lawrence Yun. » Read More
Reverse Mortgages Can Improve the Quality of Senior's Lives.
Reverse Mortgages eliminate Senior's monthly mortgage payment to increase their seniors cash flow and, depending on equity provide an additional income source. >> Read More
Clear Capital: Price recovery in most housing markets will slow down
By Megan Hopkins•
According to the latest Clear Capital home data report, national home prices are expected to increase by only 2.1% this year. The 2013 yearly gains are expected to be smaller partly because homes are starting on a higher price base, but the entire explanation is more complex than that, Clear Capital notes. >>Read More
New HUD Research Tool Offers a Wealth of Housing Data
Writers, researchers, and those interested in housing market data have a great new tool to work (or play) with, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The American FactFinder data access tool, an interactive source of information gathered from the 2011 American Housing Survey (AHS) has a wealth of information on the nation's homes and how their occupants live in, finance, and feel about them.>> Read More
YEA! MI is Tax deductible through 2013.
Basic guidelines can be found on the MGIC website.
Survey of Economists Finds Rising Optimism for Home Prices
A survey of economists conducted by Pulsenomics and published by Zillow shows high hopes for home prices in 2013 and beyond. According to the survey, economists expect home prices will increase by 3.1 percent in 2013 after finishing 2012 with a 4.6 percent gain. In September, survey panelists projected more modest gains, predicting prices would rise by 2.4 percent in 2013 and increase overall by 2.3 percent in 2012. Zillow found predictions for prices in 2013 averaged as high as 4.9 percent among the optimistic panelists. » Read More
Why we need to break up Bank of America by Christopher Whalen
For some time now I have argued that Bank of America needs to be restructured via a bankruptcy of the parent company. The reason for this apostate view about one of the nation’s largest banks? The growing mass and intensity of securities fraud litigation against Bank of America and its subsidiaries like Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch. >> Read More
If 2012 was a year of housing uncertainty, what will 2013 bring?
by Kerri Ann Panchuk
I'd like to say the year 2012 brought change to the mortgage finance industry.
After all, the Mayans predicted big things for 2012. But much like Mayan prophecy, the mortgage finance market — the juice housing survives on — ended on a less-than climactic tone as policymakers continued to wrangle over the impending fiscal cliff and mortgage rates continued to hang near record lows.
Home affordability also was high in 2012, but with lending still too tight in certain quarters and consumers still somewhat tepid, the full benefits of cheap housing and low rates failed to take housing to astronomical heights, although the market did improve. >> Read More
30-year, fixed-rate mortgage finishes year near record lows
By Kerri Ann Panchuk• Mortgage rates closed out the year near record lows, keeping home affordability at a significant high as the nation and housing market moves towards an uncertain future in 2013.
While the fiscal cliff and the country's financial issues are impacting overall confidence, mortgage rates continue to foster an affordable housing market. >>Read More
Are Foreclosure & Unforeclosed Prices Really Different?
LO Education and Bank vs. Non-bank Requirements Under the SAFE Act;
by Rob Chrisman
Last week the commentary mentioned LO education for borrowers, but how about LO education itself? I received some thoughtful notes on the subject. "For the past year I have been helping loan officers prepare to pass the federal and state test. The potential MLO's are new, and a large percentage are from the banking side of the industry. The 80 loan officers I have worked with shows me that the loan officer coming from the banking side are not understanding of the laws and are having a very difficult time passing the test. >>Read More
Housing recovery sustained with 4.3% uptick in prices
By Kerri Ann Panchuk• December 26, 2012 • 8:16am
Home prices continued to rise in October with prices up 4.3% annually within the 20-city composite index produced for the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
S&P says the 4.3% uptick in home prices signifies a "sustained recovery" in home prices. It also shows some consistency across research firms with Lender Processing Services ($24.60 0%) also reporting that prices are up 4.3% year-over-year in October. The S&P 10-city composite index posted a 3.4% annual gain in October, which is steeper than the 2.1% jump in September. » Read More
Industry Reps Call for Preservation of Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction
As Washington engages in a standoff over budgetary proposals to avert the fiscal cliff, several industry professionals and associations are calling upon lawmakers to avoid slaughtering what was once thought to be a sacred cow: the mortgage interest tax deduction (MID). While many housing professionals view the deduction as a break for homeowners and an incentive for others to purchase their own homes, critics call the MID a "subsidization of the real estate industry." » Read More
Zillow: Home Values Inch Up in November
On a monthly basis, home values inched up by 0.6 percent to $156,200 in November, according to Zillow's Home Value Index. Compared to November 2011, home values have increased by 5.2 percent, which is the biggest yearly gain since August 2006. Twenty-six of the 30 largest metros tracked by Zillow registered yearly gains. Not surprisingly, Phoenix led with a 23.2 percent increase. The metro was followed by San Jose (+13.4 percent), San Francisco (+12.1 percent), Las Vegas (+11 percent), and Denver (+10.8 percent). » Read More
Galante signals cessation of FHA-insured reverse mortgage product
By Kerri Ann Panchuk•
Carol Galante, acting commissioner of the Federal Housing Agency, informed a U.S. Senator that the FHA is calling for a moratorium on its Standard Fixed Rate Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). In a letter to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Galante confirmed plans to place the well-known reverse-mortgage product into moratorium by Jan. 31, 2013. » Read More
Mortgage applications fall as some rates rise By Kerri Ann Panchuk•
"Despite the Federal Reserve’s announcement last week that it would purchase an additional $45 billion in Treasury securities per month as part of its continuing quantitative easing effort, rates increased in the second half of the week," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics. "As a result, refinance applications dropped sharply to the lowest level in over a month." » Read More
Builder Confidence Sees Another Boost in December
Builder confidence continued to improve in December as the Housing Market Index (HMI) rose two points to 47--its highest level since April 2006--the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Tuesday. It was the eighth straight monthly increase in the index and matched economist expectations. Two of the three components of the index improved--the measures of current sales and buyer traffic--while the gauge of sales six months out slipped one point from the revised November reading of 52 (down from the original 53). » Read More
More Buyers Expect Price Gains, Few Concerned over Fiscal Cliff
The number of homebuyers who think the price recovery will continue through 2013 has more than doubled throughout 2012, according to Redfin's latest Real-Time Homebuyer Survey. According to Redfin, 71 percent of homebuyers believe prices will increase in their neighborhood in the next year, up from 61 percent in the third quarter and more than twice the 34 percent in the first-quarter survey. The number of buyers who are considering holding off on their purchase to see if prices will drop also declined, falling to about 5 percent. » Read More
AEI Report Calls Out FHA's 'Abusive Lending Practices'
A study from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) asserts the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is inadvertently setting the country up for another housing collapse. In a report titled How the FHA Hurts Working-Class Families and Communities, AEI resident fellow and former Fannie Mae EVP Edward Pinto says an analysis of FHA's books for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 show the agency's "lending practices are inconsistent with its mission and represent a disservice to American working-class families and communities." » Read More
Mortgage Rates Edge Up To Highest Levels In December by Matthew Graham
Mortgage rates continued higher on Thursday following stronger-than-expected economic data and continuing the losses after yesterday's FOMC announcement. There continues to be more stratification between lenders' rate offerings than normal. Some rate sheets are marginally better than yesterday's latest while a few big lenders are significantly worse. On average, rates are at their highest levels of the month today and Best-Execution is back up to 3.375% for a majority of lenders. >>Read More
Falling Rates, Booming Refi Demand Boost Application Activity
A plunge in mortgage interest rates gave lift to applications for the first week of December, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.The survey's Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, increased 6.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending December 7. The increase was propelled mostly by a surge in refinance applications, though the fact that mortgage interest rates hit a survey low likely helped. » Read More
Asking Prices Increase, Discounts on the Decline
Asking prices on homes improved on a yearly basis for the seventh straight month in November, according to the latest Residential Price Index (RPI) report from FNC, Inc.
The median home asking price in November was $190,000, mostly flat from October. However, that figure stands 6.1 percent above its year-ago level. November’s year-over-year increase was the fourth largest one this year and the biggest gain since July (which saw a 10.6 percent bump in prices compared to a year ago) » Read More
FHA Flipping Waiver Extended
For properties that do not meet the property flipping exception criteria, the property flipping waiver was recently extended through 12/31/14.
While the waiver is designed to assist in the sale of excess inventory due to foreclosures, it is not limited to only foreclosed properties. However, the waiver does not apply the HECM transactions. >> Read More
Ex-IndyMac Execs Ordered to Pay $169M for Negligent Loans By: Tory Barringer
A Los Angeles jury ruled that three former IndyMac Bank officers must pay $169 million in damages to the FDIC for making “negligent loans” to homebuilders, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The FDIC’s suit, filed in 2010, alleged that Scott Van Dellen (former CEO of IndyMac’s Homebuilder Division), Richard Koon (former chief lending officer), and Kenneth
Shellem (former chief credit officer) caused $500 million in losses by pushing for loans before the real estate crash without taking into consideration credit quality >> Read More
Forecast Revises as Market Strengthens By: Tory Barringer
Strong positive indicators in the housing market have Capital Economics revising its predictions on growth in 2013 and beyond. The firm's most recent US Housing Market Analyst report predicts "further strong gains in home sales and housing starts in 2013," as well as improvements in prices and mortgage activity. While the forecast downplays the downside risks from today's unresolved financial crises, the company points out that there are also upside risks as supply conditions tighten. » Read More
Mortgage Rates Mixed as Markets Await Jobs Report, Fiscal Cliff News
Fixed mortgage rates stayed relatively calm this week as economic indicators showed improved strength, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The 30-year fixed averaged 3.34 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending December 6, up from the previous week's average of 3.32 percent. This week's average is only three basis points up from the survey's record low (achieved the week ending November 21). While Freddie Mac's survey showed increases in fixed rates, Bankrate's weekly survey saw them slipping to new lows. » Read More
Fiscal Cliff Puts Housing Mementum at Sever Risk By: Carrie Bay
As the fiscal cliff draws closer, Clear Capital says 2012's housing market momentum is severely at risk, with the lowest performing metro markets likely to become tell-tale demonstrations that the recovery is not nearly strong enough to be immune to seasonal slowdowns or fiscal constraints. While the recovery may be healthy enough to ride out the slow winter, the firm expects today's potential homebuyers will become tomorrow's renters should they be hit with the burden of higher taxes. » Read More
Foreclosure starts drop 21.9% on mortgage servicing settlement
By Kerri Ann Panchuk• December 5, 2012
The National Mortgage Settlement and provisions it outlined for mortgage servicers may have accounted for a steep 21.9% drop in foreclosure starts in October, according to Lender Processing Services' Mortgage Monitor.
Year-over-year, October's foreclosure starts were even lower, down 47.8% from the same month in 2011. >>Read More
How rising home prices may stall the housing recovery
Home prices have been rising steadily for the past several months, but some fear the rapid increase could actually start hurting the housing recovery.
The reason is that the rise in prices is mainly due to investors, mostly large hedge funds, that have been swooping into the most distressed markets and inhaling properties as fast as their plentiful cash will allow. They are turning those properties into rentals, and getting anywhere from 8 to 12 percent returns on their investments, thanks to still hot demand. The trouble is, as home prices rise, those returns shrink. >>Read More
House Passes HR 1629, Immigration Legislation to be Funded by G-Fee Increase. Home Buyers Pay For Immigration. by Jann Swanson
The House of Representatives passed HR 1629 , the STEM Jobs Act of 2012 on Friday afternoon even as opposition to the funding of the measure was getting organized. The bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to make up to 55,000 visas available to qualified immigrants with certain advanced degrees...>> Read More
October Pending Home Sales Reach 5-Year High By: Mark Lieberman, Five
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) jumped 5.2 percent in October to 104.8, its highest level since March 2007, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Thursday. Economists had expected a smaller increase to 100.5.
The September index was revised up to 99.6 from the originally reported 99.5. >>Read More
MBA questions g-fee hike to help pay immigrant visas By Kerri Ann Panchuk
David Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, is pushing back against a House proposal to extend g-fee hikes on government-backed mortgages to cover costs related to an immigration bill. >>Read More
Freddie Mac's October Volume Highest in More than 3 Years By: Tory Barringer
Freddie Mac’s total mortgage portfolio continued to shrink in October, but increased purchase and issuance volume pushed the company closer to positive growth for the first time in more than a year and a half.
According to the GSE’s monthly volume summary, its mortgage portfolio contracted at an annualized rate of 0.8 percent in October, a significant leap from negative 9.4 percent in September. It’s also a step up from October 2011, when the company reported negative 5.2 percent growth in its total portfolio. Year-to-date, the portfolio has shrunk at an average annualized pace of 6.0 percent >> Read More
Consumer Confidence Reaches Highest Level in Nearly 5 Years
By: Tory Barringer
After reaching a year-to-date high in October, consumer confidence continued to climb in November, according to The Conference Board’s recently released Consumer Confidence Index. The index, which is based on survey conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, “posted a moderate increase” in November, rising to 73.7 from 73.1 previously. According to Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, the index is now at its highest level in more than four and a half years. » Read More
Mortgage Fraud Remains Concentrated in Some Areas By: Esther Cho
The national mortgage fraud index fell to the lowest level in two years after spiking in the previous quarter, according to data from Interthinx. .
The number of metropolitan areas in the very high risk category also declined, falling to 70 in the third quarter from 91 in the second quarter.
Two states—California and Florida—accounted for more than half of the very high risk metros.>> Read More
Self-fulfilling prophecies: the real estate bubble both ways By Jeffery Marino •
Do buyer expectations ultimately shape real estate prices? This article examines both sides of the real estate bubble and proposes that ending vicious real estate cycles will remove the power of herd mentality.
First a fever, then a cold
Robert Shiller recently published a landmark study in the behavioral economics of the real estate crisis. He and Karl Case conducted a ten-year survey of homebuyer price expectations. The survey attempts to answer the question: what have homebuyers been thinking? Read More
Deutsche Bank analysts expect pressure to extend HARP By Christina Mlynski•
Over the next six months Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are expected to exhaust their own supply of Home Affordable Refinance Program eligible borrowers.
However, the remaining pool of homeowners still eligible for HARP will lead to pressure for an extension past the Dec. 31, 2013 deadline, according to Deutsche Bank.
At the end of 2011, 45% of the outstanding borrowers in 6% pools were HARP-eligible. Since then, Chase and Wells Fargo are closer to this limit than any other major lenders, stated analysts Doug Bendt and Jeff Ryu in report to investor clients. >> Read More
Housing Starts, Completions Rise in October as Permits Dip
By: Mark Lieberman
Housing starts rose 3.6 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 894,000—the highest level since July 2008—but permits for new residential construction fell, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported jointly Tuesday.
Housing completions soared in October, up 14.5 percent during the month to 772,000, the highest level since June 2010. The increase in completions was led by a 5.3 percent jump in multifamily completions. Single-family completions in October reached their highest level since June 2010, increasing to 542,000 >> Read More
Redfin: October Home Sales Defy Usual Slowdown By: Tory Barringer
Home sales saw a substantial surge in October, according to real-time data from technology-powered real estate broker Redfin.
According to Redfin’s Real-Time Home Price Tracker for October 2012, home sales increased 9.8 percent across 19 major U.S. markets from September to October, an unusual gain in a month that commonly sees monthly declines of at least 5 percent. Compared to October 2011, sales were up 21.8 percent >> Read More
NAHB: Home Affordability Increases in Q3 By: Tory Barringer
Home affordability continued to rise in the third quarter even as home prices inched up, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
The association’s Home Opportunity Index (HOI) revealed 74.1 percent of all homes sold in Q3 were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,000. That percentage was up slightly from 73.8 percent in the second quarter>> Read More
Fixed Mortgage Rates Drop to Record Lows, Analysts Unsure What's Next
Fixed mortgage rates dropped to all-time record lows “amid indicators of higher consumer confidence and lower wholesale prices,” according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
According to the survey, the rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.34 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending November 15, down from 3.40 percent the week before. The previous low record for the 30-year fixed was 3.36 percent, set the week of October 4 this year. >> Read More
Freddie Mac Examines Timeline for ‘Healthy’ Recovery By: Tory Barringer
The housing market is slowly but surely getting back up to speed, but don’t expect it to recover to peak levels, Freddie Mac says in its latest U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook.
In the November outlook, Freddie Mac takes into account recent trends, housing indicators, shifting demographic patterns to put together a picture of what makes a “healthy” housing market. According to the GSE’s projections, the current trajectory of the recovery should bring the market to a healthy state by 2017 >>Read More
Real Estate Agents Lead the Way to Keep Your Home California
When a homeowner starts to struggle with their mortgage payments, they often don’t know where to turn. Concerns about scam artists and a general mistrust of banks and lenders dissuade some homeowners from looking for help. That’s where licensed real estate agents come in.
At Keep Your Home California, we’ve found that the first person distressed homeowners often turn to is their real estate agent.
As a trusted source for advice and assistance, you can help homeowners find out more about Keep Your Home California and the many ways the programs can help families avoid foreclosure, reduce their mortgage payments and stay in their home for years to come. >> Read More
NAR Releases Projections on Housing, Economy By: Esther Cho
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) offered market projections into 2014 during a forum at the 2012 Realtors Conference and Expo.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says he expects the market share of distressed sales to fall from about 25 percent in 2012 to 8 percent in 2014, according to a release on the forum >>Read More
Demand Loses Steam in October as Home Tours, Offers Fall By: Tory Barringer
Housing has made significant strides in 2012, but the market may close out the year with a whimper, according to data in Redfin’s Real-Time Demand Pulse for November.
Data collected from October shows the number of customers requesting home tours fell 3.0 percent from the previous month.
At the same time, the number of offers signed see-sawed from week to week, leading to an overall 3.8 percent decline at month-end >>Read More
Tight inventories, rising home prices complicate appraisals By Dian Hymer,
Resourceful agents can dig up information to support valuations
Recent surveys by the National Association of Realtors found that about one in three Realtors have experienced contract problems related to home appraisals during the last three months.
The surveys showed 15 percent of Realtors had a contract renegotiated to a lower sales price as a result of a low valuation, while 11 percent said they had a contract cancelled because a home's appraised value came in below the negotiated price. Another 9 percent reported that a contract was delayed by a low valuation. >>Read More
Mortgage rates, bank stocks plunge post election By Christina Mlynski•
The Dow Jones industrial average is plunging post-election, falling by as much as 245 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index also falling as much as 27, or 1.6%, with bank stocks taking some of the biggest losses.
Investors are selling off because of the fear of what a fiscal cliff negotiation will mean, said chief investment strategist James Paulsen at Wells Capital Management in a statement >> Read More
Economy Steering Fewer People Away from Housing By: Tory Barringer :
Fewer people are being kept out of the housing market because of the economic climate, according to a national survey by FindLaw.com, a legal information website.
According to the survey, the number of people who say the current economic situation makes them more likely to buy a house increased three percentage points to 11 percent >> Read More
October Asking Prices Up in Biggest Yearly Gain to Date By: Tory Barringer
Asking prices rose 0.7 percent from September to October, based on for-sale homes data from Trulia.
According to data collected from Trulia’s listings, asking prices on for-sale homes increased 2.9 percent year-over-year in October, the largest yearly gain to date. Excluding foreclosures, year-over-year asking prices rose 3.6 percent. Out of the 100 largest metros covered, 69 posted increases in asking prices >> Read More
Wells Fargo: Federal Suit Violates National Settlement By: Tory Barringer
The U.S. government is violating the terms of the national mortgage settlement with its recently filed lawsuit against Wells Fargo, attorneys for the bank argue.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed suit against Wells Fargo in early October alleging “more than 10 years of misconduct” in connection with the bank’s participation in the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Direct Endorsement Lender Program. The lawsuit alleges Wells Fargo misrepresented the underwriting quality of its FHA-insured mortgages, costing the government hundreds of millions of dollars after many of those loans defaulted >>Read More
Mortgage Rates Hover as Uncertainty Reigns By: Tory Barringer
Fixed mortgage rates fell back slightly to start November as investors anxiously wait for signs of which direction the economy is headed.
According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.39 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending November 1, down from 3.41 percent in the previous week. >> Read More
Falling Supply to Create Spike in New Home Prices By: Tory Barringer
The U.S. housing market “has entered a sustainable period of improving conditions,” Pro Teck Valuations CEO Tom O’Grady says in the company’s most recent Home Value Forecast. Pointing to “very low mortgage rates, stable to rising home prices, declining unemployment, declining housing inventories and a strong rental market,” O’Grady says housing is in a good position to continue growth. Those positive trends should lead to growth in the overall economy, he adds >> Read More
Homeownership Increases in Q3, Rate Remains Flat By: Mark Lieberman,
The number of owner-occupied homes reached 75,076,000 in the third quarter, increasing from 74,832,000 in the second but down from 75,251,000 a year ago, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. At the same time, the nation’s homeownership rate (seasonally adjusted) remained at 65.5 percent>>Read More
Wells Fargo Issues Refunds to Overcharged Borrowers By Tory Barringer
Wells Fargo has issued thousands of refund checks to home loan customers who paid unnecessary mortgage fees, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
According to the newspaper, Wells Fargo sent out refunds to as many as 10,000 customers along with letters explaining that they had paid too much. The Los Angeles Times broke the story after obtaining a copy of one of the letters; no public announcement from the company has been made about the checks.>> MReport
Analysts Examine Bernanke's Bet on Housing By: Krista Franks Brock
As the Federal Reserve launches its QE3 monetary policy, some interpret the plan as a sign Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has "gone 'all in' on the U.S. housing market" and is clinging to hope the housing market can not only recover itself, but also restore the entire U.S. economy. This, at least, is the outlook of Global Markets Intelligence (GMI) Research. The research firm suggests the Fed is turning to the housing market "as the last, best hope" for strengthening the overall economy. » MReport
Study: New Mortgage Rules Could Shrink Lending by 20%.
Pending mortgage regulations could lock today’s tight lending standards in place and result in nearly 20% fewer mortgages being issued in the coming years, restraining home sales and construction, according to a new study.
The report from the American Action Forum, a center-right think tank, provides an estimate of the potential impact of three important mortgage regulations set to take effect next year:
Together, the new rules “will raise the cost of borrowing for millions of home buyers and tighten access to credit beyond pre-boom standards, a period of much more responsible lending than in the lead-up to the housing crisis,” says the AAF paper.>>Wall Street Journal
U.S. sues Bank of America over 'Hustle' mortgage fraud
REUTERS - The United States filed a civil mortgage fraud lawsuit against Bank of America Corp, accusing it of selling thousands of toxic home loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that went into default and caused more than $1 billion of losses. Wednesday's case, originally brought by a whistleblower, is the U.S. Department of Justice's first civil fraud lawsuit over mortgage loans sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. >>Reuters
Great Recession creates 4.8 million renters By Kerri Ann Panchuk•
The United States added 4.8 million renters in the past six years while losing 1.7 million owner households as the dynamics of the real estate space changed in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The market experienced additional changes in the first nine months of 2012, creating unexpected outcomes in the housing finance sector, prompting the MBA to alter its forecast for 2012. >>Housing Wire
Mortgage Rates Unchanged To Slightly Higher by Matthew Graham
Mortgage rates were steady to very slightly higher in most cases on Monday, though some lenders were in slightly better territory than on Friday. Market movements were fairly subdued with the all of today's trading in Treasuries and Mortgage Markets contained inside the range established by Friday's highs and lows. Conventional 30yr Fixed Best- Execution remained at 3.375%>>Mortgage News Daily
Existing Home Sales Decline; Prices Rise for Seventh Consecutive Month By Jann Swanson
Existing home sales declined slightly in September, but the national median home price rose as inventories tightened. The National Association of Realtors® said that completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops were down 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.75 million units in September. August sales were revised upward from 4.82 million to 4.83 million. The September number is 11.0 percent higher than existing home sales in September 2011 which were at an annual rate of 4.28 million.>>Mortgage News Daily
Home Price Gains Boost Consumer Spending in September By: Tory Barringer
A significant increase in home prices helped push Deloitte’s Consumer Spending Index up in September, the company reported. The index, which tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending, rose to 3.53 from 3.27 in August. A substantial 10.5 percent bump in housing prices accounted for much of the overall increase>> MReport
Mortgage Rates Continue Improving To End The Week by Matthew Graham
After improving for the first time in a week yesterday, Mortgage rates moved slightly lower again on Friday. That said, late day market weakness may lead some lenders to recall initial rates sheets and raise rates/fees modestly. Even then, rates would still be at their best levels of the week with more lenders today joining the ranks of those already back down to a 3.25% Best-Execution for 30yr Fixed Conventional loans. >> Mortgage News Daily
Distressed Sales Leading to Inaccurate Appraisals By: Esther Cho
Inflated appraisals were identified as one of the causes of the housing bubble, and now undervalued appraisals are viewed as a reason for a stalled recovery.
In a September National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey related to home appraisals over the past three months, 11 percent of Realtors said a contract was cancelled because a home was appraised at a value below the negotiated price >>MReport
Foreclosures hit 5-year low By Kerri Ann Panchuk
Foreclosure activity reached a 5-year low in September with only 180,427 filings made on distressed properties, RealtyTrac said Thursday. The filings surveyed include default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions. Overall, September's foreclosure numbers fell 7% from August and 16% from last year as more non-judicial foreclosure states moved through backlogs of foreclosure inventory. >>HousingWire
Property Flipping Gaining Momentum in 2012
With home prices still near historic lows and rental rates on the rise, several investors who have sizable cash are now entering the flipping market to make a profit on the influx of distressed assets that are available throughout the country. According to RealtyTrac, nearly 100,000 properties have been flipped nationwide in the first half of 2012. This is a substantial increase over the previous two years by 25% and 27%, respectively >>Mortgage Technology
Mortgage Rates Very Slightly Higher To Begin The Week by Matthew Graham
Mortgage rates rose gently to begin the holiday-shortened week despite improvements in the underlying bond markets. Some lenders' rate sheets are little changed from Friday's latest offerings while others are marginally higher in cost with no change to the Best-Execution rates, which moved higher from 3.25% to 3.375% after Friday's jobs report >>Mortgage News Daily
Cash Buying Down in 2012 as Non-Investors Return By: Tory Barringer
The percentage of homes purchased with cash nearly doubled between 2006 and 2011, even as mortgage rates fell into free-fall, research firm Hanley Wood Market Intelligence reported. Analysts Jonathan Dienhart and Ken Lee revealed that between 2006 and 2011, the share of homes purchased with cash jumped from 22 percent to 40 percent. The upward trend finally stalled in 2012 with a drop back to 38 percen >>MReport
Rising Home Values Bring Equity to Highest Level Since 2008
By: Tory Barringer
Rising home values in September brought homeowner equity to its highest level since the third quarter of 2008, according to the Obama administration’s latest Housing Scorecard. The scorecard was a little more positive than it has been in recent months, though officials continued to caution that the overall recovery is still fragile >>MReport
Calif. hands trial lawyers 'nuclear weapon' to use against mortgage industry By Kerri Ann Panchuk•
The Homeowner Bill of Rights launched in California not only changed hundreds of years of real estate law, it may have turned the West Coast state into a judicial foreclosure state with financial firms on high alert, legal experts claim.
"In California, they just gave trial lawyers a nuclear weapon to use against the industry," said Bob Jackson, president and attorney at Irvine, Calif.-based Jackson & Associates >>Housing Wire
Low Mortgage Rates Fuel Rise in Applications By: Tory Barringer
Mortgage application volume increased 16.6 percent in the week ending September 28, according to MBA’s Mortgage Composite Index. On an unadjusted basis, the index increased 17 percent compared with the previous week. MBA also reported an increase in its Purchase Index, which rose 4 percent (both adjusted and unadjusted) from one week earlier and 11 percent year-over-year >> MReport
'Fiscal Cliff' Could Send Real Estate Prices Tumbling By: Carrie Bay
Recent gains in housing are closely linked to rising consumer confidence, according to numbers juxtaposed and analyzed by Clear Capital in its latest report on home price movements. The feeble underpinnings of price increases, however, could soon topple, according to the real estate valuation company >>MReport
Fed Study Points to Wisdom of Further HARP Enhancements By Jan Swanson
Economists have been debating the value versus risk of expanded refinancing opportunities since the early days of the housing crisis. Proponents argue that refinancing would free up homeowner money for spending elsewhere to the benefit of the economy, opponents fear that since the Federal Housing Administration and the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) are realistically the only source of refinancing currently available, any risk inherent in refinancing will disproportionately fall the government. >>Mortgage News Daily
Housing Alert: Short Sales May Be in Big Trouble By: Diana Olick
As lenders plow through a backlog of over five million delinquent mortgages, short sales are becoming an ever more popular escape route. A short sale is when the bank allows a home to be sold for less than the value of the mortgage. The bank takes the loss, but that loss is generally less than a more costly foreclosure.
The government has been pushing more short sales at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through financial incentives, and banks are streamlining the process. Short sales have been gaining so much steam, they actually surpassed sales of foreclosed properties last spring, according to LPS Applied Analytics’ Home Price Index. But all the progress that has been made could end abruptly. >>CNBC
Mortgage Rates Move Higher For The First Time In Two Weeks
by Matthew Graham
Mortgage rates finally broke their unprecedented winning streak on Thursday as rates moved higher for the first time since the Fed announced it's third round of quantitative easing on September 14th. The 10 straight sessions of improving rates crossed into new all-time low territory earlier this week, and even after today's weakness, it's still the 3rd best day in the history of mortgage rates. Best execution levels continue hovering firmly at 3.25% for 30yr Fixed Conventional Loans >>Mortgage News Daily
First-Time Home Buyers: 31 Percent of Residential Buyers
by Scholastica (Gay) Cororaton, Approximately 31 percent of REALTORS® who responded to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index survey reported making a sale to first-time home buyers. Normally first-time buyers are in the neighborhood of 40 percent of total residential sales, according to NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. The proportion of first-time home buyers hit a peak of approximately 50 percent in 2009. Most first-time buyers obtain a mortgage: About 8.7 percent of REALTORS® who made a first-time home buyer sale reported a cash sale (compared to 10.8 percent in July). National Association of Realors
FHFA House Price Index Up 0.2 Percent in July
Washington, DC – U.S. house prices rose 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from June to July, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s monthly House Price Index. The previously reported 0.7 percent increase in June was revised downward to a 0.6 percent increase. For the 12 months ending in July, U.S. prices rose 3.7 percent. The U.S. index is 16.4 percent below its April 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the June 2004 index level.
Already At All-Time Lows, Mortgage Rates Continue to Drop
Mortgage rates begin the week at new all-time lows yet again after falling significantly from last week's series of previous all-time lows. Markets have been quite calm during domestic hours, but interest rates moved slightly lower overnight before domestic trading hours. With bond markets holding steady to slightly improved since then, mortgage lenders continue to pass on those improvements in the form of more aggressive rate sheets. >>Mortgage News Daily
The days needed to close loans increased in August
The time it took to close a loan was 49 days in August, up just one day from July’s closing time.
Refinance closings took a little longer than purchase closings in August, same as July. It took 51 days to close a refinance loan in August, up fom 48 days in July.>> MReport
Exclusive: U.S. mortgage task force to act soon
By Karen Freifeld
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The mortgage task force formed by President Barack Obama to probe misconduct that contributed to the financial crisis will soon take legal action, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Thursday. >>Reuters
Existing home sales increase 9.3% in August
By Justin T. Hilley• September 19, 2012
Existing home sales rose 9.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million in August from the 4.41 million seen a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. The figure is 7.8% above July’s 4.47 million.>> HousingWire
Mortgage Applications Steady as Average Rates Reach Historic Lows
by Jann Swanson
Applications for mortgages during the week ended September 14 were virtually unchanged from the previous week according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, increased 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week which was shortened by the Labor Day holiday. On an unadjusted basis it rose 24 percent. >>Mortgage News Daily
Fannie Mae moving REO management in-house By Jacob Gaffney
The use of third parties to help Fannie Mae sell its REO properties is coming to an end.
Fannie Mae notified remaining vendors that the government-sponsored enterprise will transition all REO sales work completely to Fannie Mae's in-house teams over the course of the next several months.>>Housingwire
New Fannie Mae Guidelines Allow Verification of Assets in Lieu of Income
by Jann Swanson Late Friday Fannie Mae gave borrowers and lenders an alternative to documenting income for Refi Plus loans where payment increases will be under 20 percent. Rather than requiring that at least one of the borrowers has a documented source of income, Fannie Mae will now accept verification of liquid financial reserves equal to at least 12 months of the new mortgage payment (PITIA). >> Mortgage News Daily
Congress Gets Bill Prohibiting Eminent Domain Mortgage Seizures
Congress just stepped into the dispute over the right of Chicago and two communities in California to use eminent domain on behalf of local homeowners. Representative John Campbell (R-CA) today introduced a bill titled The Defending American Taxpayers from Abusive Government Takings Act which would prohibit the four major government sponsored mortgage providers from buying loans in any community who do what is proposed in Chicago, Berkeley and San Bernardino County, California.>> Mortgage News Daily
Voters, Clueless about Fiscal Cliff, In for a Shock By ERIC PIANIN ,
The nation may be barreling towards a fiscal cliff that has policymakers in Washington gnashing their teeth and wringing their hands, but lawmakers just returning from a five-week congressional recess say the crisis hasn’t quite penetrated the consciousness of many of their constituents >> The Fiscal Times
Mortgage Rates Flat To Slightly Higher Ahead Of Week's Major Events
by Matthew Graham
Mortgage rates are somewhat higher again today after news out of Europe created market momentum overnight in favor of higher stock prices and higher bond yields. When bond yields move higher, mortgage rates are generally moving higher as well although today's rates did a fairly good job of holding steady at the prevailing best execution rate of 3.5% for 30yr Fixed Convention>> Mortgage News Daily
Rethinking Adjustable-Rate Mortgages By:Kirk Haverkamp MortgageLoan.com
You don’t hear a lot about adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) these days. That’s too bad, because they’re still a good choice for many homebuyers, believe it or not.
ARMs can be a very smart choice for homebuyers who are not planning to stay in the home more than a few years. Think about it – if you’re planning to sell the home within seven years, as many homeowners do, what difference does it make if you have a seven-year ARM? Why not take advantage of the lower rate and pocket the difference? >>MortgageLoan.com
Mortgage debt relief may bring new pain: a tax bill
By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Struggling homeowners who obtain reductions in their mortgage debt face a new obstacle starting next year -- a bill for taxes on that aid.
A special exemption of as much as $2 million per household in principal reduction and other aid from banks, in place since 2007, is set to expire at year's end.>>Mercury News.com
Mortgage Application Volume Down for 5th Straight Week by Jann Swanson
Mortgage applications declined again during the week ended August 31, down 2.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from a week earlier. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, was down 3 percent on an unadjusted basis from the week ended August 24.>>Mortgage News Daily
The Day Ahead: After Weeks Of Waiting, Things Get Serious by Matthew Graham
In case you missed it, the ECB has been doing everything it can to telegraph today's policy changes. This began as early as late July's "London speech" from ECB President Mario Draghi in which he promised to do whatever was necessary "to preserve the euro," further adding, "and believe me, it will be enough!" >>Mortgage News Daily
Mortgage Rates Move Lower, Closer To Historic Lows
Fixed mortgage rates were down this week for both the 30 year and 15 year home loan products, reports mortgage rate research website, BurlingtonMortgage.biz. Rate and fee combinations posted in the rate tables on the website reflected the decrease in the cost of home financing>> Yahoo News
Distressed Sales Continued to Decline in Market Share
by Jed Smith, According to the July REALTORS® Confidence Index report (RCI), twenty-four percent of respondents reported selling distressed property (foreclosed and short sales), lower than last year’s figure of 31 percent. Cash sales accounted for 39 percent of distressed sales. Respondents reported multi-bidding on foreclosed and short sale properties and also experiencing a frustrating lending and appraisal process.
Five Questions: Will I Owe Taxes on Forgiven Mortgage Debt?
By Nick Timiraos
A key tax provision set to expire at the end of the year could trip up the Obama administration’s push to have banks forgive mortgage debt more often for borrowers who are underwater.
Five years ago, Congress passed a law, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, that would prevent households from having to treat certain types of forgiven mortgage debt as taxable income.
If the provision expires as scheduled on Dec. 31, it could throw a wrench not only into efforts to trim loan balances for underwater borrowers, but also for short sales. >> Wall Street Journal