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MBS RECAP: Bonds Confirm Yesterday's Strength

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Yesterday was an important one for anyone hoping NOT to see the bond market completely give up hope in the fight against higher rates. To be fair, the fundamental realities in place over the past few years have clearly pointed toward higher rates, but there's always some uncertainty regarding how quickly we move and which levels will end up being important. With a break beyond the weakest levels in 7 years, it was (and still is) fair to wonder if we were on the precipice of a more abrupt move. As of right now, that more abrupt move is clearly on hold . This week's strong round of Treasury auctions sends the message that there's even some sponsorship for the bond market beyond the "risk-off" motivations from European political drama. That said, if European political drama...(read more)

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Another Reminder Not to Trust Mortgage Rate Headlines

 

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates moved lower again today, bringing them to the best levels in at least 2 weeks. This assertion is very much at odds with the prevailing mortgage rate headlines today. News stories abound with talk of sharp increases to fresh 7-year highs (google news search if you don't believe me), yet nothing could be more of a disservice to the demographic that typically looks for mortgage rate news (people who are in the market)! If you are indeed in the market or otherwise have a vested interest in day-to-day mortgage rate fluctuations, you need to understand that all those news stories are based on Freddie Mac's weekly rate survey, and that Freddie Mac is wrong . To be fair, it's not so much "wrong" as it is " late ." Unfortunately, Freddie's survey typically captures lenders' claimed rate...(read more)

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Existing Home Sales Reverse Course, Down 3%

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

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

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Home Price Index Shows Signs of Losing Momentum

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

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

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MBS Day Ahead: Green Shoots? Maybe. Opportunities? You Bet!

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

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

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Broker Products; Upcoming Events; Financial Services and Acquisitions

 

Posted To: Pipeline Press

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

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Tax Cut Gains Forecast to Fade Away in 2019

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

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

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April Delinquencies Improve Despite Historic Pattern

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

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

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MBS RECAP: Nice Gains More About Europe Than Fed

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

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

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Mortgage Rates Drop to Lowest Levels in 2 Weeks

 

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

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

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Houses Passes S2155, Unwinds Less of Dodd-Frank Than Hoped

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

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

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New Home Sales Continue to Improve on Annual Basis

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

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

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Freddie Mac to Address Origination Barriers for Young Buyers

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

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

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Lender Products; Congress' Take on TILA, PACE Loans, and MLO Licensing

 

Posted To: Pipeline Press

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

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MBS Day Ahead: Italian Impact Continues, Helping Bonds Start Strong

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

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

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