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Mixed Residential Construction Results, Another Lackluster Month

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

October was another mixed but largely mediocre month for residential construction . Permits were lower both on a monthly and an annual basis, while housing starts improved marginally, but only for the month. Completions also lagged earlier numbers. The Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said that permits were issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,263,000 units, down 0.6 percent from the September rate of 1,270,000. The September number was revised up from the original estimate of 1,224,000. Permits in October were down 6.0 percent from the October 2017 rate of 1,343,000 units. The permitting number did come in higher than predictions of analysts polled by Econoday. They had estimated in the range of 1,224,000 to 1,285,000 with a consensus of 1,260,000...(read more)

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MBS Day Ahead: Opening The Conversation

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Despite a fairly perfect bounce yesterday, the trend-lines acting as floors in stocks and bonds have given way overnight, even if only in somewhat underwhelming fashion. For instance, compared the 3.06 line in the sand, 10yr yields began the day at 3.04 and are already up a bit from there. The S&P is only 20-30 points below its supportive line (not a big move for the S&P these days). Nonetheless, a break is a break! The biggest question is whether or not we should read much into this considering my typical effort to convince you that Thanksgiving week market movement should be taken with a grain of salt. In fact, I do think we CAN read something into it. Granted, there's no way to confirm a definitive , big-picture shift. Absent a much sharper sell-off in stocks, I think bonds will...(read more)

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CRA Requirement Study; World Economies Pushing US Rates Lower; LO Resources

 

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Here are some tech developments as we seem to be moving closer to machines running our lives, or a loan being approved instantly by reading a fingerprint or retina. No, this isn’t a story from the Onion: British companies are planning to microchip personnel in order to boost security and stop them accessing sensitive areas. Biohax , a Swedish company that provides human chip implants…is in talks with a number of UK legal and financial firms to implant staff with the devices. One prospective client…is a major financial services firm with “hundreds of thousands of employees.” Around the world, Google Home users no longer need another voice assistant to communicate with GE products. And, of course, there is continued concern that Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other...(read more)

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MBS RECAP: Weaker Start, But Stronger Finish Thanks to Econ Data

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Builder Confidence doesn't typically move markets, but today it did. For the past several month's, the NAHB's Housing Market Index (generally considered tantamount to "builder confidence") looked like it was bucking the consensus among other housing data that all but verified a decisive cooling trend. But it made up for its recent lack of movement today. It's as if builder confidence did't get the memo on the shift in housing and suddenly rushed to catch up. This resulted in bond market improvement and stock losses, and that's a very tall order for this data. It speaks to two things. First, markets are indeed concerned about the housing market and the role it could play in a broader economic shift. Many see such a shift beginning within 12 months at this point...(read more)

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Sweat Equity as a Downpayment? Yes, Actually

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Freddie Mac has announced a new collaboration with a handful of rural non-profits to expand sweat equity opportunities to homeowners in several rural and underserved regions. Potential homebuyers in selected areas will be able "to leverage their construction skills to cover down payment and closing costs when purchasing a home." The company said the expansion of sweat equity parameters of its Home Possible program, part of its "Duty to Serve" mandate, is designed to support the renovation of aging homes and provides borrowers with an additional form of down payment instead of cash. There is no limit on the amount of sweat equity that can be applied toward a down payment as long the labor is completed in a skillful manner to support the appraised value-and is certified by an appraiser. "More...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Maintain Recent Lows

 

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates unexpectedly dropped to their lowest levels in more than a month as of last Friday. That assertion is at odds with quite a few media reports that cited Freddie Mac's weekly survey data saying that rates were essentially unchanged from the previous week. This occurred because Freddie's survey only captures the first few days of any given week and most of last week's improvement took place on Thursday and Friday. As such, this week's Freddie surveys should reflect that nice drop in rates. How nice is "nice?" In absolute terms, we're talking about something slightly less than an eighth of a percentage point in terms of a typical 30yr fixed rate from the average lender. That's actually a fairly quick move relative to the average pace of mortgage rate movement. In any event, it's...(read more)

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After a Steady Run, Builder Confidence Finally Folds

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Builder confidence took a steep dive this month, reflecting increasing news of slowing home sales and rising concerns over affordability. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said its Housing Market Index (HMI), a joint project of NAHB and Wells Fargo, dropped eight points. The index, which has been floating in the 67 to 70 range since March, had a November level of 60, the lowest since July 2016. NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said, "Builders report that they continue to see signs of consumer demand for new homes but that customers are taking a pause due to concerns over rising interest rates and home prices." "For the past several years, shortages of labor and lots along with rising regulatory costs have led to a slow recovery in single-family construction," said NAHB Chief Economist...(read more)

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Lehman Litigation Webinar; Upcoming Events and Training; New Products

 

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Thanksgiving means many things to many people: family time, a half day of work Wednesday, or a four-day weekend. To the staff and students of Johns Hopkins, they are thankful for the gift from Michael Bloomberg, class of 1964, of $1.8 billion (with a “b”). Lenders and their staffs give millions every year to various causes, but beginning in the fall of 2019, Johns Hopkins will be a loan-free institution. “We will replace all undergraduate student loans with scholarships, and we will reduce overall family contributions to financial aid. In addition, for the spring 2019 semester, we will offer immediate loan relief to every enrolled undergraduate student whose financial aid package includes a federal need-based loan.” That is really something. Upcoming events James Brody...(read more)

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MBS Day Ahead: Slow Holiday Trading Unless These Key Levels Break

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Happy Thanksgiving week. These can go a few different ways for bond markets with 2 main varieties standing out. Both varieties are the product of illiquidity (fewer buyers and sellers at any given price point). In the first case, those buyers and sellers are roughly balanced and neither side has an stubborn/desperate outlier. The result is a boring, sideways grind for 3 days followed by a forgotten half-day on Friday. In the second case , there is an outlier or two who is stubborn or desperate--a buyer with big buying needs or a seller who isn't willing to give up their bonds without getting top dollar. In an illiquid environment, such outliers can quickly drive prices/yields higher or lower. The most frustrating part of watching such things happen (well, I guess it's only frustrating...(read more)

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MBS RECAP: New Fed Vice Chair Helps Rates and Stocks

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

We haven't heard much out of new Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida since he accepted the position, but what we heard today was good. Well, at least the bond market reaction was good. His comments ended up setting the tone for the day. So what did he say? Nothing too complicated... Whereas Fed Pres Bostic was talking about a "neutral rate" of 2.5-3.5 yesterday, Clarida said we're close to a neutral range NOW. That certainly seemed to be the biggest deal among his comments, but it was perhaps just as significant that he noted evidence of global economic slowing. Stocks and bonds both rallied from there on out. The fact that the shorter end of the yield curve led the charge was especially telling (that's where we'd expect to see a bond market rally driven by shifts in Fed...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Lowest in a Month

 

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates hit their lowest levels of THE month yesterday, and the lowest levels in A month today. It's a bit of a technicality, really. As of yesterday, there were a few days in mid-to-late October that saw lower rates. Today's drop means we'd need to go back to early October to see anything lower. What's the significance of being at the lowest levels in a month? None, really. It's just really fun to be able to say such things in an environment where such things haven't been easily said for quite some time! Perhaps more relevant and more tangible is the fact that we can say rates are nearly an eighth of a percentage point lower on the week, and that's a decent move regardless of the environment. Next week brings the Thanksgiving holiday, which tends to make mortgage lenders set rates more...(read more)

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New Home Sales, Prices Faded in October

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) notes that applications for the purchase of new homes declined by 2.1 percent in October compared to the same month in 2017. Those applications were also 11 percent lower than in September. The information, taken from responses to MBA's Builder Application Survey, does not include any adjustment for seasonal patterns. Based on the survey results and other assumptions including about market coverage, MBA estimates that new single-family home sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 673,000 in October, an increase of 4.7 percent from the September sales rate of 643,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, the MBA projects 53,000 new home sales occurred during the month, up by 6 percent from 50,000 sales in September. Conventional loan applications accounted...(read more)

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Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund Outperforms for Fourth Year in a Row

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) said on Thursday that its Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMI Fund) exceeded its congressionally mandated minimum reserves in FY2018 for the fourth year in a row. In its 2018 Annual Report to Congress the agency said its Capital Reserve Ratio was 2.76 percent at the end of the year, an 0.58 percentage point increase from FY2017. The Economic Net Worth of the fund was $34.8 billion an increase of more than $8 billion from the previous year. The figure is comprised of Total Capital Resources of $49.24 billion and a negative Cash Flow NPV of -$14.38 billion. FHA is required to maintain reserves to cover estimated losses plus a capital cushion of 2.0 percent of all Insurance-in-Force (IFF). This 'Capital Ratio' is calculated by dividing the Fund's Economic...(read more)

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MBS Day Ahead: Bonds Already Commuting for Thanksgiving?

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Because November 1st was a Thursday, we'll be treated to the earliest possible iteration of Thanksgiving. It's next week, by the way! Why are we talking about such things with respect to financial markets? Simply put, the winter holidays definitely have an impact. The catch is that the these impacts vary, and their timing is uncertain with respect to Thanksgiving (as opposed to late December, when it's always going to be the last 2 weeks of the month followed by the first week of January. What sort of patterns do we see shaping up? Oftentimes, it's simply a consolidation. In other words, yields/prices are in the process of making higher lows and lower highs. Sometimes there's a breakout well before the end of the year, but there are rarely breakouts in late November. The...(read more)

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Profitability and Commission Products; HELOCs, Servicing, Digital...Geocoding Bid Tapes!

 

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Why is the housing market sluggish despite a solid U.S. economy, solid demographics, and pent-up demand? Those don’t matter if prices are out of reach relative to incomes , and housing appreciation has outpaced income growth for a long time. And lending standards have remained more rigorous than they were during the last housing boom, so it has been harder for people to stretch to buy a home. (Veteran lenders will tell you, however, that not everyone deserves to own a home .) The inability of people to buy homes they can’t really afford is great news in terms of avoiding another crisis or even a bubble, but not so great for the near-term outlook for housing. Lender Services and Products Is your correspondent lending business prepared to grow in 2019? To find out, check out this...(read more)

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