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MBS RECAP: Trade Headlines Provide Sneak Peak for Bond Market Vulnerability

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

The Wall St Journal ran a story this afternoon suggesting Treasury Secretary Mnuchin was pushing for a compromise deal to ease Tariffs on China in order to grease the skids for trade talks. As a result, stocks and bonds lost their cool --relatively. Case in point, in the 30 minutes following the headline, nearly 350k 10yr Treasury futures contracts traded. To put that in perspective, the 30 minutes following the January 4th jobs report saw just over 250k. To be fair to the jobs report, it created lasting volume throughout the day whereas the trade-related headlines made for a much more condensed dose. Even so, the reaction speaks to importance of trade-related updates as the US works on hammering out a deal with China. We could also argue that it speaks the deprivation that markets have been...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Holding Ground But Volatility Could Increase

 

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates were technically steady today. In fact, as of this writing, most lenders are offering slightly better terms compared to yesterday, but only by barely-detectable amounts. The afternoon brought volatility in financial markets owing to trade-related headline. That volatility isn't moving in a good direction for mortgage rates at the moment. The takeaway is that, all other things being equal, lenders will be offering slightly weaker terms tomorrow morning, assuming they don't see quite enough weakness to adjust today's offerings with only a few hours left in the day. Combine the volatility risk with the fact that rates are still very close to their lowest levels since last April, and this is still a compelling opportunity for potential homebuyers or owners interested in refinancing...(read more)

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Subservicer, Non-Agency Products; World Debt Increasing; Primer on "Duration" and Mortgage Pricing

 

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Time has a way of slipping by. For example, I’ve really been meaning to transfer a bunch of Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro Pro spreadsheets I have off of some floppy disks and onto my laptop but never seem to get around to it. Speaking of time passing, Moody’s send out a warning that if the partial US government shutdown (PUGS) continues it could create problems for the U.S. bond market. Entities that depend upon federal money for revenues or paying debts could experience "liquidity strains." As we know the lack of liquidity will take a company, or person, down to their knees faster than anything. Yet nothing is certain but death and taxes, and the IRS plans to recall thousands of workers now on furlough because of the PUGS. Lender Products and Services Wrapping up a record-breaking 2018...(read more)

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MBS Day Ahead: There Are Only So Many Ways To Say It

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Unless you've missed the past few days of commentary, you've heard me say something about the sideways uncertainty in markets as investors wait for a government shutdown resolution. There are only so many ways to say it. So I'll let someone else say it this morning. The following is from the head of US Rates Strategy at BMO Capital Markets, Ian Lyngen: "Treasuries are in a classic holding pattern as we await further clarity on a variety of fronts. The government shutdown remains front and center, if for no other reason than the dearth of economic data the closure has created and mounting concerns the stalemate will impact the real economy." It can't be said with much more clarity. Even if we want to argue the shutdown, itself, isn't a major market mover, it's...(read more)

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Will New FHFA Head Follow his Instincts or Bow to Reality?

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

"The most important question in housing policy heading into the new year has nothing to do with interest rates, housing supply, or home sales," Urban Institute (UI) non-resident fellow Jim Parrott says. "It's what kind of director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Mark Calabria will be ." Calabria has been named to replace Melvin Watt as director of the agency that regulates the Federal home Loan Banks and the GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHFA has also been conservator of the GSEs since 2008. Parrott says the agency has "an enormous hand in who in this country can get a mortgage and on what terms ." He adds, "And in Mark Calabria, the Trump administration has nominated one of Fannie and Freddie's greatest skeptics, raising the prospect that they, and the market that depends on...(read more)

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MBS RECAP: Bonds Looking Reluctant to Make Bigger Moves Without Data

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Today would have been Retail Sales day were it not for the government shutdown. This also prevented Business Inventories from reporting (not an insignificant piece of data even if not on par with Retail Sales). Tomorrow will see the New Residential Construction numbers (housing starts and building permits) stay silent due to the shutdown. This isn't an environment where bond traders are eager to make big bets. That much is evident in the general sideways grind of the past week and a half. Some of the only times that we see "big bets" are in response to trading levels being coaxed out of the prevailing range by other factors. That was the case today as 10yr Treasury yields approached their highest levels of the year. Before the ceiling could be challenged, a big trade came through...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Up Slightly, But Still in Great Shape

 

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates rose modestly today after spending the past 2 days moving sideways. It was really yesterday's market weakness that caused today's move. Mortgage rates are most directly affected by the trading of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). When MBS are weaker, rates rise. MBS were weaker throughout the day yesterday, but not by quite enough for lenders to go to the trouble of revising their rate sheets for the worse. Instead, lenders simply waited until this morning to make the changes implied by the market. This delayed reaction is common when the market movement on any given day isn't quite enough to justify lender reprices. In the bigger picture, rates have been in a holding pattern, possibly waiting for some indication that the government shutdown will end. When such a thing happens...(read more)

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Manufactured Home and Capital Markets Products; Radian Expands; Big Banks' Mortgage Volumes

 

Posted To: Pipeline Press

As pricing battles rage in the wholesale channel, there has been plenty of news of layoffs in residential lending over the last six months industry-wide, due to reasons like becoming more efficient, lower volumes, or fewer delinquencies, the most recent being BB&T and Mr. Cooper (page 7). What would actually be newsworthy is if a well-known company had no change or layoffs in the last six months! You can bet land use has changed over the decades, and I received this question: “Rob, I have to give a presentation to a bunch of real estate agents. Have you seen anything on how land is used across the nation?” This is the last good piece I saw: Here you go . Lender Products and Services Manufactured home lending has been a challenge for lenders. Chattel lending is only being done...(read more)

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Builder Confidence Buoyed by Lower Rates

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

After falling an aggregate of 12 points in November and December the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) appears to have stabilized. The HMI, a measure of home builders' confidence in the market for newly constructed homes, gained 2 points in January, rising to 58. This one 1-point higher than analysts polled by Econoday had predicted. "The gradual decline in mortgage rates in recent weeks helped to sustain builder sentiment," said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. "Low unemployment, solid job growth and favorable demographics should support housing demand in the coming months." The HMI is derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years among its builders who specialize in new residential construction. The survey asks builders...(read more)

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MBS Day Ahead: This Morning's Retail Sales Report is Emblematic of The Bond Market's Issue

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

There will be no Retail Sales report this morning due to the government shutdown. This provides a perfect example of the issue the bond market is currently facing. It begins with the state of flux in the economy and in monetary policy. Now more than ever , arguably, the Fed is on the lookout for clues in economic data. They need to know whether it makes any sense to keep hiking rates or if there are some indications that things could be slowing down. To be fair, the Fed has already shared anecdotes about growth concerns, but then something like the last NFP report comes along and compels the Fed to keep rate hikes on the table. Fed policy aside, market participants would also like a read on how the economy is doing, considering the uncharted territory in which we continue to operate (i.e. longest...(read more)

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Millionaires Cash-Out Too; Big Refis for Big Homes

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Somewhere in this country there are 230 homes with mortgage balances between $10 and $20 million dollars. According to a post written by Arthur Jobe in the CoreLogic Insights blog, 75 percent of them were originated since 2013, and 180 represent refinances. Those refinances were largely originated since 2013 as well. These homes are unlikely to be in your neighborhood (or ours) although you would have the best shot if you live in California, home to 55 percent of the super jumbo refinances. Seventeen percent are located in Florida, and smaller percentages (4 to 6 percent) in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Texas. Of course, even zillionaires like to save money, and adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are particularly popular for loans of this magnitude due to their lower initial rates...(read more)

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Purchase Mortgage Applications Reach 8 Year High

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

January 11 ended the first full business week in a while and mortgage activity responded accordingly. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported a strong rebound when, despite a government shutdown, business returned more or less to normal. MBA's Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 13.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week ended January 4, reaching its highest level since last February. On an unadjusted basis, the Index was up 45 percent. Purchase mortgage applications moved higher for the sixth time in the last eight weeks, resuming the upward trajectory that was interrupted by the Christmas holidays. That index was up 9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis to its highest level since April 2010. The unadjusted Purchase Index...(read more)

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NAR Survey Finds American Dream Depends on Affordability

 

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Homeownership as an American dream is alive and well according to new data from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2018 Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey. The survey was conducted across all 12 months of last year. Sixty-four percent of respondents were homeowners, 27 percent were renters, and 9 percent were non-homeowners living with a family member without paying rent. NAR just released Aspiring Home Buyers Profile , which focuses on survey responses from non-homebuyers, both those who rent and those living with a family member. Of the non-owners, 45 percent were 34 years or under, 59 percent make an income of under $50,000, and 43 percent live in suburban areas. Across the quarters of 2018 non-homeowners were consistent in their desire to own a home in...(read more)

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MBS RECAP: Minimal Bond Market Damage Thanks to Stocks' Hard Start

 

Posted To: MBS Commentary

The S&P had been idling in place with prices between 2560 and 2600 for more than a week. During that week, we've discussed the risks associated with a break above 2600. Simply put, if stocks managed to break above their nearest notable technical ceiling, perhaps bonds would do the same. In that case, we were looking at yields of 2.75% as the correlated ceiling. Now today, the S&P closed at 2610 and 10yr Treasury yields not even above 2.72%. To be fair, when stocks broke that ceiling this morning, bonds definitely came along for the ride . But everything played out on a smaller scale, as if both sides of the market were suppressed by some larger uncertainty. While there were quite a few brexit-related headlines in the news, we'd be far better served by focusing our attention...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Unchanged Again as Markets Remain Cautious

 

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates were unchanged yet again today. Given that rates are based on trading levels in underlying bond markets, it's no surprise to learn that bond investors have been hesitant to take things too far in either direction after pulling up slightly from the long-term lows achieved in early January. The same could be said for the stock market, but replace early January with late December. For either side of the market, the biggest lingering uncertainty is the fate of the government shutdown . The extent to which a shutdown resolution would move markets remains to be seen. But at the very least, there's a risk that a resolution would push stocks and interest rates higher in unison--at least temporarily. From there, it would fall to actual economic data to set the tone. In that regard, bonds...(read more)

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