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FHA Forbearance Eligibility and Eviction Moratoria Extended
Wed, 27 Jan 2021 14:21:34 GMT

The Acting Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced an extension of the deadline for borrowers with FHA mortgage loans to apply for and receive forbearance. Matthew Ammon said up to six months of deferred or reduced mortgage payments may be available to homeowners financially impacted by the pandemic who request it by March 31, 2031. An additional six-month extension to the initial forbearance term is possible. Ammon said, "On the first day of his new Administration, President Biden took immediate actions to stem the economic devastation experienced by the nation's hardworking families because of the pandemic. Today's extension supports the President's direction by providing more time for homeowners to seek mortgage payment relief."  ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

Mortgage Application Volume Retreats for Second Week
Wed, 27 Jan 2021 13:26:15 GMT

There was a significant pull-back in the volume of mortgage applications during the week ended January 22. Volume has been down in two of the three full weeks of the new year. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, declined 4.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier and was 3.0 percent lower on an unadjusted basis. The Refinance Index was 5 percent lower than during the week ended January 15, although it outpaced the same week in 2020 by 83 percent. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 70.7 percent from 72.3 percent the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent from one week earlier and was down 3 percent on an unadjusted basis. Purchase activity was 16 percent higher than the same week in 2020.      ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

More Evidence of Covid's Effect on Home Buying Preferences
Tue, 26 Jan 2021 21:03:25 GMT

It probably wasn't on your COVID Bingo card, but the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is finding more and more evidence that the pandemic is changing America's home buying plans. Rose Quint writes in NAHB's Eye on Housing Blog that the percentage of those households considering purchasing a home within the next year took the largest jump in the history of the association's Housing Trends Report. Fifteen percent of those surveyed in the fourth quarter of 2020 had such plans, up 4 points from a year earlier....(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

November Home Prices Climbed at Highest Rate in Six Years
Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:12:54 GMT

The annual increases in U.S. home prices is nearing dizzying levels. The November data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) crossed into double digits for the second consecutive month while the months numbers from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index came close. The Case-Shiller index, which covers  all nine U.S. census divisions, gained 9.5 percent compared to the previous November. The annual increase in October was 8.4 percent. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis the National Index rose 1.4 percent and was 1.1 percent higher on an unadjusted basis.  Appreciation in Case-Shiller's  two composite indices also accelerated - each rose more than a single percentage point from the annual gains in October. The 10-City composite's increase came in at 8.8 percent compared to 7.6 percent in October. The 20-City Composite rose 9.1 percent, up from 8.0 percent. Data from Wayne County Michigan continues to be insufficient due to earlier COVID related shutdowns to include Detroit's housing transactions in the indices.  ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

Loans Still Taking 2 Months to Close as Refi Demand Stays Strong
Mon, 25 Jan 2021 16:44:29 GMT

The interest rates on 30-year fixed rate mortgages originated in December reached an all-time low in ICE Mortgage Technology's (formerly Ellie Mae's) records, an average of 2.93 percent and a 4-basis point decline from the November rate. The company, in its monthly Origination Insight Report, said the note rate for all three loan types it tracks, FHA, Conventional, and VA, were all below 3.0 percent for the second straight month. FHA and Conventional loans dropped to 2.94 and 2.96 percent, respectively. Each averaged 2.99 percent the prior month. The VA rate fell from 2.72 to 2.66 percent. Refinances continued to dominate at 60 percent of originations, down 1 percentage point from November but up from 46 percent a year earlier. The outsized share was skewed toward conventional loans at 68 percent. Purchase loans accounted for 81 percent of FHA originations and 70 percent of VA loans.  ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

Existing Home Sales Reach Highest Levels Since 2006
Fri, 22 Jan 2021 18:09:26 GMT

Existing home sales resumed an upward trajectory in December. After drifting lower by 2.5 percent in November, breaking a five-month streak of gains, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said sales in the last month of the year rose 0.7 percent. Sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.76 million during the month, compared to 6.69 million units in November. This represented a 22.2 percent increase over the 5.53 million unit rate a year earlier. The numbers were above the 6.40 million to 6.62 million range of forecasts by analysts polled by Econoday. Their consensus was for an annual rate of 6.55 million units.  ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

Upbeat 2021 Econ Forecast From Fannie Mae
Fri, 22 Jan 2021 18:00:35 GMT

Optimism is running high in Fannie Mae's first Economic and Housing Outlook of the year. The company's Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) team says expanding vaccination efforts, the potential of greater than previously expected fiscal stimulus, and the end of winter all "point to an economy ready to take off once COVID-19-related effects begin to subside." The company says that economic growth probably flatlined in November and December and it revised its final GDP estimate for the year down to a negative 2.7 percent. The economy is now poised to expand, although probably not before late spring. The ESR team has raised its expectations for 2121 from 4.5 percent growth in last month's report to 5.3 percent and by 0.4 points for 2022 to 3.6 percent.    ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

End-of-Year Delinquencies a Challenge for 2021
Fri, 22 Jan 2021 16:37:38 GMT

Mortgage performance understandably deteriorated over the course of 2020. Black Knight, in its "first look" at December data, noted that the year ended with 1.54 million more delinquent mortgages and 1.7 million more that were seriously delinquent than at the start, calling it "a looming reminder of the challenges facing the market in 2021." The situation did continue to improve as the year ended. The national delinquency rate fell 3.9 percent from November to December and the resulting rate of 6.08 percent of all active loans was the lowest since April 2020 when the financial effects of the pandemic kicked in. It is however, nearly 79 percent higher than the rate at the end of 2019. Serious delinquencies, loans 90 or more days past due but not in foreclosure, also declined, dropping by 47,000 loans to 2.146 million loans. In December 2019 there were 1.719 million such loans.  ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

Construction Surges to Highest Levels in 15 Years
Thu, 21 Jan 2021 15:28:18 GMT

Residential construction finished out 2020 much more strongly than analysts had expected. The U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported significant increases in both residential permitting and housing starts in December, the second month in a row those numbers have grown. The numbers, however, took a hit in the Northeast. Permits for privately funded construction were issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,709,000 units, an increase of 4.5 percent from the revised (from 1,639,000 units) rate of 1,635,000 in November. The pace of permitting in December was 17.3 percent higher than the 1,437,000 units estimated a year earlier.  ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

DACA "Dreamers" Given FHA Loan Eligibility
Wed, 20 Jan 2021 20:08:36 GMT

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on Tuesday that it has extended eligibility for FHA mortgages to individuals who are classified under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). These individuals are perhaps better known as "Dreamers." DACA status is granted to undocumented individuals who were brought into the country before their 16th birthday and were under the age of 31 when the category was established in June 15, 2012. Residency requirements apply and individuals must be in school, have completed high school, obtained a GED certificate, or be honorably discharged from one of the military services. DACA status allows its holders to work legally in the U.S. and prevents their involuntary removal from the country for a two-year renewable term....(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

Rising Material Prices and Lot Shortages Hurt January Builder Confidence
Wed, 20 Jan 2021 16:45:29 GMT

After setting three successive record highs, most recently a 90 level in November, the pandemic and rising construction costs are taking a toll on the Housing Market Index (HMI). The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said the index, which it sponsors with Wells Fargo, fell for the second straight month. A 3-point drop in the index, which measures builder confidence in the new home market, follows a 4-point decline in December. The January level now stands at 83. "Despite robust housing demand and low mortgage rates, buyers are facing a dearth of new homes on the market, which is exacerbating affordability problems," said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. "Builders are grappling with supply-side constraints related to lumber and other material costs, a lack of affordable lots and labor shortages that delay delivery times and put upward pressure on home prices. They are also concerned about a changing regulatory environment."  ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

New Home Purchase Applications Remained Strong to Year's End
Wed, 20 Jan 2021 14:15:55 GMT

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) estimates that applications for the purchase of newly built homes rose only 0.2 percent from November to December, however, those applications were up 42.2 percent compared to December 2019. The information comes from MBA's monthly Builder Application Survey (BAS) and was not adjusted for typical seasonal patterns. Based on those mortgage applications and assumptions regarding market coverage and other factors, MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 876,000 units in December 2020. This is an increase of 5.9 percent from the November pace of 827,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, there were an estimated 59,000 new home sold during the month, unchanged from the same level in November.   ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

Fannie/Freddie Allowed to Keep More Capital (Again)
Wed, 20 Jan 2021 14:14:28 GMT

Late last week the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) agreed to amend the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (PSPAs) which govern the required distribution of dividends to Treasury from the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The amendments will bring the amount of capital the companies are permitted to retain into conformance with the 2020 Enterprise Capital Rule unveiled by FHFA in November. Under that rule, the GSEs will be allowed to retain earnings to maintain tier 1 capital in excess of 4.0 percent of their guarantee obligations to avoid restrictions on capital distributions and discretionary bonuses.  ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

Refinancing Volume Pulls Back as Rates Rise
Wed, 20 Jan 2021 13:37:37 GMT

The volume of mortgage applications fell back slightly last week. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index was down 1.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended January 15 compared to the prior reporting period. On an unadjusted basis the index lost 1.0 percent. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index rose 3.0 percent from one week earlier and was 9.0 percent higher on an unadjusted basis. Purchase applications were up 15 percent year-over-year. Those gains were offset by a 5.0 percent decline in the Refinance Index although it remained 87 percent higher than during the same week in 2020. Applications for refinancing composed  72.3 percent of the total, down from 74.8 percent the previous week.  ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

Biden Nominates Two Picks for Important Financial Positions
Tue, 19 Jan 2021 16:05:00 GMT

President-elect Joe Biden has announced his picks for two important financial regulatory positions. The chairmanship of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be filled by Rohit Chopra while Gary Gensler is expected to be named to head the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Both nominations are expected to be controversial among the communities that fall under supervision of the two agencies with Chopra perhaps facing a difficult confirmation process. Chopra helped now-senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) design CFPB during the presidency of Barack Obama and served as its assistant director and student loan ombudsperson. He has been a member of the Federal Trade Commission since 2018. Gensler was chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 2009 to 2014 and has led Biden's financial industry oversight planning team since the election. Industry observers generally expect the appointments to signal a return to more robust oversight than was the course during the outgoing administration.  ...(read more)Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.