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2/15/2019 MBS RECAP: Deceptively Relevant Econ Data But Range Prevails

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Since Retail Sales rocked markets yesterday, perhaps bonds would be interested in responding to economic data again today? This question seemed to have been answered when bonds apparently jumped following this morning's 8:30am economic data. The only problem was that the data in question included NY Fed Manufacturing and Import/Export Prices. These are not reports that tend to cause such immediate and highly correlated movement. So what gives? For better or worse, I stare at a tick by tick stream of bond data for most of the day. Anyone else who spends their lives in such a manner would also surely have seen bonds on the move in 2 distinct ways well in advance of 8:30am. The first was a more general move that began with the European trading session. While it was general and relatively slow...(read more)

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2/15/2019 "Homeowners are in Great Shape," Delinquencies Improve Across the Board

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Mortgage loan delinquencies were down from the third quarter of 2018 in the fourth quarter. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said the improvements held across all loan types and all stages of delinquency although there was a slight uptick in foreclosure starts. The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.06 percent of all loans outstanding, down 41 basis points (bps) from the third quarter and 111 bps from the fourth quarter of 2017 according to MBA's National Delinquency Survey. The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started in the fourth quarter rose by 2 bps to 0.25 percent but MBA said that was probably due to the expiration of foreclosure moratoria in states affected by natural...(read more)

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2/15/2019 Mortgage Rates in a Holding Pattern

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates were slightly higher today, marking the 6th day in a row where they've reversed course versus the previous day. This is the sort of behavior we see when underlying financial markets are having a hard time making up their mind (or are simply waiting for something before committing to the next big move). In the case of mortgage rates, the underlying financial market is the bond market. There are specific bonds that most directly affect mortgage rates, but they are almost always moving in the same direction as other bonds anyway. That allows us to use something like the 10yr Treasury yield to keep an eye on interest rate momentum. There we see yields locked in an increasingly narrow range since the beginning of the year. Movements inside that range aren't important to the bigger...(read more)

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2/15/2019 MBS Day Ahead: Range Trade Likely to Dominate Heading Into Holiday Weekend

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Rates were at long term highs in early November 2019. Several global economic risks were beginning to swirl at the same time. These included a slowdown in German GDP, the weakest Chinese retail sales in 15 years, Italian budget drama, and a Federal Reserve that didn't seem to care about big stock losses in October. The Fed had released an announcement on the Wednesday before Veteran's Day weekend. That trading day saw 10yr yields hit 3.25% and they never went any higher after that. In fact, they mostly went lower--especially when the stock sell-off kicked into higher gear in December. All of the above made November and December the best 2-month stretch for rates in more than 2 years. When rates rally that aggressively, they usually take a break and move sideways before deciding if the...(read more)

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2/15/2019 GSEs Continue Financial Winning Streaks

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the GSEs) reported solid financial results for both the fourth quarter and the entirety of the 2018 fiscal year on Thursday. The annual income was higher for both GSEs , although each posted a decrease quarter-over-quarter. Fannie Mae's total comprehensive income for the fourth quarter was $3.2 billion compared to $4.0 billion in the third quarter, and it reported a $16.0 billion total for the year. Because of ramifications from the 2017 tax act , its comprehensive income for the 2017 year was only $2.6 billion. Freddie Mac's total comprehensive income for the year was $8.6 billion compared to $5.6 billion in 2017 (it too had unusually high tax obligations that year.) For the fourth quarter comprehensive income dropped from $2.6 billion to $1.5 billion. Fannie Mae...(read more)

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2/15/2019 Sales Jobs; Construction, Marketing Products; Impressive Agency Earnings

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Huh? Radian was recently in takeover talks ? I only know what I read in the newspapers! Sometimes I wonder if everyone isn’t in M&A talks to one degree or another, and rumors continue to swirl about a publicly-held bank in the Northwest spinning off its mortgage division. There’s a lot going on in our biz, especially with Freddie & Fannie in the present & future – more below. Even my cat Myrtle is silent, ignoring my questions about what she’s been up to lately. Lender Products and Services With the new integration between LBA Ware’s CompenSafeTM and the enterprise digital mortgage solution from SimpleNexus , loan originators can now receive real-time compensation notifications through the SimpleNexus mobile app. SimpleNexus provides LOs with a single...(read more)

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2/15/2019 Fewer Plan to Buy, But Others Aren't Giving Up

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The perceptions, expectations, and plans of prospective homebuyers appear to be undergoing a transition according to results from the most recent Housing Trends survey report from the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). Rose Quint writes about the fourth quarter 2018 survey in a five-part series in the association's Eye on Housing Blog. She says that, for starters, there has been a steady erosion in the percentage of adults who said they planned to purchase a home within a year. That share slipped quarterly from 24 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 13 percent in both the third and fourth quarters of 2018. Quint says the decline provides additional evidence that housing affordability has become a serious concern. Its deterioration has been driven by several years of strong home...(read more)

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2/14/2019 Mortgage Bankers Estimate 29% Surge in New Home Sales

Posted To: MND NewsWire

While we have not yet seen figures from the Census Bureau for December let alone January, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is reporting a surge in new home sales last month. Information from MBA's Builder Application Survey (BAS) indicates that those sales, while unchanged from January 2018, increased by 43 percent compared to December 2018. The change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns. On a seasonally adjusted basis, MBA estimates sales were at an annual rate of 713,000 units. This is an increase of 29.2 percent from the December estimate of 552,000 units. Before adjustment MBA estimates that there were 54,000 new home sales in January 2019, up 45.9 percent from 37,000 new home sales in December. Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry...(read more)

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2/14/2019 MBS RECAP: Dormant Data Returns in a Big Way

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Of all the reports silenced by the government shutdown, Retail Sales was probably the most missed. It didn't help that December is a rather important month for such data. December's report finally arrived today, and it made waves . While there has been some question as to how quickly markets would be willing to "trust" the economic data affected by the shutdown, traders were instantly willing to react in this case for 2 reasons. First off, the Census Bureau simply told markets that its collection efforts were solid right on the front page of the report. But even more important , in this case, was the size of the miss, with sales falling at their fastest pace since 2009. It was also a rare "down December" for the series, with 2014 being the only other example during...(read more)

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2/14/2019 Rates Are Better Today, But Not Back to 1-Year Lows

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates recovered today after rising to the highest levels in a week as of yesterday. The improvement followed a much-weaker-than-expected Retail Sales report--something investors have been waiting on for nearly 2 months due to the government shutdown. Retail sales comprise an important part of economic activity, and the economy is one of the biggest considerations for interest rates. Generally speaking, economic strength pushes rates higher, all other thing being equal. Thus, the unexpectedly weak retail numbers had the opposite effect. How big was the effect? Not quite as big as most other media outlets would suggest. The discrepancy is due to the regular Thursday release of the industry's most widely-cited mortgage rate report from Freddie Mac. While that report is accurate for the...(read more)

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2/14/2019 MBS Day Ahead: Retail Sales is Back! Will Traders Pretend Nothing Changed?

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Perhaps it wasn't their fault, but several top tier economic reports up and left us during the government shutdown. We knew we'd see them again at some point, but in the meantime, we had to adapt to gleaning economic cues elsewhere. Moreover, we're left to wonder what the government shutdown time may have done to corrupt the first few rounds of economic reports that are returning after their forced hiatus. What am I getting at, you might ask? It's hard to imagine just how big and bureaucratic the US government is. The agencies that collect and distribute economic data have infinitely more employees than you or I would ever hire if charged with the task of collecting the same data. Only a small and noble percentage of government employees truly care about the far-reaching implications...(read more)

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2/13/2019 MBS RECAP: Bonds Lose Ground on Shutdown Deal Hopes and Inflation Data

Posted To: MBS Commentary

At first glance, this morning's weakness was all about the Consumer Price Index (CPI)--the most widely-followed inflation report. In order to make a case for CPI causing the weakness, we'd have to assert that a core year-over-year reading of 2.2% versus a forecast of 2.1% was significant, even as monthly headline inflation missed its forecast by the same amount. Whether or not you're following me here, I'll just put it simply: it strains credulity to assign the blame for today's weakness strictly to the inflation data. It just wasn't a big enough beat, and this hasn't been a report that's merited this sort of reaction in the past several months. Looking for other explanations quickly reveals 2 other suspects at the scene of the crime (the 8:35-8:35am timeframe...(read more)

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2/13/2019 Highest Mortgage Rates in a Week After Today's Move

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates hadn't changed much over the past few business days, even though they arguably should have moved a bit higher yesterday. That made today's adjustment slightly more abrupt. Why was there an adjustment? Mortgage rates are based primarily on the trading levels in the bond market. In turn, the bond market takes cues from a multitude of factors big and small. Among the biggest considerations for bonds are the various regularly scheduled economic reports. Among those reports, inflation data is traditionally very important to bonds. And finally, among inflation data, today's Consumer Price Index is probably the most widely followed. Inflation didn't jump in any major way, but the important "core" reading (which factors out food and energy) was slightly higher than expected on an annual...(read more)

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2/13/2019 NAHB Takes a Detailed Look at First-Time and Trade-up Buyers

Posted To: MND NewsWire

A total of 8.8 million households bought homes in the two years preceding the most recent American Housing Survey (AHS). The survey, sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is conducted by the Census Bureau every two years. The AHS is a nationally representative survey of residential structures in the US and of the households that occupy them. Results of the 2017 survey were released last year and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has taken a detailed look at the findings, publishing several blog entries. Carmel Ford of NAHB's Economics and Housing Policy Group has now published a paper on the characteristics of those recent buyers and their transaction. The 8.8 million homebuyers are the highest tallied by any AHS since the Great Recession. There were 11...(read more)

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2/13/2019 Marketing Products; Lender Legal News; OB's Index, Flood Insurance, Ditech's Ch. 11

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Amazon accounts for nearly 50% of the ecommerce activity in the United States. With that kind of delivery service, it isn’t hard to see why malls are suffering. Which is why, all across the nation, malls are being re-developed, re-purposed, whatever you want to call it, into mixed-use and housing projects. Projects in Phoenix , Cincinnati , and St. Petersburg are all moving forward. I hope that lenders offer products that are tailored to this type of condo and mixed-use housing. Lender Products and Services Nations Direct Mortgage is excited to introduce its new dedicated Non-QM Help team! “With the Non-QM market expected to explode to over $35B in 2019, we will provide expert resources to our broker partners so they can grow their Non-QM business” stated Martin Warren, Director...(read more)

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2/13/2019 MBS Day Ahead: How Inflation Matters in The Bigger Picture

Posted To: MBS Commentary

This morning brings the week's first major economic report in the form of the Consumer Price Index (CPI)--one of the biggest inflation reports. Inflation has been an on-again, off-again market mover for the bond market over the past 10 years for a few reasons. That's an assertion that makes old school market watchers cringe because a big part of their worldview is informed by the inflation drama of the late 70's and early 80's. In fact, it's only really been in the past 20 years that inflation has been relatively well-behaved (i.e. holding fairly close to the Fed's 2% target). The runaway inflation seen in the 70's was such a big deal for markets that any traders who remember it (and some who simply studied it) have a hard time letting go of fear that it could return...(read more)

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2/13/2019 Global Concerns Slow Mortgage Apps, Even With Lower Rates

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Mortgage applications have now fallen in six of the last eight weeks. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its seasonally adjusted Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, fell lost another 3.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended February 8. On an unadjusted basis the composite was down 4.0 percent. The Refinance Index decreased 0.1 percent from the previous week although the refinancing share of applications submitted rose to 43.2 percent. During the week ended February 1 refinancing had a 41.6 percent share. Both the seasonally adjusted and the unadjusted Purchase Indices were down 6.0 percent from the prior week and the unadjusted version came in 5.0 percent below its level during the same week in 2018. Applications for both FHA and VA loans...(read more)

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2/12/2019 MBS RECAP: Shutdown Deal Hurts Bonds, But Mostly Helped Stocks

Posted To: MBS Commentary

It's hard to say exactly where stocks and bonds would be today absent the news from yesterday night regarding a possible shutdown deal. Both sides of the market were already in the process of bouncing as of last Friday--with yesterday's closing levels acting to extend that move. The shutdown news didn't hut until after the close. It definitely had an impact, but it's impossible to say that trading levels would be very different without it. In fact, bonds lost ground at a slower pace today compared to yesterday, so at the very least, we can conclude that bonds aren't hung up about it. The last remaining unknown with respect to this shutdown saga is what, if any, reaction we'll see when the deal is finalized. There too, it's safe to say it's not going to be a defining...(read more)

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2/12/2019 How The Shutdown Is Affecting Mortgage Rates

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates were roughly unchanged yet again today, although the average lender was charging microscopically higher fees compared to yesterday. The key ingredient in today's market movement (which ultimately translates to mortgage rate movement) was the promise of a deal to avert another government shutdown at the end of the week. Late in the day yesterday, congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle signaled a potential deal was in the works. The fact that Trump didn't immediately dismiss the deal was taken as evidence of its viability. This resulted in bond markets losing ground today, which normally coincides with higher rates. It was also the inspiration for a good amount of today's improvement in stocks. The reason for that movement is fairly logical . The shutdown (or the threat...(read more)

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2/12/2019 NAR: Home Price Gains at a "Healthier" Pace

Posted To: MND NewsWire

An asset bubble can burst, or it can develop a slow leak, and float more or less gradually back to normal levels. The National Association of Realtors'® (NAR's) quarterly report on existing homes and metro home sales seems to indicate that the housing market, where skyrocketing prices were a concern not that long ago, is following the latter pattern. Not only are sales slowing, but inventories are growing, and appreciation appears to be gradually decelerating. The NAR said the median price of a single-family home sold in the fourth quarter of 2018 was $257,600, a 4.0 percent increase from the median of $247,800 a year earlier. The year-over-year gain in the fourth quarter of 2017 was 5.3 percent. Home prices increased on an annual basis in 163 of the 178 metropolitan statistical areas ...(read more)

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