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2/18/2020 Fannie Mae Upgrades GDP, Many Housing Forecasts

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Fannie Mae says the U.S. economy appears to be sustaining itself despite both the problems faced by Boeing and the fears about the global impact of the coronavirus. The company's Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) group is upgrading its forecast for business fixed investment (BFI) in the second half of 2020 and beyond and have upgraded expectations for the GDP in both 2020 and 2021 by a tenth percent to 2.2 percent and 2.1 percent respectively. The company's economists also expect greater strength in every part of the housing market over the next 18 months. The group did substantially downgrade their annualized GDP forecast for the first quarter of this year from 2.3 percent to 1.9. They state that this does not reflect a change in their view of underlying growth but rather that expected...(read more)

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2/18/2020 Mortgage Rates Head Back Toward Long-Term Lows

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates are starting the new week off on a stronger note after concerns over coronavirus impacts moved markets over the weekend. While coronavirus won't spell the end of humanity, it will undoubtedly have an impact on global commerce. This was reinforced over the weekend as Apple warned that sales would be impacted. That's a fairly high profile endorsement of fears that skeptics had been downplaying for weeks. When investors account for a slower global economy or even something as simple as "uncertainty," we generally see less of a willingness to buy stocks accompanied by increased demand for bonds. As demand for bonds increases, bond prices rise and bond yields fall. Bond yields are tantamount to "interest rates." While the coronavirus epidemic may fall out of the spotlight in the coming...(read more)

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2/18/2020 Mortgage Rates Head Back Toward Long-Term Lows

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates are starting the new week off on a stronger note after concerns over coronavirus impacts moved markets over the weekend. While coronavirus won't spell the end of humanity, it will undoubtedly have an impact on global commerce. This was reinforced over the weekend as Apple warned that sales would be impacted. That's a fairly high profile endorsement of fears that skeptics had been downplaying for weeks. When investors account for a slower global economy or even something as simple as "uncertainty," we generally see less of a willingness to buy stocks accompanied by increased demand for bonds. As demand for bonds increases, bond prices rise and bond yields fall. Bond yields are tantamount to "interest rates." While the coronavirus epidemic may fall out of the spotlight in the coming...(read more)

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2/18/2020 Builder Confidence Survey Shows Optimism is Still High

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Builder confidence dipped a notch in February but still remains at elevated levels. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says its Housing Market Index (HMI) which it sponsored with Wells Fargo, edged 1-point lower to 74. Even with this change, the Index remains high. Readings over the last three months represent the most optimistic outlook on the part of builders since December 2017. The HMI is the result of a survey conducted by NAHB each month among its new home builder members. NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz said, " Steady job growth, rising wages and low interest rates are fueling housing demand in a market that lacks inventory, particularly at the entry-level. At a time when demand is on the rise, regulatory constraints along with a shortage of construction workers and a...(read more)

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2/18/2020 MBS Week Ahead: Bonds Begin Week With an Upbeat Signal

Posted To: MBS Commentary

The ability of the bond market to defy the cues seen elsewhere in the financial market has been relatively impressive over the past few weeks. It could even be a bit puzzling, at times. Specifically, global financial markets freaked out about coronavirus. Stocks and bond yields fell abruptly. Coronavirus case count growth then stopped accelerating and financial markets began to move in the other direction. This was especially true for the US stock market, and I would go so far as to say "mostly true" for Chinese equities markets. But bonds generally continued calling those bluffs. As a new week begins, those bets look a little less reckless, and any additional gains would make them look downright prescient. Bonds are leading the charge because, unlike stocks (which can follow flights...(read more)

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2/18/2020 MBS Week Ahead: Bonds Begin Week With an Upbeat Signal

Posted To: MBS Commentary

The ability of the bond market to defy the cues seen elsewhere in the financial market has been relatively impressive over the past few weeks. It could even be a bit puzzling, at times. Specifically, global financial markets freaked out about coronavirus. Stocks and bond yields fell abruptly. Coronavirus case count growth then stopped accelerating and financial markets began to move in the other direction. This was especially true for the US stock market, and I would go so far as to say "mostly true" for Chinese equities markets. But bonds generally continued calling those bluffs. As a new week begins, those bets look a little less reckless, and any additional gains would make them look downright prescient. Bonds are leading the charge because, unlike stocks (which can follow flights...(read more)

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2/18/2020 Broker, Sales, Processing Products; Coast-to-Coast Training and Events

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Odd times that we’re living in. Here in New Orleans (“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing!”) some of the talk is about the Boy Scouts of America declaring bankruptcy due to sex abuse lawsuits, some of the talk is about the coronavirus “How Epidemics Impact Lending” ), but the primary conversation topic is about how most lender’s January locks have beaten any other January. Everyone’s above average! For lenders and vendors, the good times from 2019 seem to have flowed through. 2020 is off to a fine start and with little reason for U.S. rates to shoot higher, our industry should continue to help millions of borrowers. Lender Products and Services NEXT has been cultivating a reputation for high-quality networking and conference programming ever since...(read more)

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2/14/2020 MBS RECAP: Super Sideways Bonds Add To The Mystery

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Until today, even though bonds were already in a sideways pattern, we would have to have given the nod to the uptrend in rates vs the downtrend (2 competing trends are colliding, forming a consolidation pattern). Today's gains complicated that assessment and left the pattern more or less perfectly flat. Seeing as how a 3 day weekend is on top, that's actually not a huge surprise, even if it's different than what we were expecting yesterday. One good that came of today's session was the bond market's abundant willingness to react to economic data that was likely to be the week's most important. Specifically, Retail Sales revisions painted a bleaker picture of the consumer sector--especially when viewing the data in "core" format (i.e. excluding autos/gas/food...(read more)

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2/14/2020 Mortgage Rates Hangin' Tough Despite Stock Market Recovery

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates have primarily been at the whim of the general tone of coronavirus news for the past few weeks. That meant a swift move to multi-year lows followed by an uneven correction back toward higher levels. But the correction has been anything but threatening, and it stands in stark contrast to a much sharper correction seen in the stock market (i.e. stocks quickly got over coronavirus fears and returned to all-time highs). Why are rates able to hang tough at levels that are still quite close to long-term lows while other parts of the market seem to have moved on? Although the US stock market has moved on to some extent, Asian equities markets have not. They are pricing in the global economic impact that will ultimately be seen due to coronavirus. Granted, that impact may not be huge...(read more)

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2/14/2020 MBS Day Ahead: Uncertainty Actually Means Uncertainty

Posted To: MBS Commentary

I'll admit, there are times where I point out some chart-based evidence of uncertainty in the bond market and I feel like we're just delaying an inevitable move. The most recent sideways consolidation felt like that yesterday. Sure, yields were locked inside a nice, linear consolidation range, but with the coronavirus situation apparently improving and US stocks at all-time highs, it felt like we were merely waiting for rates to eventually break higher. What a difference a few hours can make! Stocks are still pretty close to those all-time highs, but bonds have moved to heavily favor the lower end of the recent range. Whereas I noted that the upwardly-sloped trend line was better established yesterday, today's gains quickly level the playing field (i.e. both of the red lines in...(read more)

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2/14/2020 Servicing, 203(k) Products; Conventional Conforming Underwriting Shifts

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Does anyone out there care that credit-card debt rose to a record $930 billion in Q4 2019? (Total mortgage debt hit $9.56 trillion.) How about that the origination cost of over $8,000 per loan hits low balance loan borrowers more than high balance borrowers? Do you break out your “tech spend” per loan? Has it gone from hundreds to thousands of dollars? Residential lending is truly a numbers game. According to Informa Financial Intelligence January 2020 Mortgage Originations Data, rate-lock volume has increased 71% YoY and 42% MoM across all channels, while funded volume has increased 70% YoY and fallen 10% MoM. In the Retail channel, lock volume has increased 78% YoY and 48% MoM, while funded volume has increased 94% YoY and fallen 17% MoM. Average 30-year Conforming FRM funded...(read more)

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2/14/2020 Fannie/Freddie Report Growing Net Worth Under new Policy

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Both of the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) posted strong earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019 as well as for the entire year. They are now reporting growing net worth after achieving revisions in the 2012 version of their agreement with the U.S. Treasury that allows them to retain their earning. Fannie Mae reported net income of $14.16 billion for 2019 and fourth quarter earnings of $4.37 billion. The annual income was down from $15.96 billion in 2018, but quarterly income was $402 million higher than that generated in Q3. Net revenues for the year rose from 21.93 billion in 2018 to $22.14 billion last year and from $5.23 billion in the third quarter to $5.85 billion. Revenue includes both net interest income and income from fees. Interest income increased from $5.23 billion in...(read more)

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2/13/2020 Proposed 2021 Budget Would Increase G-Fees

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The 2021 Federal Budget prepared by the White House is given little chance of passing Congress but there are a couple of provisions buried in the hundreds of pages of text that might be of interest to MND readers. One is a 10-basis point increase in g-fees , the guarantee fees the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge lenders for guaranteeing loans. The White House estimates the new fee will generate $34 billion over the next 10 years. The current fee averages about 55 basis points including a 10-basis point fee put in place in 2011 to fund the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut. Legislation enabling that fee will expire in 2021 and it is estimated to have generated $31 billion over the last ten years. What is unclear is whether the new fee would be in addition to...(read more)

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2/13/2020 MBS Day Ahead: Beware The (Ongoing) Bounce

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Fancy chart overlays and technical studies are frustrating in the sense that they give us another angle to understand and discuss market movement, but they fall far short of reliably predicting the future. Spoiler alert: that holy grail won't ever exist when it comes to legally tradeable, publicly available market insight because, if it did exist, word would get out, the trade would become crowded, and it would no longer be a money maker. But let's forget I said all that so I can sell you a bit of this snake oil. It's like taking elderberry extract when you think you might be getting sick. If you don't get sick, was it the elderberry? Will you ever know? Same story with momentum technicals in the bond market. Both shorter and longer-term momentum technicals hit overbought levels...(read more)

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2/13/2020 LO Jobs; Subservicing, Broker, Originator Products; Vendor Alliances Increasing

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Do we really have nine more months until the actual election? While you’re answering questions, does someone in your office speak Spanish? Tagalog? Mandarin? Canine ? The minority homeownership rate rose to 48.6% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2019, up slightly from the fourth quarter of 2018, according to new data from the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancies and Homeownership survey . This year over year gain is higher than the gain in the overall U.S. homeownership rate (up 0.3 percentage points to 65.1%) and marks the highest minority homeownership rate since 2011. (White homeownership stands at nearly 74 percent.) San Francisco has its share of minorities, lots of homeless people, a permit process that is one of the most onerous in the nation, and a mayor who is pushing...(read more)

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2/13/2020 Q4 Mortgage Delinquencies Reach All-Time Low

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The fourth quarter report on mortgage delinquencies from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) continues to show problem loans at historically low levels. MBA's National Delinquency Survey puts the seasonally adjusted delinquency rate at 3.77 percent of outstanding loans. This was a 20-basis point (bp) decline from the previous quarter and a 29 bps year-over-year improvement. Foreclosure starts were unchanged at a rate of 0.21 percent. "The mortgage delinquency rate in the final three months of 2019 fell to its lowest level since the current survey series began in 1979," said Marina Walsh, MBA's Vice President of Industry Analysis. "Mortgage delinquencies track closely to the U.S. unemployment rate, and with unemployment at historic lows, it's no surprise to see so many households paying their...(read more)

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2/13/2020 Home Price Gains Picked Up Speed in Q4

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Inventory issues remain a major concern and are pushing home prices in urban America still higher. The National Association of Realtors'® (NAR's) quarterly report on metropolitan home prices says 170 or 94 percent of the 180 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) it tracks, posted appreciation in their median home price during the fourth quarter of 2019. Ninety-three percent had gains in the third quarter. The national median existing single-family home price was up 6.6 percent from the median of $258,000 a year earlier. The annual rate of appreciation was 5.1 percent in the third quarter. "It is challenging - especially for those potential buyers - where we have a good economy, low interest rates and a soaring stock market, yet are finding very few homes available for sale," said Lawrence...(read more)

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2/13/2020 Home Price Gains Picked Up Speed in Q4

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Inventory issues remain a major concern and are pushing home prices in urban America still higher. The National Association of Realtors'® (NAR's) quarterly report on metropolitan home prices says 170 or 94 percent of the 180 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) it tracks, posted appreciation in their median home price during the fourth quarter of 2019. Ninety-three percent had gains in the third quarter. The national median existing single-family home price was up 6.6 percent from the median of $258,000 a year earlier. The annual rate of appreciation was 5.1 percent in the third quarter. "It is challenging - especially for those potential buyers - where we have a good economy, low interest rates and a soaring stock market, yet are finding very few homes available for sale," said Lawrence...(read more)

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2/12/2020 MBS RECAP: Bond Market's Simple Plan

Posted To: MBS Commentary

A few notes on the bond market's recent plans: First few days of 2020: Come into the new year ready for that break above 2.0% that everyone was expecting, but equally ready to react to unexpected geopolitical risk due to US/Iran conflict. Result: move to lower yields. Next few days of 2020: No war with Iran. Result: start moving back toward higher yields A few days after that: Detect the faint grumblings of epidemiologists identifying a new disease in China that sounds like it could maybe be like SARS. Result: stop pushing yields higher and wait for more info. Week ending Fri, Jan 24: Realize (along with the rest of the world) that this coronavirus thing could be serious. Result: set up shop as one of the most preferred safe-havens for the coronavirus panic trade. 2 weeks ago: kick that...(read more)

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2/12/2020 Mortgage Rates Still Giving Back Coronavirus Gains

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates have spent just over a week moving back up from the lowest levels in more than three and a half years. Those long-term lows came courtesy of the panic surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, which led investors to move more money into safe havens like bonds. When demand for bonds rises, rates fall, including mortgage rates. The move back up coincides with a steady decrease in the level of panic surrounding the outbreak. Global stock markets have not been shy about reversing coronavirus-related losses, with US stocks actually back to all-time highs. Chinese equities haven't made up nearly as much ground by comparison. And finally, the bond market (which dictates interest rates) isn't anywhere close to its pre-coronavirus levels. All of that having been said, rates are still moving...(read more)

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