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10/18/2019 MBS RECAP: Quiet Trading Week Leaves Focus on Brexit Weekend

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Today was a throw-away day for the bond market. Yields matched their narrowest trading range of the week and ended the day at their most 'unchanged' levels of the week (i.e. closest to the previous day's close). In addition, Friday's close was only 2bps away from last Friday's close. Translation: bonds did a GREAT job of QUICKLY getting into position for upcoming risks after LAST WEEK'S Brexit news. You'd be forgiven if you forgot about this one already, but I'm referring to the meeting that took place between Boris Johnson and the Northern Irish PM Varadkar. That meeting introduced the prospect of a last minute Brexit deal. Bonds jumped accordingly (perhaps with some help from the trade deal announcement the following day) and the waiting game began. As of tomorrow...(read more)

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10/18/2019 Here's Why Rates Were Flat This Week (And Why That Should Change)

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates were flat today. In fact, they were very close to being flat on the week for that matter! This is a reflection of the bond markets current set of concerns, which really came into focus late last week with Thursday's Brexit-related news and Friday's trade deal updates. Brexit refers to the UK's attempts to exit the EU. As esoteric of a concern as that may seem, it's something that the bond market (and hence, interest rates) quite clearly cares about. Last Thursday's unexpected progress between Boris Johnson and Northern Ireland's Prime Minister sent rates screaming higher at their fastest pace in months. I could also argue that much of the damage that seemed to have been done by Friday's US/China trade news was instead follow-through momentum from Thursday's Brexit-inspired move...(read more)

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10/18/2019 FHA Tops the List for Non-Conventional Purchases

Posted To: MND NewsWire

More than a quarter of new home purchases in 2018 were financed through non-conventional sources. Data from the Census Bureau's Survey of Construction shows that, while the new home market was dominated by loans from Fannie and Freddie Mac, other funding accounted for 28.6 percent of new home purchases. Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington analyzed the data for an entry in the National Association of Home Builders' Eye on Housing Blog. FHA-backed loans were the most prevalent form of non-conventional financing in the new home market last year with an 11.0 percent share, followed by all-cash at 10.0 percent. VA-backed loans accounted for 5.6 percent and other financing for 2.1 percent. That latter category included loans from the USDA's Rural Housing Service, Habitat for Humanity, loans from individuals...(read more)

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10/18/2019 After Two Years, Residential Fixed Investment Returns to Positive Territory

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Even though the pace of home building remains below where the industry would like it to be, Fannie Mae says it helped drive residential fixed investment into the black in the third quarter. The company's Economic and Strategic Research Macroeconomic Forecast Team says it would be the first time that component will make a positive contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) since 2017. The team had previously forecast a positive contribution from residential fixed investment, but data has come in stronger than anticipated and they have revised it upward to 4.2 percent annualized in the third quarter. This strength should carry into the fourth quarter, putting the remainder of the year on a solid footing. "What had been a drag on the economy for almost two years will now likely be a near...(read more)

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10/18/2019 MBS Day Ahead: Strange Combination of Pre-Brexit Paralysis and Jumpiness

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Yesterday brought the highest yields in a month as Brexit-related optimism swelled early in the overnight session. At issue: British PM Johnson and EU negotiators reached "a deal." Great! Right? Brexit is solved? But wait... British parliament would still need to sign off on the deal, and the news was quick to point out the relative impossibility of such a thing. As such, overnight market movement began to reverse course even before US markets opened. That brings us to today. Traders know that an easy passage of the current deal is unlikely. But they also know that the deal could be adjusted or debated in such a way that passage is not impossible. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that the EU could respond in one of two ways if there's no deal by the end of the month (grant...(read more)

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10/18/2019 MBA Predicts Economic and Rate Uncertainty Depressed New Home Sales

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) says it expects that new home sales declined in September relative to August based on a drop in mortgage applications to finance their purchase. MBA says its Builder Application Survey showed there were 8 percent fewer applications in September than in August, but those applications were submitted at a rate 34.2 percent higher than a year earlier. The data does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns. Based on this information and on assumptions regarding other factors such as market coverage, MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 725,000 units in September. This represents a decrease of 7.6 percent from the August pace of 785,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, MBA estimates that...(read more)

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10/18/2019 Broker, Fraud, Credit, and Hedging Products; Lenders Adjust to FHA Changes

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Here’s a little trivia for you. What does San Francisco have six of that Manhattan has none of? Dirt roads ! I don’t know if the cost of maintaining a dirt road is more than that of maintaining a paved road, but I do know that the industry is buzzing about Citi being smacked with a $30 million fine by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency stemming from violations in relation to the holding period of other real estate owned. Yes, apparently there is a two-year limit on banks maintaining possession of a foreclosed property unless the bank applies for an annual exemption for five years. Past five years and the bank is supposed to sell the property back into the market to prevent available housing inventory from being kept away from would-be homebuyers. I received a few notes...(read more)

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10/17/2019 MBS RECAP: Even if Bonds Weren't Ignoring Data, They'd Still Be Confused

Posted To: MBS Commentary

The bond market has a lot on its mind right now. 2019 is proving to be very different from other episodes of big, protracted rate trends. In most past instances, we can point to 1 key theme driving the momentum, with a few occasional supporting actors. Things are more complex and nuanced this time around as the usual suspects for rate inspiration seem to be taking turns in the driver's seat. This week (and perhaps last week, to some extent), Brexit is definitely in control. News of a new potential deal hit bonds overnight, but we bounced back after subsequent news that it would have a hard time getting enough votes to make it through Parliament in a special session this Saturday. Much of the brexit-related volatility was playing out right as this morning's economic data hit. Was this...(read more)

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10/17/2019 Mortgage Rates Face Volatility Thanks to an Old Friend

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates didn't do much today, but risks are increasing that movement will be more brisk in the coming business days. Blame European politics--specifically: Brexit. This isn't the mortgage rates' world first go-round with the U.K.'s lengthy process of exiting the European Union (aka "Brexit"). In fact, Brexit was the single biggest factor that helped drive rates down to the long-term lows seen in 2016. For most lenders, those rates were close enough to the all-time lows seen in 2012. The fact that they were available in the middle of the summer homebuying season only made things better for the housing market. Thanks Brexit! More than 3 years later and the U.K. is set to run into yet another deadline for its divorce from the EU. This one has been on the radar for months, but it's been...(read more)

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10/17/2019 Mortgage Rates Face Volatility Thanks to an Old Friend

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates didn't do much today, but risks are increasing that movement will be more brisk in the coming business days. Blame European politics--specifically: Brexit. This isn't the mortgage rates' world first go-round with the U.K.'s lengthy process of exiting the European Union (aka "Brexit"). In fact, Brexit was the single biggest factor that helped drive rates down to the long-term lows seen in 2016. For most lenders, those rates were close enough to the all-time lows seen in 2012. The fact that they were available in the middle of the summer homebuying season only made things better for the housing market. Thanks Brexit! More than 3 years later and the U.K. is set to run into yet another deadline for its divorce from the EU. This one has been on the radar for months, but it's been...(read more)

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10/17/2019 Single Family Construction Improves, Multi-Family Not So Much

Posted To: MND NewsWire

After posting some of the best results in a year the previous month, all three construction indicators fell back in September . The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said housing starts and completions of residential units were especially weak as were the numbers posted in the Northeast. Permits for residential construction declined by 2.7 percent from the prior month for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,387,000 units. The previous estimate of 1,419,000 permits in August was revised up to 1,425,000. The September estimate leaves the permitting rate up 7.7 percent from the September 2018 estimate of 1,288,000 units. Analysts had expected permits to move lower after the 7.7 percent monthly jump in August. Those polled by Econoday were looking for results...(read more)

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10/17/2019 MBS Day Ahead: Lots of Data, But All Eyes on Brexit

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Yesterday saw a swath of Brexit headlines spark unavoidable bond market weakness just as a weaker reading in the important Retail Sales report suggested a rally. Offsetting penalties, back to the line of scrimmage! Bonds ultimately ended green on the day, but that was largely made possible by the heavy losses from Tuesday's session (brexit-driven as well). Heading into today, Brexit continued to hog the spotlight as far as global markets and US Treasuries were concerned. News of a NEW and potentially viable deal hit hard overnight with GBP (British Pounds Sterling) and EU bond yields surging higher. Treasury yields were pulled along for the ride in heavy volume. 10yr Treasuries hit their highest yields in just shy of a month (Sept 19th was higher, but just barely). Doubts began to emerge...(read more)

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10/17/2019 Correspondent, Home Equity Products; Warehouse Facility For Sale; HUD and Flood Programs

Posted To: Pipeline Press

52% of Agency biz (e.g., Freddie and Fannie) is first-time home buyers. Over at HUD, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), first-time home buyers account for more than 75 percent of FHA home purchases. FHA & VA continue to evolve – more below. Lender Services and Products “New! Freedom Mortgage Wholesale’s FHA Condo Single Unit Approval program allows for approvals of individual condo units meeting certain eligibility requirements even if the condo project is not FHA approved! Freedom Mortgage Wholesale is the right choice for a fast and easy FHA Condo approval. Relax - we coordinate the collection of all condo project information for you. Additionally, Freedom Mortgage will absorb any fees associated with Condo Questionnaire requests. Join us for FHA Condo...(read more)

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10/17/2019 Nearly Half of October Originations Were Refinances

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The 30-year note rate on closed mortgages fell to 3.93 percent in September, down from 4.07 percent in August, and along with the decline, the ninth in as many months, the share of refinances crept close to half of all the month's originations. Ellie Mae's September Origination Insight Report said the refinances rose 6 percentage points to a 49 percent share. Purchase loans thus accounted for the lowest portion of closed loans since March 2015. It was the first month that conventional loans were dominated by refinancing. It accounted for 55 percent of the total as purchases dropped to 35 percent. Refinances made up 28 percent of FHA transactions, up from 27 percent, and the refinance share of VA loans rose 3 points to 37 percent. The distribution of all transactions among loan types shifted...(read more)

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10/16/2019 MBS RECAP: Why Didn't Bonds Seem to Care About Retail Sales?

Posted To: MBS Commentary

There was a bit of a giveaway in this morning's commentary, titled " Brexit Headlines vs Retail Sales ." Indeed, it's "Brexit headlines" that answer the question in the most recent headline. In other words, bond markets at home and abroad (but especially abroad) were focused on moving higher in yield this morning in response to Brexit headlines. One notable example hit just before the Retail Sales data came out. A reading of -0.3% vs a forecast of +0.3% is a fairly meaningful miss for this data series and certainly worth more improvement in bonds than we saw. But because of the upward pressure created by the Brexit reaction, all we got was ground-holding while European yields continued higher. In fact, once traders made their Retail Sales trades, US yields went a...(read more)

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10/16/2019 MBS RECAP: Why Didn't Bonds Seem to Care About Retail Sales?

Posted To: MBS Commentary

There was a bit of a giveaway in this morning's commentary, titled " Brexit Headlines vs Retail Sales ." Indeed, it's "Brexit headlines" that answer the question in the most recent headline. In other words, bond markets at home and abroad (but especially abroad) were focused on moving higher in yield this morning in response to Brexit headlines. One notable example hit just before the Retail Sales data came out. A reading of -0.3% vs a forecast of +0.3% is a fairly meaningful miss for this data series and certainly worth more improvement in bonds than we saw. But because of the upward pressure created by the Brexit reaction, all we got was ground-holding while European yields continued higher. In fact, once traders made their Retail Sales trades, US yields went a...(read more)

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10/16/2019 Mortgage Rates Little-Changed Near Recent Highs

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates improved modestly today, depending on the lender. Some lenders moved rates higher yesterday due to deterioration in the bond market. Others simply planned to adjust for market conditions this morning. If we look at the last 3 days altogether, however, it's easier to characterize rates as being right in line with the highest levels in nearly a month. Volatility remains a risk in the near-term future, but not for conventional reasons. Normally, economic data and Fed policy would be responsible for the biggest moves in the bond market that underlies mortgage rates. At the moment, however, geopolitical risks and US/China trade policy updates can have an impact that's just as big. There was fresh evidence of this today when Brexit-related updates offset the influence of a key piece...(read more)

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10/16/2019 Builder Confidence at Best Levels Since 2018

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), which has held in the mid-to-upper 60 range since May, finally got moving this month. The Index, a measure of home builder confidence in the market for newly constructed houses, jumped up 3 points to reach 71, the highest level since February 2018 . NAHB Chair Greg Ugalde said, "The housing rebound that began in the spring continues, supported by low mortgage rates, solid job growth and a reduction in new home inventory." "The second half of 2019 has seen steady gains in single-family construction, and this is mirrored by the gradual uptick in builder sentiment over the past few months," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "However, builders continue to remain cautious due to ongoing supply side constraints...(read more)

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10/16/2019 Harvard Study Looks at Where, How Aging Baby Boomers Live

Posted To: MND NewsWire

While a lot of attention is now focused on Millennials, the country is still aging. A new report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies looks at how the growing population of elderly is poised to change the characteristics of homeownership and the need to prepare for the ramifications. The first part of the report, Housing America's Older Adults 2019 , details the aging of the population as Baby Boomers increasingly reach retirement age - the leading edge of the second largest generation in history is now 73 years old - and where and with whom they reside. The number of households headed by persons 65 years of older increased from 27 million in 2012 to 31 million in 2017. The next younger age cohort, those aged 50 to 64 grew only by 770,000 to about 35 million. Over the next 20 years...(read more)

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10/16/2019 Broker, LOS, Warehouse Products; Nationwide Events and Free Training

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Sen. Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.” In a question guaranteed to generate opinions, there is, “Rob, do you ever think that the mortgage industry will be like the gasoline business, dominated by a very few huge companies?” No, I don’t think so. The cost and barriers to entry are too low. I very much doubt that a few lenders will ever dominate the mortgage origination sector. Looking back over a few decades concentration among the top 30 lenders has been very fluid. The top 30 lenders had a 92% market share in 2008, but that has dropped to 57% in 2018. Over the last ten years, 23 of those top 30 lenders are newly in this elite group which means that only seven have been able to sustain their leadership...(read more)

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