Mortgage News Daily

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Yesterday's mortgage rate commentary noted a fresh move down to the lowest levels in more than 3.5 years . With just a bit more improvement, the same is true today . This isn't some isolated opportunity. Rates have been pushing long-term lows off-and-on for months. In fact, we've spent more than 7 months in territory that makes refinancing attractive for big contingent of homeowners who purchased or refi'd in 2017-2018. Making the boom even boomier is the fact that folks who refi'd in early 2019 are already back in the money for another refi now. The numbers corroborate this. The Mortgage Banker's Association continues showing refi applications at higher levels than those seen during the 2016 refi boom. Simply put, we're looking at the strongest refi demand since 2012. As for the motivation...(read more)

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2/21/2020 2:52:00 PM

Posted To: MND NewsWire

If it's January it must mean fewer home sales. That, at least, has been the recent pattern according to National Association of Realtors (NARs). Existing home sales have bounced up and down on a near monthly basis. Strong sales in December, they rose 3.6 percent month-over-month, were expected to result in a slowdown in January and they did. Sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and cooperative apartments were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million last month, down 1.3 percent from the 5.54 million pace in December. However, for the second straight month overall sales substantially increased on an annual basis, up 9.6 percent from the 4.98 million sales in January 2019. Single-family sales dipped 1.2 percent to an annual rate of 4.85 million from 3.91 million...(read more)

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2/21/2020 10:12:19 AM

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Tighter underwriting and a strong economy seemingly continue to be reflected in mortgage loan performance. In its "first look" at January loan data, Black Knight says the national delinquency rate hit the lowest level since they began tracking it in 2000. The rate, 3.22 percent, represents a 5.4 percent decline from December and 14.2 percent year-over-year. The company says the annual figure shows that the rate of improvement in delinquencies has been picking up speed in recent months and this was the largest drop in more than a year. That percentage change translates to a 98,000 decline in a single month in the number of loans that are 30 or more days past due but not in foreclosure. The annual decrease of nearly a quarter million (240,000) loans results in a current population of 1,705,000...(read more)

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2/21/2020 8:49:45 AM

Posted To: MBS Commentary

The bond market specializes in making bets about future economic realities even as the stock market reflects shorter-term performance of the biggest companies. "Shorter-term" in this context means a heavy weight given to present day stats and an outlook that extends not more than a year or two into the future. Bonds, on the other hand, have an outlook that lines up precisely with their stated duration. For example, the 10yr Treasury note is accounting for everything it can reasonably foresee up to 10 years from now. Sure, there is also more weight given to more immediate concerns, but even then, Treasuries tend to look farther out than stocks. They also tend to benefit from the hedging of economic bets even as stocks remain on solid footing. The hedging of bets is an especially good...(read more)

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2/21/2020 8:47:36 AM

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said information from its January Builder Application Survey shows applications to finance new home purchases surged 40 percent from December and were 35.3 percent higher than in January 2019. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns. Based on this data, MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 865,000 units in January compared to 689,000 units the prior month. On an unadjusted basis the estimate is for 66,000 home sales up 37.5 percent from the 48,000 transactions in December. The new home sales estimate is derived using mortgage application information from the BAS, as well as assumptions regarding market coverage and other factors. "New home applications and sales...(read more)

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2/21/2020 8:32:02 AM

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Yesterday’s commentary mentioned that there were “rumors” of Citi re-entering the correspondent channel. I apologize for any confusion. Readers should understand that Citi has never exited the correspondent channel, and the rumors revolve around Citi beefing up its presence in that area. In addition, the comment about pair off fees was hearsay and certainly not Citi’s company policy. Speaking of banks, under the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” category, people in their 20s and 30s' desire to under the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” category, people in their 20s and 30s' desire to aggressively save and retire early could be problematic for the Federal Reserve. Saving is good, right? Others say a generation of vigorous...(read more)

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2/21/2020 7:31:46 AM

Posted To: MBS Commentary

At the start of the overnight session (yesterday night), 10yr yields were up around 1.58%. By 1030am ET, they'd already fallen to 1.525%. Up until that time, we hadn't heard so much as a peep out of global equities markets even though they would go on to get credit for the day's big move in bonds. If you're picking up what I'm layin' down here, the point is that bonds were already most of the way to their destination well before stocks had a chance to exert influence. Nonetheless, the stock swoon in the 11am hour managed to impress. The S&P lost more than 40 points in short order and bond yields were compelled to plumb new lows for the day, even if those lows were only 2bps below the morning's best levels. Although coronavirus headlines got a lot of attention...(read more)

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2/20/2020 3:35:58 PM

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates haven't been this low for this long in years--3.5 years to be exact. Brexit was the talk of the town in the middle of 2016 and it resulted in rates very close to all-time lows for well over 3 months (all of July, Aug, Sept). Although rates aren't quite as low this time around, they average lender is still quoting 3.5% or lower on top tier scenarios. That's only happened on a consistent basis in 2016 and 2012. Moreover, the current stint is approaching a month in length. Combine that with the fact that rates haven't been over 3.875% since the middle of 2019, and the current mortgage environment is more than worthy of being viewed in the same legendary light as 2012 and 2016. In 2012 it was the European crisis and massive central bank bond buying. In 2016 it was Brexit and massive...(read more)

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2/20/2020 2:52:00 PM

Posted To: MBS Commentary

In case you're just joining us, there's a consolidation going on in the bond market. That means yields are trading in a progressively narrower range after making a relatively bigger move. It happened in grand fashion in the second half of 2019 and we're seeing a smaller scale example so far in 2020. The "relatively bigger move" in question January's drop in rates, precipitated by the ramping-up of coronavirus fears. In many significant ways, coronavirus continues keeping a lid on yields, even though traders are also considering things like Fed policy, the 2020 presidential election, and economic data. Econ data would be a lot more significant if it weren't for coronavirus. Reason being: the current crop of reports must now be taken with a grain of salt because...(read more)

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2/20/2020 9:23:45 AM

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The slight drop in mortgage rates in January stabilized refinance originations according to the January Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae. The 3 basis point dip to an average rate of 3.96 percent kept the refinancing share of closed loans at 46 percent, unchanged from December . Conventional loan refinances increased from 53 percent in December to 55 percent in January, while the refinance share of VA and FHA loans declined by 4 and 3 percentage points respectively. Conventional loans accounted for 71 percent of all loans closed during the month, up 1 point. FHA's 16 percent share was 1 point lower than in December as was the 8 percent share of VA loans. Adjustable rate mortgages had a 6.3 percent share, up a point from December. The time to close all loans remained at 48 days for the...(read more)

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2/20/2020 9:20:45 AM

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Morgan Stanley buying E-Trade is causing some chatter this morning, and last night’s Democratic debate had plenty of chatter. (Some would use a stronger term than “chatter.” By the way, here’s a quick, easy quiz about which candidate agrees with your views.) Our industry is filled with “chatter,” the latest example being rumors of PHH and Citi re-entering the correspondent channel. (One small mortgage banker retorted, “If they do, I hope that Citi doesn’t try to charge me a pair off fee on a best efforts lock like it did before!”) Perhaps the competition will lead to a better secondary market price for some loans for some lenders, and counteract some of the potential lost profits from FHA loans IF Chase and Wells return to offering that...(read more)

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2/20/2020 7:50:53 AM

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Residential construction data was mixed at the kick-off of the new year. Permits increased significantly while both housing starts and completions pulled back from December numbers. The U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban development reported that permits for residential construction were issued in January at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,551,000. This is 9.2 percent higher than the December estimate of 1,420,000, revised from the 1,416,000 permitting rate originally reported. The uptick in permitting during January as well as in the fourth quarter of last year has boosted the rate 17.9 percent higher than in January 2019. Permits were substantially higher than even the most optimistic predictions from analysts polled by Econoday. They forecast results in a range...(read more)

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2/19/2020 9:53:23 AM

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Everyone is looking to increase production and cut expenses. MI companies, for example, are re-focusing on their highlighting their value proposition while evaluating their cost structure: what good does it do to have personnel calling on branches when many loan officers work from home and rarely go into the office? For lenders, the MBA’s calculations for the cost to produce a loan in the 4th quarter will be out in mid-March. But it is worth remembering that its last study showed the cost in the third quarter was $7,217 for non-depository lenders, down from the all-time peak of $9,300 in the first quarter of last year. Costs tend to be lower in the middle part of the country versus the coasts for several reasons, including the cost of land and building. Here in Charlotte there is a decent...(read more)

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2/19/2020 8:57:02 AM

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Thinking about the bond market in terms of rates and yields affords certain analytical luxuries. One is the ability to think in "upside down" terms where fans of low rates hope to break floors and find footing on ceilings. The most recently established floor for 10yr yields was 1.575 as of the end of last week. Yields had bounced there several times without any solid attempt to break through. The over-the-weekend gains changed things. With yields beginning the week yesterday at 1.54% and change, we had a clear first line of defense at the 1.575 ceiling. Traders didn't waste much time testing its strength yesterday as there was a very quick move from 1.54 to 1.575 early in the day. But the ceiling held and it endured 2 additional bounces in the overnight session. Now in the domestic...(read more)

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2/19/2020 8:26:03 AM

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Mortgage loan applications submitted during the week ended February 14 declined for the first time since mid-January. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 6.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the week ended February 7. On an unadjusted basis, the Index lost 5 percent. The Refinance Index also fell for the first time in for weeks , decreasing 8 percent from the previous week. However, it was still 165 percent higher than the same week one year ago . Refinancing applications accounted for 63.2 percent of total applications, down from 65.5 percent a week earlier. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent but was up 2 percent on an unadjusted basis. Applications were 10 percent...(read more)

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2/19/2020 7:34:37 AM

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 2:33:38 PM

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 2:01:00 PM

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 2:01:00 PM

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 9:40:09 AM

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 8:13:26 AM