Mortgage News Daily

Posted To: MND NewsWire

All three measures of residential construction activity performed poorly in June , and the two most closely watched numbers, construction permits and housing starts, fell short of their June 2017 numbers. Despite the monthly and year-over-year declines, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development report that activity in the first half of 2018 is still ahead of the same period last year. The worst numbers were for privately authorized housing starts. They failed to hold on to their gain in May, dropping 12.3 percent to 1,173,000 units. May's estimate of 1,337,000 units was revised down from the original 1,350,000. The June estimate fell below the June 2017 pace by 4.2 percent. The results didn't come close to meeting expectations. Analysts polled by Econoday had...(read more)

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7/18/2018 8:26:04 AM

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Fed Chair Powell will deliver round 2 of his congressional testimony today, this time at the House FSOC (yesterday was with the Senate Banking Committee). There's no reason to expect today's House session to be any more of a market mover than yesterday's Senate version. In fact, the 2nd day of testimony almost always tends to be ignored relative to the 1st day, though there are a few exceptions. Perhaps more interesting for bonds right now is the fact that momentum is at risk of shifting negatively in the event of any additional weakness. As seen in the following chart, yields have backed up to their middle bollinger band (a technical study with a 21-day moving average as the middle line with outer lines that are 2 standard deviations higher and lower). Breaking above the middle...(read more)

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7/18/2018 7:46:12 AM

Posted To: Pipeline Press

“Your loan officer should be given the opportunity to succeed elsewhere.” Ever heard a CEO recommend that to a branch manager regarding a poorly performing LO? Here in San Francisco, at the Western Secondary Conference, the talk is focused on secondary marketing and Fannie’s lower estimate of 2018’s volumes ($1.69 trillion). But LO performance and compensation creep into the conversation any time you have owners and CEOs in one room. Recently I wrote , “No one wants to be ‘the first penguin in the water’ when it comes to making LO compensation changes. But done the right way, these changes can have a very positive impact on an independent’s bottom line and chances of survival.” Lenders are heading toward taking LO comp monies and putting...(read more)

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7/18/2018 6:53:53 AM

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Refinancing made a tiny bit of a comeback during the week ended July 13. Both the Refinancing Index, a component of the Mortgage Bankers Associations (MBAs) Market Composite Index, and the share of applications that were for refinancing regained some ground after retreating during the previous three weeks. The overall Composite Index, a measure of mortgage volume, declined by 2.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, giving back all of its gains from the prior week . On an unadjusted basis the index was up 22 percent from the week ended July 6 due to the adjustments made by MBA to account for the Independence Day holiday. The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week and 36.5 percent of applications received were for refinancing. The prior week refinancing had a 34.8 percent...(read more)

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7/18/2018 6:08:06 AM

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Fed Chair Powell fielded questions from the Senate Banking Committee today as a part of the 2-day semi-annual congressional testimony often referred to as the Humphrey Hawkins address. These testimonies have plenty of street cred based on past examples where they've caused big market movements. The difference between then and now is that markets don't have much to learn from the Fed. In other words, there's not much room for off-the-radar surprises. Today's market reaction bore that out. A few bond bulls were positioned for Powell to say something dovish. When he didn't, there was a quick, shallow, negative reaction, followed by a sideways grind that kept longer-term bond near unchanged levels. Shorter-term bonds continued to lose ground, because that's what shorter...(read more)

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7/17/2018 3:18:41 PM

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates were generally unchanged today, prolonging an exceptionally flat trend. Over the past 3 weeks, the average mortgage seeker will not have seen a change in the interest rate attached to their loan. Changes have come instead from the upfront costs associated with any given rate, which can move in smaller increments than rates themselves (mortgage lenders tend to break up rates by eighths of a percentage point). The lack of movement isn't for a lack of potential movement in underlying bond markets. That said, "potential" is the operative word, and it went unfulfilled by today's data and events. Given that today's biggest calendar event was Fed Chair Powell's congressional testimony, there's little reason to assume tomorrow's installment (with the House instead of the Senate) will...(read more)

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7/17/2018 2:36:00 PM

Posted To: MND NewsWire

As analysts had expected, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) remained at 68 this month. The reading still indicates a strong level of builder confidence in the new home market, but the HMI has been relatively static for months, moving within a two-point range, 68 to 70, since March. NAHB surveys its new home building members monthly on their attitude toward the market. They are asked to grade their perceptions of the current market and the market they expect over the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor." The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates...(read more)

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7/17/2018 8:47:45 AM

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has plucked more information from the Census Bureau's Survey of Construction (SOC), this time to paint a portrait of the state of residential permitting nationwide. Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington writes in NAHB's Eye on Housing blog that permits for single-family construction issued during the first five months of the year were up by 8 percent over the same period in 2017. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says the nationwide total for the period is 363,327 compared to 336,410 for the year-to-date (YTD) through May 2017. The activity however, was skewed toward the West and the South. Permits were issued at a similar seasonally adjusted annual rate in May of 363,700, an 8.6 percent year-over-year increase. The Bureau will issue...(read more)

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7/17/2018 8:02:15 AM

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Fed Chair Powell begins 2 days of semi annual congressional testimony today with the Senate Banking Committee at 10am. In recent years, this testimony has devolved into laughable political theater, mostly. That said, today's has a few redeeming qualities. First off, the Senate session tends to be slightly less theatrical than the House version coming up tomorrow. Beyond that, we know from Powell's previous congressional appearances that he tends to navigate the political posturing with more grace than Yellen--something that tends to help move the legislative blowhards through their grandstanding more quickly. Finally, despite all the theater, the fact remains that this is a venue for the Fed Chair to answer unscripted questions. Therefore, there will always be big market movement potential...(read more)

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7/17/2018 7:47:12 AM

Posted To: Pipeline Press

“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” While you ruminate on that one, there continues to be evidence and reminders that potential home buyers are having trouble coming up with “skin in the game,” aka, a down payment. It would take an average of 36 years for someone earning the median income in D.C. to save for a 20% down payment on a median-priced house, according to a recent report from U.S. Mortgage Insurers. Still, try being a teacher in San Francisco earning $70k/year saving up for a median-priced $1.6 million home. Capital Markets Rates? Every day, a little up, a little down , although many days borrowers wouldn’t notice the difference on rate sheets. Yesterday they went up a little bit as bond prices dropped (there’s...(read more)

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7/17/2018 6:52:10 AM

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Summertime Mondays are notorious for light volume and seemingly random trading. Today was a slightly more active than normal in that regard, largely due to the presence of top tier data (Retail Sales) and a geopolitical event in the form of the Trump/Putin summit. The latter was never expected to offer any major revelations, but the former is always capable of delivering some bond market momentum. Bonds were just slightly weaker heading into the Retail Sales numbers. The weakness continued after the report came out stronger than expected. But wait! It was 0.5 vs 0.5, so how was it stronger than expected? The key difference was in the revision to last month's report (previously 0.8 but now 1.3%). The "core" sales reading was also revised higher. Additionally, several GDP estimates...(read more)

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7/16/2018 3:52:27 PM

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates fell to their lowest levels since late May as of last Friday. Today, then, would be the 2nd best day since late May. Rates edged slightly higher to begin the new week as bond markets (which underlie rates) came under modest pressure for several relatively inconsequential reasons. The net effect was a small adjustment in the upfront costs associated with prevailing rates. In other words, the actual interest rate governing your monthly mortgage payment hasn't changed in weeks, but the upfront costs tied to that rate are slightly higher for lenders today compared to last Friday. Loan Originator Perspective My clients and i continue to favor locking in once within 30 days of closing. Only loans i would consider floating would be those that can lock on a shorter time tomorrow or if...(read more)

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7/16/2018 2:11:00 PM

Posted To: MBS Commentary

This is the off-season for bonds, but they still have to show up for the game every day. The coaching staff (aka the traders turning the cogs of the underlying bond market) have been running the same play every day since June 27th . It's a play that's been working on both offense and defense, thus providing an easy button for the entire team (even if it's also a "boring button"). No one gets hurt, and no one has a ridiculously good time--typical off season. So what's the play in question? Simply put, bond market players have been tasked each day with playing harder and harder defense whenever yields rise toward 2.88. On offense, they only push hard enough to get yields to 2.825, as seen on the following chart with numerous bounces on the lower teal line. I included...(read more)

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7/16/2018 7:05:26 AM

Posted To: Pipeline Press

When Costco rolled out its mortgage option to members, many lenders were very concerned. But despite great potential, Costco/First Choice has not become the #1 lender in America. I heard something interesting last week: Costco doesn’t make much money selling products, it makes all profits from membership fees . Despite Bank of America’s great quarterly results this morning, lots of lenders aren’t making much money selling their products either, unfortunately, and the number of residential lenders who haven’t adjusted their headcount, compensation plans, or business models in reaction is dwindling . (The latest example is job cuts at State Farm .) If a branch or channel hasn’t been profitable for a while, ask what’s going to happen, if anything, to reverse...(read more)

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7/16/2018 6:50:44 AM

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Despite complaints about labor, lot, and material shortages, builders needed no more time to build a home last year than they did in 2016. The time did increase compared to 2015 by about two weeks. Using data from the Census Bureau's Survey of Construction (SOC), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) concludes that the average time to build a single-family house was 7.5 months. The actual building time was about 6.5 months following a typical delay of around 30 days after the permit was authorized. Data from the 2015 survey showed the time from permit to completion at 7 months. The range however is wide, from less than a month to more than 6 years. Much depends on who is building the house, for what purpose, and where. , writing in NAHB's Eye on Housing Blog, says that houses built...(read more)

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7/16/2018 6:14:24 AM

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Before any discussion about market movement in July, we have to set the stage with some disclaimer about "slow summertime trading." That was the subject of this morning's commentary ( read it here , if you like). With that out of the way, we're equipped to pay the appropriate amount of attention to today's seemingly interesting events. First up, we had a reasonably strong move in European bonds overnight help set a mildly positive tone for the start of domestic trading. The biggest volume spike of the early morning came at 8:30am in response to the Import Price data, which came in much lower than expected. Bond yields/prices, themselves, only moved a bit, however--a fact that likely reflects the nearness of yields to the lower end of their prevailing range. The other notable...(read more)

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7/13/2018 2:23:26 PM

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates fell by an observable amount today-- one of the few times they've done so in recent weeks. Technically, today's average lender is offering the best we've seen since May 31st. That sounds pretty great, right?! Unfortunately, there's a fairly big catch. While today's rates are indeed the best in a month and a half, the range during that time has been so excruciatingly narrow that most prospective mortgage borrowers will find the distinction fairly meaningless. In almost all cases, the actual NOTE rate at the top of your loan quote will be the same as it has been for weeks. The only change in lenders' rate sheets is in the upfront cost associated with that rate. In other words, if you'd seen a quote of 4.75% with 0 points yesterday, today's quote would be more like 4.75% with a...(read more)

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7/13/2018 12:55:00 PM

Posted To: MBS Commentary

I know I made a Looney Tunes reference last week, but another one is in order. For those that aren't familiar, Yosemite Sam is stranded on a desert island and sits down to a smorgasbord of coconuts, prepared in various ways: "tossed coconut salad, fresh coconut milk, New England boiled coconut," he says, feigning excitement just before breaking down and proclaiming "oooh I hate coconuts!!!!" Yosemite Sam's coconut menu plan is akin to trying to find a way to make something new and interesting out of summertime bond market movement. The fact is that at some point in June or July, almost every year, bonds end up either pausing or reversing, and volumes generally begin declining in July, finally bottoming out in September, almost like clockwork. In the chart above,...(read more)

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7/13/2018 8:20:28 AM

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Events and Training Don't miss out on the Lenders One 2018 Summer Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 5-8, at The Grand America. In an age of disruption, it's never been more important to learn from peers and industry leaders. Keynote speakers Alison Levine and David Robertson will share ways to get ahead in a tough market, and attendees will be able to select from 16 curated education sessions led by industry experts. Topics include: improving margins, generating business through MarTech, rethinking your compliance strategy and five Secondary Market panels. Touted as the most valuable part of conference, Lenders One has expanded networking opportunities for members to connect with peers and explore best practices. Reserve your spot by this Friday, July 13, or contact Lauren Ketchum...(read more)

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7/13/2018 6:58:39 AM

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates stood a very decent chance to experience the highest volatility of the week today thanks to the most important economic data of the week being released this morning. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the most widely-followed inflation metric in the U.S. and inflation is a big deal for the bonds that underlie rates (including mortgages). On numerous occasions over the past 2 years, we've witnessed clear connections between variations in CPI data and subsequent volatility in rates. But not today... The biggest issue today was that CPI ended up being pretty boring. In other words, the actual numbers were very close to the forecast. Bonds (and thus, interest rates) didn't have much of a reaction. Even then, we may well wonder how big of a reaction we would have seen if the data was...(read more)

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7/12/2018 3:18:00 PM