Dems Release Exhaustive Housing Policy Agenda

By Jim Perskie Opposing wings of the Democratic Party released sweeping policy recommendations, including proposals to reverse policies and practices that “have made homeownership all but impossible for millions of working families.” The proposals – released by the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force – were released Wednesday as part of a 110-page document meant to bring together supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders ahead of the November election. “Democrats believe the government should take aggressive steps to increase the supply of housing, especially affordable housing, and address long-standing economic and racial inequities in our housing markets,” the proposal states. “We will equalize access to affordable credit and improve access to down payment assistance to help families of color, low-income…

Mixed Reports On Forbearance Increases, Decreases

By Jim Perskie The number of mortgage loans in forbearance decreased slightly in the latest Mortgage Bankers Association weekly report – though there are other indications that the number may begin to climb again. The MBA report released Monday found that 8.47 percent of mortgages in the United States were in forbearance as of June 21, down from 8.48 percent the week before. That works out to about 4.2 million homeowners in forbearance – the third weekly drop in a row. “The overall share of loans in forbearance declined for the second week in a row, led by the third straight drop in GSE loans,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Many borrowers initially received a three-month…

Time On Market Drops As Housing Recovery Continues

By Jim Perskie The housing recovery is continuing, even as the coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of letting up across the United States. The realtor.com Weekly Housing Recovery Index released Thursday increased two points for the week ending June 20 – climbing to 92 points, just eight points short of the pre-pandemic baseline. This week’s data shows the housing market is continuing to warm up as economies reopen and more buyers return to the streets, but with COVID cases increasing in some regions uncertainty still remains,” said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com.  The report found: Time on market dropped by three days last week, though remains 13 days slower than last year.New listings are down 19…

Number Of US Mortgages In Forbearance Drops

By Jim Perskie The number of mortgage loans in forbearance in the United States began declining for the first time since the CARES Act was passed in response to economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown across the country. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey found that 8.48 percent of mortgages were in forbearance as of June 14 – down from 8.55 percent the week before. That works out to an estimated 4.2 million homeowners in forbearance plans, down from 4.3 million the week before. “Fewer homeowners in forbearance underscores the continued improvements in the job market and provides another sign of the fundamental health of the housing market, which has rebounded considerably over the past several weeks,” said…

Redlining Legacy: Reduced Wealth In Black Community

By Jim Perskie More than 50 years after redlining was outlawed, the practice still has a profound impact on the wealth and property values in neighborhoods across the country, according to a report released by Redfin on Thursday. The typical homeowner in a neighborhood that was “redlined” for mortgage lending by the federal government has gained 52 percent less – or $212,023 – in personal wealth generated by property value increases than those in greenlined neighborhoods over the last 40 years. “More than half a century after it was abolished, redlining continues to dictate the racial makeup of neighborhoods and Black families still feel the socioeconomic effects of such a discriminatory housing policy,” Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather said. Redlining is…

FHFA Director “Encouraged” By Forbearance Trajectory

By Jim Perskie Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria told Congress that forbearance rates in the United States are “manageable,” noting that the number of homeowners pausing mortgage payments has slowed considerably in recent weeks. In testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on Tuesday, Calabria said that the number of mortgages in forbearance were significantly lower than some had predicted. “Early in the crisis, there were a wide variety of predictions about the future effects of COVID-19 on housing markets,” Calabria testified. “Some observers contended that forbearance rates would reach as high as 25 to 50 percent. Given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic and the high degree of uncertainty about the economic…

Calabria: Congress Must Strengthen FHFA

By Jim Perskie Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria told Congress on Tuesday that he will submit legislative recommendations net week to strengthen the agency’s regulatory and supervisory authority “to fix structural flaws in our housing finance system.” Testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Calabria also stressed FHFA had done significant work to support borrowers, renters and the housing market as a whole during the COVID-19 pandemic – but challenges lie ahead. “FHFA recognizes that more work remains,” Calabria said. “The crisis caused by COVID-19 is not over. The full economic and financial impact of the pandemic is not yet known. The future state of the labor market remains uncertain. The mortgage market is still…

3 States Dominate GSE Non-Performing Loan Sales

By Jim Perskie Nearly half of the non-performing loans sold by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the private sector last year were located in New York, New Jersey or Florida, according to a report released Monday by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The report found that 44 percent of the loans – known as NPLs – transferred last year were in those three states. A loan is deemed non-performing when the borrower is in default and does not pay the monthly principal and interest repayments for a specified period – often 90 days or depending on the terms of the mortgage agreement. Freddie and Fannie sell non-performing loans to reduce the number of delinquent loans in the their portfolios and…

April Pending Home Sales: Largest Drop This Century

By Jim Perskie Stay-at-home orders, curtailed real estate activities and an economic shutdown sent pending home sales into the dumps in April, according to a new report released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors. The Pending Home Sales Index dropped 21.8 percent from March – and was 33.8 percent lower than April 2019, the largest decline since NAR began tracking pending sales in 2001. Every major region experienced a drop in month-over-month contract activity and a decline in year-over-year pending home sales. “With nearly all states under stay-at-home orders in April, it is no surprise to see the markedly reduced activity in signing contracts for home purchases,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Here is how each region fared:…

Airbnb, Vrbo Booming In Beach Communities

By Jim Perskie The short-term rental market is bouncing back quickly, with travelers taking advantage of lockdowns ending just as the summer tourism season starts across the country, according to a report released Wednesday by AirDNA. There was a 202 percent increase in rental bookings on Airbnb and Vrbo in the United States between April 5 and May 18. “After weathering a flood of cancellations and scrambling to market themselves as immaculate, virus-free stays, it seems like the suffering may be somewhat short-lived,” AirDNA concludes in the report. The report also found, “After the multi-month lockdown brought global travel to a standstill, it now seems that — whether or not we’re ready — the road to economic recovery is clearly taking shape.…