FHFA Extends GSEs Ability To Buy Loans In Forbearance

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Wednesday that it will extend Fannie and Freddie’s ability to purchase some single-family mortgages in forbearance to continue to support the liquidity of mortgage lenders during the pandemic. FHFA originally put the policy in place in April in response to borrowers seeking mortgage forbearance shortly after closing on loans – and before the lender could deliver the loan to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Prior to the change, loans in forbearance were ineligible to be sold under Fannie and Freddie requirements, placing the borrower and the lender in jeopardy. The latest extension covers loans originated through November 30. “Eligible loans will continue to be priced to mitigate the heightened risk of loss to the…

Refinancing Surge Drives Huge Increase In Mortgage Applications

Everyone is refinancing. Mortgage applications increased 55.4 percent last week from a week earlier, driven by overwhelming demand to refinance, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. More than 76 percent of those applications came from homeowners seeking to refinance. “Market uncertainty around the coronavirus led to a considerable drop in U.S. Treasury rates last week. … Homeowners rushed in, with refinance applications jumping 79 percent – the largest weekly increase since November 2008,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. The 30-year fixed rate is at its lowest level since 2012. Other findings in the report include: The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 55.4 percent on a…

Report: January New Home Sales Jump 18.6% For Year; Highest Level Since 2007

Sales of new single-family homes increased by 7.9 percent in January over a month earlier – and 18.6 percent above January 2019, according to estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The federal report estimated that 764,000 new single-family houses were sold last month – up from 708,000 in December and 644,000 in January 2019. It is the highest level since since July 2007. The report also found: The Midwest notched a 30.3 percent increase over December and a 47.8 percent increase over January 2019.The West came in with a 23.5 percent increase for the month and a 49.1 percent increase from a year earlier.In the Northeast, home sales were up…

Survey: 45% of Americans Plan To Move This Decade

Americans are looking to get their move on during the 2020s. A new survey finds that 45 percent of homeowners have plans to move during the coming decade – with 16 percent saying they plan to move within their city, 15 percent heading off to a new city within their state and another 15 percent moving to a new state. An additional 22 percent of homeowners aren’t sure on of their moving plans, according to the survey of 1,552 Americans commissioned by LendingTree. What’s motivating these plans? The top three drivers were: Moving to an area with a lower cost of living (30 percent)Moving to an area with better job prospects (28 percent)Moving to be closer to their children (21…

Census, HUD Report: New Housing Permits Soar in January

Housing starts fell slightly in January, while new permits jumped to a nearly 13-year high, reflecting a sustained strong housing market in the United States. Building permits in January increased by 9.2 percent above the revised December rate of 1,420,000 – and was 17.9 percent above the January 2019 rate, according to a monthly report released by the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1,567,000 – or 3.6 percent below the revised December rate but still 21.4 percent above the January 2019 rate. “The latest month’s decline in housing starts is nothing to be concerned about,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.…

Builders Have Historically High Confidence in Housing Market

Reflecting a strong market and low interest rates, builder confidence in the housing market remained high though slightly lower this month, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released Tuesday. Builder confidence dropped a point in February to 74, a number reflects nearly historically high confidence in the housing market. “Steady job growth, rising wages and low interest rates are fueling demand but builders are still grappling with increasing construction and development costs,” NAHB Chairman Dean Mon said in a news release. The NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI measures builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and expectations for sales over the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” Any number over 50 indicates that…