Mr. Cooper Shutters Wholesale Business

Mr. Cooper is leaving the wholesale mortgage business. The Dallas-based lending giant said Wednesday it “made the decision to cease its wholesale lending operations, a segment of the business we entered as part of the Pacific Union Financial, LLC acquisition.” The company said the challenges presented by the pandemic were “not the driving force” in the decision and that the wholesale business accounted for less than 5 percent of its total originations volume. The change will lead to some job cuts, the company said. “As the market has evolved, we’ve increased our focus on our current customers and continue to prioritize investments in their experience to create customers for life,” the company said in a statement. “Additionally, we will continue…

No Loan For You! Credit Market Getting Squeezed

By Jim Perksie Historically low interest rates may not benefit many would-be homebuyers as the credit market is tightening considerably during the coronavirus pandemic. Redfin announced Wednesday that its Mortgage Credit Availability Index dropped 16 percent in March and is at its lowest level in five years. The index measures how easy it is to get a home loan. “Thousands of Americans who were priced out of the housing market due to the affordability crisis of the past decade might finally see homeownership as within reach, especially given historically-low mortgage rates. But unfortunately, they are now faced with another roadblock and may not be able to get a loan,” Redfin senior economist Sheharyar Bokhari said. “Home equity is the primary way for…

Housing Market Bounces Back Slightly

The number of new mortgage applications dropped slightly last week, though purchase applications increased and homeowners are taking advantage of low interest rates to refinance at a much higher rate than a year ago. Mortgage applications overall fell 3.3 percent from a week earlier last week, according to the weekly survey released Wednesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The MBA’s Refinance Index fell 7 percent from the previous week and was 218 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 13 percent over the previous week and was 20 percent lower than the same week one year ago. “The news in this week’s release is that purchase applications, still recovering from a five-year low,…

Zillow Extends Work-From-Home Timeline

Zillow told employees they will be allowed to work from home through the end of the year, extending the flexible working arrangement brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. “Today we let our team know they have flexibility to work from home (or anywhere) through the end of 2020,” Zillow CEO and co-founder Rich Barton tweeted. “My personal opinions about WFH have been turned upside down over the past 2 months. I expect this will have a lasting influence on the future of work … and home. Stay safe.” Zillow, launched in 2006 and based in Seattle, employees more than 5,000 people. The web-based company has a database of more than 110 million properties. “Software and the people who create, deploy,…

Pandemic Hits Housing Security For Minority Groups

The coronavirus will have a disproportionate impact on Latino, Asian and African-American households due to the nature of the jobs members of these communities hold and how much of their income they pay for housing, according to a new analysis by Zillow. With more than 22 million Americans filing for unemployment in the last four weeks, a large number work in the food, retail and arts industries. Nationwide, Zillow found, 8.3 percent of white workers are employed in these industries – compared to 12.7 percent of Latino workers, 10.2 percent of Asian workers and 10.1 percent of African-American workers. This is made worse by rent burdens for each community. White households in these industries spent 25.1 percent of their income on…

Homeownership Rates Highest Since 2013

Homeownership rates climbed to 65.3 percent in the first quarter of the year, the highest rate since the end of 2013. Data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that homeownership ticked up 0.2 percentage points during the quarter and was 1.1 percentage points higher than the first quarter of 2019. The report showed that homeowner vacancy rates were 1.1 percent – which was 0.3 percent lower than the first and fourth quarters of 2019. The rental vacancy rate of 6.6 percent was 0.4 percent points lower than the first quarter of 2019 and slightly higher than the 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019.…

MBA: 6.99% Of Mortgages In Forbearance

The number of mortgages in forbearance amid the coronavirus pandemic keeps climbing. The latest data released Monday by the Mortgage Bankers Association shows 6.99 percent of mortgage borrowers – or 3.5 million – were in forbearance as of April 19. That’s up from 5.95 percent a week earlier. On March 2, roughly 0.25 percent of loans were in forbearance. MBA’s numbers are even higher than those released Friday by Black Knight, which estimated that 6.4 percent of all mortgages were in forbearance as of April 23. “Forbearance requests fell relative to the prior week but remain roughly 100 times greater than the early March baseline,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist.” While the pace of job…

6.4% Of All Mortgages Now In Forbearance

The number of loans in forbearance continues to outpace regulators’ expectations, with an estimated 3.4 million homeowners pushing pause on mortgage payments amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Friday by Black Knight. According to the firm’s forbearance tracker, 6.4 percent of all mortgages have entered into forbearance as of April 23 – up from 5.5 percent a week ago. On March 2, roughly 0.25 percent of loans were in forbearance. Black Knight reports that 1.57 million Fannie and Freddie loans are in forbearance, making up 5.6 percent of their share of the mortgage market. Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria said early this month that he expected no more than 300,000 Fannie and Freddie loans to fall into forbearance…

US Home Prices Holding Steady So Far

A trio of housing reports released Thursday found that home prices aren’t dropping amid the ever-changing housing market brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, though sales are down. While price increases have slowed, Zillow found that the median list price of homes for sale in the United States was 0.4 percent higher than a year ago as of April 19. List prices were up about 7 percent year over year at this time in 2019. Additionally, the National Association of Realtors says 74 percent of members surveyed say their clients haven’t reduced listing prices to attract buyers. And he Census Bureau also announced Wednesday that new home sales tumbled 15.4 percent in March from February – and 9.5 percent below March…

Mortgage Rates Rise Just A Bit

Mortgage rates rose ever so slightly this week, reflecting nearly a month of stable rates after swings in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.33 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey released Thursday. “Mortgage rates have stabilized over the last few weeks as the market searches for direction in the fog of economic data,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “While financial markets initially rallied on the news of Federal Reserve support and are improving due to the Senate’s passage of a new small business stimulus, we continue to see a deep economic contraction amidst uncertainty about the recovery formation.” The survey found: The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average of 3.33…