Mortgage Applications Surge 15.1 Percent Last Week

The Mortgage Bankers Association said their weekly Mortgage Applications Survey last week was just the “calm before the storm” – and they were very right. Mortgage applications surged 15.1 percent last week over the week earlier – with the refinance index 224 percent above the same week in 2019, MBA data released Wednesday shows. The jump in applications comes as 30-year fixed rate mortgages dropped to their lowest levels since 2013. “Given the further drop in Treasury rates this week, we expect refinance activity will increase even more until fears subside and rates stabilize,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “We are now at the start of the spring homebuying season. While purchase applications were down…

Commercial, Multi-Family Mortgage Delinquencies Remain Low in Q4

Another day, another positive mortgage report. The Mortgage Bankers Association announced Tuesday that commercial and multifamily mortgage delinquencies remained at or near record-low delinquency rates. This is in line with other data released for January on delinquencies and foreclosure rates. “Commercial and multifamily mortgages ended the fourth quarter of 2019 much the way they started the year – at or near record low delinquency rates,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research. “The key drivers – solid property fundamentals, strong property values and low interest rates – continue to support the market.” MBA’s quarterly analysis examines the commercial/multifamily delinquency rates for commercial banks and thrifts, commercial mortgage-backed securities, life insurance companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Together,…

Census: Residential Construction Rises To $554.8 Billion In January

Spending on residential construction in the United States increased 2.1 percent in January to $554.8 billion, helping drive overall construction levels to record levels, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Total construction spending in January was estimated to be $1.37 trillion, up 1.8 percent above December estimates – and 8.6 percent above the January 2019 estimate of $1.28 trillion. Additional highlights from the report include: Spending on private construction was estimated at $1.02 trillion, 1.5 percent above the month before.Non-residential construction came in at an estimated $468 billion in January, which was 0.8 percent above the December number. The residential construction spending should begin to help fill a dearth of inventory of homes on the market, driven by a relatively…

Report: Refinance Levels Skyrocket in Fourth Quarter

Refinancing activity reached its highest levels since 2013, jumping 250 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 over a year earlier, according to a report released Monday by Black Knight. The analysis, included in the firm’s monthly Mortgage Monitor Report, noted that cash-out lending increased to a 10-year high, though refinancing for better rates and/or terms drove much of the increase. Many homeowners who refinance are doing so with new lenders, according to Black Knight Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske. “Despite a surge in refinance lending driven by low rates, servicers continue to struggle in their efforts to recapture refinancing borrowers, with only one in five being retained by servicers in Q4 2019,” said Graboske. “Retention rates rose along…

Pending Home Sales Shoot Up 5.2% in January

A good economy and low interest rates contributed to a big jump in pending home sales in January, the National Association of Realtors announced Thursday. This builds on a government report released a day earlier that showed new home sales were significantly higher in January. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) increased 5.2 percent to 108.8 in January – and 5.7 percent over January 2019. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001. “This month’s solid activity – the second-highest monthly figure in over two years – is due to the good economic backdrop and exceptionally low mortgage rates,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Here is a look at pending sales across the…

MBA: Mortgage Applications Increased 1.5% Last Week

In a report reflecting the “calm before the storm,” the Mortgage Bankers Association announced Wednesday that mortgage applications increased 1.5 percent last week – adjusted for the shortened Presidents’ Day holiday. On an unadjusted basis, the Market Composite Index – measuring loan application volume – dropped 7 percent from the previous week. “Last week appears to have been the calm before the storm. Weaker readings on economic growth caused a slight drop in mortgage rates, bringing them back to their level two weeks ago, but applications overall moved 1.5 percent higher,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Refinance applications for conventional loans dropped a bit, but FHA refinances increased more than 22 percent. Purchase volume remained…

Report: Homeownership Significantly Higher For White Americans

A report from the National Association of Realtors released Tuesday found that the home ownership rate for minorities is significantly lower in the United States than it is for non-Hispanic white residents. The Snapshot of Race & Home Buying in America report found: Homeownership among non-Hispanic White Americans was more than 71 percent from 2016 to 2019.It was 41 percent for African Americans.It was 45 percent for Hispanic Americans.For Asian Americans, the rate was more than 53 percent. Over the last 10 years, homeownership among African Americans increased in just three states: Delaware (by 0.1 percent), South Dakota (17.8 percent) and Vermont (2.2 percent). Click here to see the full report.…

FDIC-Insured Banks Report Decline in Q4, Yearly Profits

Commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation reported net income totaling $55.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the FDIC’s Quarterly Banking Profile released Tuesday. That is a net income decline of $4.1 billion (or 6.9 percent) from the fourth quarter of 2018, driven mostly by lower interest income and higher expenses. Full year profits declined 1.5 percent to $233.1 billion for the 5,517 banks insured by the FDIC. “The banking industry remains strong, despite declines in full-year and quarterly net income,” FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams said. “Loan balances continue to rise, asset quality indicators are stable, and the number of ‘problem banks’ remains low. Community banks reported another positive quarter. Net…

House Prices Continue To Rise In US – And All 50 States

House prices in the United States rose for the 34th consecutive quarter, according to 2019 fourth quarter data released Tuesday by the Federal Housing Finance Authority. “US house prices have risen continuously since 2011,” said Lynn Fisher, Deputy Director of the Division of Research and Statistics at FHFA. “Falling interest rates and steady job growth renewed housing demand in 2019 and may have arrested the resent deceleration in home prices that began in 2018.” House prices were up 1.3 percent for the quarter and 5.1 percent over the fourth quarter of 2018. The FHFA analysis also found: U.S. house prices have increased every quarter since September 2011. House prices rose in all 50 states and the District of Columbia between the fourth quarters of…

NAHB Analysis: U.S. Houses Getting (A Little Bit) Smaller

The National Association of Home Builders reports that houses continue to get just a bit smaller: New single-family home size trended lower during the final quarter of 2019 as interest rates remained low and builders seek to add additional entry-level supply. According to fourth quarter 2019 data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, median single-family square floor area ticked down to 2,252 square feet. Average (mean) square footage for new single-family homes increased to 2,511 square feet. Here’s a look at the trend in graphic form: After a large growth, house size is about the same as pre-recession levels. NAHB says this trend is typical,  The post-recession increase in single-family home size was consistent with the historical…