Report: Mortgage Credit Tightened In February

Lending standards tightened in February, with mortgage credit availability declining slightly in the latest Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). The report from the Mortgage Bankers Association found that the MCAI fell by 0.3 percent to 181.3 in February. “Mortgage credit supply decreased in February, as both conforming and jumbo segments of the market saw a decline,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “There were also reductions in ARM program offerings, as well as in low credit score programs offered by investors.” Added Kan, “Last month’s activity was the calm before the storm. Mortgage rates dropped steeply in the last week of February and a large surge of refinance activity followed. Investors may adjust their…

Two Wells Fargo Board Members Resign In Wake Of Fake Account Scandal

Two Wells Fargo board members – including the board chairwoman – resigned their positions following a highly critical report from a U.S. house committee, alleging the board was slow to address the bank’s fake account scandal. Elizabeth A. Duke, the board chair, and James H. Quigley resigned their positions effective Sunday, Wells Fargo announced in a news release Monday. Charles H. Noski, a former chief financial officer of Bank of America, will serve as the new board chairman. Last month, Wells Fargo reached a $3 billion settlement with the Department of Justice, which found the bank’s employees created fake accounts to meet the bank’s “onerous sales goals.” This included using customers’ identities without their consent to open checking, savings, debit card, credit…

Younger, Older Buyers Find Common Ground In Home Buying

Millennials and older Americans have more in common than they think, at least when it comes to buying houses. Homebuyers between the ages of 22 and 29 (“younger millennials”) and 74 to 94 (the “silent generation”) share significant home-hunting behavioral characteristics, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2020 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report. These include: 53 percent of younger millennials and the silent generation say buying a home near family and friends is a high priority.Younger millennials and silent generation buyers who purchased a new home were the most likely to make the purchase due to the amenities a newly constructed home provides.NAR found those in each generational group began their home search by viewing properties online,…

Coronavirus: Realtors Latest Organization To Cancel Meeting In California

The National Association of Realtors cancelled two conferences scheduled to take place in California in March due to the emergence of the coronavirus in state. The organization cancelled the Joint AE Institute meeting, scheduled for March 13-16 in San Diego, and its Broker Summit, scheduled for March 31 to April 1 in Los Angeles. NAR said it will decide whether to hold other scheduled events in the coming weeks. “NAR is considering alternatives and potential avenues through which to reschedule, relocate or redesign these conferences later in 2020,” the organization said in a news release. NAR’s legislative meetings and trade expo is scheduled for May 11-16 in Washington, DC, while various state meetings are scheduled across the country throughout the year. Events…

Red Houses, Blue Houses: The State Of Home Building In the United States

Single-family home construction dominates in red counties, while multifamily construction rules blue counties. That’s the conclusion of the National Association of Home Builders’ fourth quarter Home Building Geography Index, which examines building trends across the country by using county-level permitting to measure construction growth. Using election results from 2016, NAHB examines building trends in Republican (red) and Democratic (blue) counties. Red county highlights – where 48.7 percent of the U.S. population lives – for the fourth quarter include: 60.9 percent of single-family construction was in red counties across the country in the fourth quarter, compared to 36.4 percent of multifamily construction.10.3 percent increase year-over-year in single-family construction growth (fourth quarter 2019 vs. a year earlier).Coincidentally, there was a 10.3 percent…

Guest Voices: Housing Market Feels First Effects of Coronavirus; Redfin Offers Virtual Home Tours

By Glenn Kelman, CEO, Redfin This article originally appeared on the Redfin website. Until Sunday, U.S. housing demand seemed unaffected by the coronavirus. The National Association of Realtors reported last week that pending home sales were at the second-highest level in the last two years. But over the past three days in Seattle, where the first U.S. coronavirus death was confirmed on Saturday, February 29, we’ve seen a significant drop in demand from homebuyers and sellers. Smart People at Redfin Disagree About the Virus’s Impact Redfin’s demand fluctuates plenty from day to day, especially in a single market, and this may only be a significant but short-lived reaction to the first serious virus infections on the U.S. It could also…

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…