Loan Volume Up As Rates Rise To 6.25%

Mortgage loan application volume increased by 3.8% last week, breaking a multi-week pattern of steep declines, despite rates rising to their highest point since October 2008. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey shows that the adjusted Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, rose by 3.8%. The results include an adjustment for Labor Day. The adjusted purchase index rose 1%, while the unadjusted purchase index increased 11% and was 30% lower YOY. The refinance index rosed by 10% and was 83% lower than the same time last year. Refis made up 32.5% of total applications. “Treasury yields continued to climb higher last week in anticipation of the Federal Reserve’s September meeting, where it is expected that they…

Housing Starts Beat Expectations In August

Housing starts surprised the industry with a boost in August, though building permits lagged at their slowest pace the last two years. Starts increased 12.2% month-over-month to an annualized rate of 1.575 million units in August, exceeding market expectations of 1.445 million. This is the largest jump since March last year. But while the data may be positive, housing still faces pressure from inflated material costs and rising interest rates. Single-family starts increased by only 3.4%. The unexpected jump was propelled by a 28.6% surge in demand for buildings with five or more units, suggesting builders are betting on the hot rental market to stay. That prospect doesn’t bode well for the homebuilders. Builder sentiment dropped three points in September,…

Home Values Slip For Second Month Straight

The value of a typical American home dropped for the second straight month, down 0.3% from July to August in the largest monthly dip since 2011. Zillow’s latest market report found that affordability is directing market declines, with lower-priced homes staying hotly competitive while expensive markets see drastic declines. The U.S. typical home value is now $356,054. Areas that saw big gains during the pandemic are now susceptible to fast drops, losing their appreciation momentum from the Great Migration. Midwestern markets, which tend to be more affordable, remain hot, while Western markets are comparatively tanking. Volatile mortgage rates are impacting these areas as borrowers find it increasingly hard to even qualify for a loan, let alone house-hunt. “Substantial day-to-day and…

Metaverse Concerns: How Do You Secure A Virtual World?

By TYRONE TOWNSEND and KIMBERLEY HAAS The metaverse is attracting a lot of attention from real estate investors, but they are not the only ones looking to the virtual world for a source of profit. Criminals are watching as well. Non-fungible tokens are reportedly the target of widespread criminal activity, with schemes including fraudulent giveaways, browser wallet hacks, and social engineering, posing risks to participants. Scams, in general, such as fake airdrops and phishing URLs, are also a cause for concern. The theft of cryptographic assets is expected to account for more than 99 percent of all illicit activities.   How much money are we talking about here? The metaverse is expected to be worth $13 trillion by 2030, according to…

Buyers And Sellers Both Make Concessions As Market Rebalances

Housing inventory is increasing as mortgage rates are locking some buyers out of the market, but re-balancing comes with sacrifices for both buyers and sellers. Redfin reported that there were 2.9 months of home supply during the four weeks ending September 11. This is up from 1 month a year ago and the highest level since June 2020. Less than four months’ supply is typically considered a seller’s market, while four to six is a balanced market and six or more is a buyer’s market. The pandemic seller’s market peaked at a 1.8 months supply. In May, supply sat at 2 months, meaning the surge to 2.9 in September has happened quickly. Interest rates have skyrocketed since the beginning of…

Rates And Inflation Both Up Ahead of FOMC Meeting

Mortgage rates exceeded 6% last week for the first time since 2008, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.02%, up from 5.89% last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.86%. “Mortgage rates continued to rise alongside hotter-than-expected inflation numbers this week, exceeding six percent for the first time since late 2008,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.  Inflation rose more than expected in August, up 8.3% YOY, though prices are down some from record highs earlier this year. Analysts had anticipated an 8.1% YOY increase. “Today’s evidence of a peak in US CPI might be welcome but the figure of 8.3% was…

Rapper Sentenced To Prison For Multi-Million Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Officials at the U.S. Department of Justice say that a Bay area rapper was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for his role in orchestrating a complex loan fraud and identity theft conspiracy. Mark “Kafani” Hicks, aka Amir Rashad, 42, of Oakley, Calif., allegedly admitted to being at the center of a conspiracy in which he directed a team of criminals who stole approximately $2 million from banks and lending institutions. According to a press release, during a two-year period, Hicks impersonated victims in over a dozen phone calls with banks, lending institutions, and gold dealers. Over $480,000 of the illicit gains were recovered from a safe deposit box controlled by Hicks’s relatives, authorities said.…

Business Development: Rocket Mortgage Seeking Partners

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The senior vice president of business development at Rocket Mortgage says their partnership with Boston-based Santander Bank is an example of the kind of relationship they hope to cultivate. Tom Dempsey recently sat down for an interview with The Mortgage Note. He said partnering with Rocket Mortgage gives companies access to their technology. “We’re offering partnership models that externalize our models and systems,” Dempsey said. “The key thing is that at Rocket we’ve created a number of partnership models for banks and credit unions.” Dempsey called this a holistic approach to offering customers what they are looking for as lenders pull into and out of markets. On Aug. 5, leaders at Santander Bank and Rocket Mortgage announced…

Americans Predict A Housing Market Crash– And Zoomers Are Hoping For It

As the housing correction continues, most Americans have a gloomy outlook for the market’s future. A ConsumerAffairs survey found that 78% of Americans expect the housing market to crash and soon. More than half of baby boomers said they believe 2023 will bring a housing crisis. Most Zoomers went so far as to say they’re hoping for one– 84% want a market crash because they believe it will help them buy their first home. Gen Zers overwhelmingly want to own their own homes, with 59% identifying homeownership as a sign of success. But many are worried they may never be able to afford a home if prices continue rising as they have in the last two years. “Non-homeowners cite insufficient…

New Jersey, Illinois, And California Have Most Markets At Risk For Declines

As the housing cooldown continues, New Jersey, Illinois, and inland California have the highest concentration of at-risk markets, according to a new report from ATTOM. The Special Housing Risk Report spotlights county-level housing markets that are more or less vulnerable to declines, based on affordability, unemployment, and other measures from Q2 2022. The largest clusters of at-risk markets are around the NYC and Chicago metros, while Southern and midwestern starts have the least at-risk markets. The top 50 at-risk markets include nine in and around New York City, six in the Chicago metro area, and 13 throughout the entirety of California. The rest are spread throughout the country, with three around Philadelphia. These counties have elevated levels of unaffordable housing,…