Interest Rates Remain Very Low

Interest rates are parked at a super low level, with no signs of budging. Freddie Mac said Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.28 percent for the week ending May 14, the seventh consecutive week that it has been below 3.35 percent. “Mortgage rates have stabilized at very low levels over the last few weeks as homebuyer demand slowly improves,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Although purchase applications reached a new low in mid-April, today purchase demand is only down ten percent from one year ago. While demand is improving, inventory is low and declining with no signs of a turnaround yet.” The Primary Mortgage Market Survey found: The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.28 percent with an…

Forecast Calls For Uneven Housing Recovery

As state and communities take early steps to reopen their economies, realtor.com predicted Wednesday that home sales in the United States will rebound in the late summer and early fall before experiencing a downturn late in the year. Overall, the forecast predicts home sales will be down 15 percent from 2019. “The U.S. housing market started 2020 with substantial momentum,” realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said. “With some of the best home sales and housing starts in more than a decade, our biggest challenge going into the spring home-buying season was a lack of for sale homes. The coronavirus pandemic has kept both buyers and sellers on the sidelines, preserving market balance, for now.” Hale expects home sales will resemble…

Mortgage Applications Climb Again

Mortgage applications for home purchases increased 11 percent last week, the latest sign that the housing market is taking early steps forward during the coronavirus pandemic. The Mortgage Bankers Associations Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released Wednesday found that the number of purchase applications was 10 percent lower than the same week a year ago. Overall, total mortgage applications – including refinancing – increased 0.3 percent from a week earlier.  “We expect this positive purchase trend to continue – at varying rates across the country – as states gradually loosen social distancing measures, and some of the pent-up demand for housing returns in what is typically the final weeks of the spring home buying season,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice…

Signs Of Life In Housing Market

By Jim Perskie A pair of housing reports released Tuesday provided fresh insight into the strength of the housing market early in the year – and how the sector is slowly starting to rebound from the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. The National Association of Realtors reported that 96 percent of the nation’s metro areas experienced price increases in the first quarter, with 174 of 181 markets showing price gains from the same period in 2019. At the same time, Zillow said more houses are coming on to the market in recent weeks after bottoming out last month – though remain far below the 2019 levels. “The first quarter price jumps mostly reflect conditions prior to the coronavirus outbreak…

Mortgage Delinquency Rate Climbs In Q1

The delinquency rate for mortgages on residential properties increased to 4.36 percent at the end of the first quarter, according to a Mortgage Bankers Association survey released Tuesday. The MBA’s National Delinquency Survey found that the delinquency rate on one- to four-unit properties was up 59 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2019 and down 6 basis points from a year ago. “The mortgage delinquency rate in the fourth quarter of 2019 was at its lowest rate since MBA’s survey began in 1979,” said Marina Walsh, MBA vice president of Industry Analysis. “Fast-forward to the end of March, and it is clear the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting homeowners.” The survey found: The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions…

U.S. Mortgages In Forbearance Top 4 Million

The share of mortgages in forbearance in the United States has swollen to 7.91 percent, but the rate of growth has slowed in recent weeks, according to the latest report by the Mortgage Bankers Association released Monday. The MBA estimates that 4 million American homeowners were in forbearance plans as of May 3. “With the calendar turning to May, the share of loans in forbearance increased, but the pace of the increase and incoming forbearance requests continued to slow,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “The dreadful April jobs report showed a decline of more than 20 million jobs, and a spike in the unemployment rate to the highest level since the Great Depression. It will…

Report: 3.6 Million Homes Seriously Underwater

There were 3.6 million houses – or 6.6 percent of homes with mortgages – that were seriously underwater at the end of March, according to a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions. That is up slightly from the 6.4 percent at the end of 2019. Seriously underwater means the combined estimated balance of loans secured by the property were at least 25 percent more than its estimated market value. The report released last week also found that 14.5 million – or 26.5 percent – residential properties in the United States were equity rich, which means loans on the property was 50 percent or less than their estimated market value. The ZIP codes with the highest shares of seriously underwater were:…

Black Knight: Forbearance Count Tops 4 Million

While the number of mortgages in forbearance continues to climb, the rate of increase is slowing down. Nearly 4.1 million mortgage borrowers – or 7.7 percent of all mortgages – were in forbearance as of Thursday, according to estimates from Black Knight. That’s up from 3.8 million (7.3 percent) a week earlier. The analysis found: 6.4 percent of Fannie and Freddie loans were in forbearance.11 percent of FHA and VA loans were in forbearance.7.2 percent of all other loans were in forbearance. All told, the 4.1 million mortgages represent $890 billion in unpaid principal. Black Knight notes, regardless of a borrower’s forbearance status, servicers of loans in government-backed securities must make advance principal and interest as well as tax and…

Credit Tightens Further As Rates At Record Lows

By Jim Perskie Economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus are making it harder for borrowers to obtain mortgage credit, even as interest rates have plunged to historic lows. The Mortgage Bankers Association announced Thursday that the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) dropped 12.2 percent in April, reflecting a tightening of the lending standards in the market. “The abrupt weakening of the economy and job market – and the uncertainty in the outlook – drove credit availability down in April for the second consecutive month,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The overall index fell to its lowest level since December 2014, and the sub-indexes pointed to tightened credit supply for all loan types. The…

New Home Listings Dry Up In April

What spring selling season? Newly listed homes dropped 44.1 percent in April, according to realtor.com’s Monthly Housing Trends Report released Tuesday. That amounts to a loss of 189,000 listings compared to April 2019. “The good momentum we saw at the start of the year has helped to somewhat insulate the housing market from the coronavirus’ negative impact on buyer and seller confidence across the U.S. Although we saw sharp drops in new listings, an increase in the time it takes to sell a home and a flattening of prices in April, May is likely to see some of these metrics worsen,” realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale said. The report also found: The Northeast saw the greatest decline in new listings at 59.4…