Mortgage Roundup (3/18/20) – Easing Credit, No Open Houses & Working Remotely

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Republican senators that the unemployment rate could hit 20 percent if they don’t act on a proposed coronavirus rescue package. Joe Biden swept all three states holding presidential candidate primary elections and appears well on his way to being the Democratic nominee. Many former doctors, nurses and other health care workers are being asked to return to their old careers to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

And in mortgage news …

The Federal Reserve Board announced that it will establish two “facilities” to support the flow of credit to people and businesses during the turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mortgage applications for new home purchases dipped slightly from the previous month, but still represent a significant gain over last year, according to Mortgage Bankers Association data. 

Builders of newly built single-family homes remained confident about sales expectations in March, though it remains to be seen what impact the latest market turmoil will have going forward, according to a report by the National Association of Home Builders.

Mortgage lenders are considering a plan to allow Americans hurt by the coronavirus to temporarily stop making loan payments. Chief Economist Danielle Hale believes mortgage rates could go lower this week, but rates and affordability won’t be the only thing impacting the housing market.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is preparing for a potential spike in mortgage delinquencies created by coronavirus damage. 

The 2008 recession created years of housing bargains, but some say that may not be the case for a corona-induced economic downturn. 

Other experts offer an alternative view of how the housing market might dodge the recession.

In an email to members, the Mortgage Bankers Association said it will take steps to help members during the coronavirus outbreak. 

First-time home buying reached a 20-year high in March, before the COVID-19 crisis hit. 

Quicken Loans moves nearly all employees to remote work as coronavirus spreads.

Redfin and other brokerage firms suspend open houses amid coronavirus outbreak.