Mortgage Roundup (3/20/20) – Dwindling Interest, Higher Rates & Dropping Prices

California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s 40 million residents to stay at home indefinitely in the widest-ranging directive so far of any state as it grapples with a growing novel coronavirus epidemic that has killed 150 people nationwide. The number of US coronavirus cases has topped 13,000 as testing becomes more available. Walmart will pay a bonus of up to $300 to every hourly employee and hire 150,000 new workers to reflect growing demands created by the coronavirus.  

And in mortgage news …

A survey released by the National Association of Realtors found that 48 percent of realtors said home buyer interest has decreased due to the coronavirus. That’s triple the number from a week ago, when it was 16 percent.

After reaching historic lows earlier this month, mortgage rates climbed for the second week in a row, Freddie Mac announced in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The fallout from the coronavirus could turn a situation in the U.S. where homes were overvalued prior to the crisis to a scenario of price drops, a Fitch Ratings report said.

The coronavirus outbreak is creating a massive workload for mortgage lenders: record refinancing demand, time-consuming credit checks and lots of questions about workouts for existing loans that could be in jeopardy.

NAR Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun shares his perspective on how the economy and the housing market will be affected by the coronavirus. 

Borrowers who can’t afford their monthly payments as a result of the pandemic will be treated in a more uniform fashion than they were during the last economic downturn. Mortgage industry leaders say the approach is based on what they learned from the Great Recession. 

The Federal Reserve might use emergency lending authority to create liquidity for the mortgage payment deferrals FHFA is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf shuttered all real estate agent and brokers’ offices in the state as part of a sweeping edict to close all “non life-sustaining” businesses.

Sixty-five percent of mortgages will be protected by the federal government’s moratorium on foreclosures.

Bank of America will allow borrowers to pause their mortgage payments to support clients experiencing hardship in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.