Good morning! Today is Wednesday, August 26. First Lady Melania Trump headlined the second night of the Republican National Convention. More airline job cuts could pressure President Trump and Congress to pass another stimulus package. A laptop shortage is hitting U.S. schools. Tropical Storm Laura is upgraded to a hurricane as it approaches the Gulf Coast.
And in mortgage and housing news …
FEE DELAY: Faced with a barrage of criticism, FHFA delays the “adverse market” refinance fee by 90 days.
HOUSING PRICES: House prices in the United States jumped by 5.4 percent over the year before in the second quarter – the 36th straight quarter home prices have risen, according to a Federal Housing Finance Agency report
KEEPING FEE PRUDENT: The GSE refinance fee is being delayed, but one columnist asks whether the delay is wise considering the housing market’s history? Getting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to act like traditional businesses — and doing more things with profits in mind like raising prices in a strong market — might not be the worst “free market” habit to start.
COVID-19 BORROWER CERTIFICATION: Some mortgage lenders are asking customers taking out a mortgage to confirm they don’t intend to seek forbearance, a move meant to keep losses low during a pandemic that has put millions of Americans on shaky financial footing.
CLIMATE THREAT RATING: Realtor.com has become the first site to disclose information about a home’s flood risk, and how climate change could increase that risk in the coming decades.
FORBEARANCE TRENDS: The ups and downs of mortgage forbearance trends and what it bodes for the future.
INFORMED BUYERS: Even in this time of record low mortgage interest rates, there are other fees and costs to consider for getting the most affordable deal.
NJ MALL BONDHOLDERS: New Jersey’s American Dream Mall has been shut since March amid the pandemic, and mutual funds that bought municipal bonds backing the project’s construction have since taken hundreds of millions of dollars in paper losses.
SEATTLE NO. 1: A new report has found that Seattle ranks No. 1 for the health of its real estate market among all large cities in the U.S., based on a wide variety of criteria.
LUMBER PRICES: Buyers will likely face higher costs for new construction due to a recent spike in softwood lumber prices.
EERIE MARKET: Redfin’s CEO says the strength of the housing market ‘almost feels eerie’ amid the economic and health crisis.