Pending Home Sales Rebounded In October

Pending home sales rebounded in October after a September drop, though the year-over-year (YOY) numbers were mild, according to the National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index. The Index, which is based on contract signings, rose 7.5% to 125.2 in October. An index of 100 is equivalent to the level of contract activity in 2001.  However, signings fell 1.4% YOY.  “Motivated by fast-rising rents and the anticipated increase in mortgage rates, consumers that are on strong financial footing are signing contracts to purchase a home sooner rather than later,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.  “This solid buying is a testament to demand still being relatively high, as it is occurring during a time when inventory is still…

Morning Roundup (11/29/2021)– BBB Housing Plan Explained, Forbearance Starts Up

Good Morning! Today is Monday, November 29. The new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, may be more contagious among vaccinated people but less deadly overall. Japan, Israel, and Morocco have closed their borders to foreign travelers. Mark Esper is suing the DOD for not clearing his book manuscript for publication due to sections detailing his time working under Donald Trump. And in mortgage and housing news… Build Back Better’s Implications On Housing Prices: The House version of President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan includes about $170 billion for affordable housing and people are asking what that means. CRA Changes: As the Fed weighs making the Community Reinvestment Act race-specific, what do the data say about CRA loans? Not much. Forbearance Starts Jump: …

Economist: Build Back Better Will Put Downward Pressure on Housing Prices

By SCOTT KIMBLER The House version of President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan includes about $170 billion for affordable housing and people are asking what that means. Biden’s spending plan includes $65 billion to preserve and rebuild public housing and another $15 billion to help build or preserve more than 150,000 rental properties for lower-income families. It’s part of the administration’s goal to build or preserve 1 million affordable homes. The bill is almost certain to change drastically in the U.S. Senate. But if the housing policies remain unchanged, what would this spending splurge mean for the overall housing market, at a time when prices are high and supply is low? The Mortgage Note spoke with Tom Smith, Ph.D. of…

Morning Roundup (11/23/2021)– Powell Renominated, Delinquencies Improve

Good Morning! Today is Tuesday, November 23. The Justice Department will pay $130 million to the survivors and families of victims of the Parkland, FL shooting, settling a lawsuit that alleged the FBI failed to investigate tips in advance of the tragedy. A defense attorney in the Ahmaud Arbery case is under scrutiny after making comments in court about the toes of the deceased. An Airbus A340 plane has landed on Antarctica for the first time. And in mortgage and housing news… Powell Renominated: President Biden renominated Jerome Powell to chair the Fed. Here’s what industry analysts think about the move. Black Knight First Look: The national delinquency rate continued to improve at a slow but steady pace last month, with especially impactful declines for loans…

Mortgage Industry Reacts To Powell Renomination

After weeks of waiting, President Biden announced Monday he is renominating Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell to another four-year term. Now analysts are asking what impact another Powell term will mean to mortgage rates and the housing market. The move has been characterized as a return to the status quo in which the Fed chairman is reappointed regardless of their political identity, a tradition former President Trump bucked when he appointed Powell. The Fed chairman question has been on many industry watchers’ minds in the last two weeks. Much was made of Biden’s sit down with Fed Governor Lael Brainard, seen as the most likely candidate if Biden chose to make a change. Brainard has instead been nominated as…

Mortgage Applications Up From September, Down YOY

Mortgage applications for new home purchases fell 15.2% year-over-year (YOY) in October but increased 6% month-over-month (MOM), according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) latest Builder Application Survey. The increase from September puts MBA’s estimate of new home sales at its strongest pace since January 2021. “Purchase activity continues to be dominated by higher loan balance transactions, which pushed the average new home loan size up to over $412,000, another new record in the survey,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting.  “Recent U.S. Census data show an increasing share of new sales are for homes yet to be built or still under construction, and a shrinking share of completed homes. Housing demand remains strong,…

Morning Roundup (9/21/2021)– August New Home Purchases Down, Real-Estate Commissions Under Investigation

Good Morning! Today is Tuesday, September 21. The U.S. is easing travel bans, but will require foreign nationals to show proof of vaccination before entering the country. The Biden administration is raising the cap on refugee admissions to 125,000. A doctor who publicly admitted to performing an abortion after six weeks is being sued, the first case filed under Texas’ controversial abortion law. And in mortgage and housing news… New Home Purchases Down: MBA’s Builder Application Survey data for August 2021 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased from July but fell year-over-year. Commissions Under Investigation: Home sale commissions are under investigation by the Biden administration, which has asked the Federal Trade Commission to adopt rules to address any…

DOJ, FTC Investigate Real Estate Commission Policies

Home sale commissions are under investigation by the Biden administration, which has asked the Federal Trade Commission to adopt rules to address any unfair practices it sees in the real estate industry, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Justice Department is investigating commissions after several civil lawsuits challenging industry rules passed muster in procedural challenges. Critics of traditional broker fees say rising home prices have highlighted an epidemic of excessive fees. Real estate agent fees are typically 5%-6% of the sale price. Homebuyers end up paying part of these fees through the purchase price but have little control over fees because they are set by the seller. Consumer advocates have specifically pointed to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) rules…

White House Details Plan to Bolster Affordable Housing

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a major initiative to bolster affordable housing in the face of a surge in home prices that is preventing some Americans from becoming homeowners. “The large and long-standing gap between the supply and demand of affordable homes for both renters and homeowners make it harder for families to buy their first home and drives up the cost of rent. Higher housing costs also crowd out other investments families can and should make to improve their lives, such as investments in education,” the White House said in a statement. “President Biden is committed to using every tool available in government to produce more affordable housing supply as quickly as possible, and to make supply available to…

Just 11% Of Rental Assistance Funds Distributed

Federal efforts to help renters cover their monthly payments have largely failed, as theTreasury Department reports just $1.7 billion of the $46.5 billion rental aid program’s funds have been disbursed, leaving 89 percent untouched. “About a million payments have now gone out to families — it is starting to help a meaningful number of families,” Gene Sperling, who oversees the operation of federal pandemic relief programs for President Biden, told the New York Times. “It’s just not close to enough in an emergency like this to protect all the families who need and deserve to be protected. So there is still way more to do and to do fast. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program was created to provide funds to…