$3.3 Million In Funding Available To Combat COVID-19 Housing Discrimination

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are making an additional $3,285,353 in American Rescue Plan funding available to help fight housing discrimination related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement was made on Tuesday and according to a press release, this is the third round of American Rescue Plan funding that targets COVID-19 related discrimination. About $16.1 million in funding has been awarded to 62 HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agencies to address the impact the pandemic has had on communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations. Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal…

Many Want A Home But Debt, Costs Keep Them Renting

By GREGORY BRESIGER High inflation and the economic impacts of COVID are destroying the dreams of Americans who want to have a home, mortgage and credit card experts warn. That’s because the pandemic has driven many people deeper into credit card debt since 2020 and that, along with rising interest rates and inadequate housing stock, are reducing the number of new mortgages. “Overall, I would say they are declining,” Linda McCoy, Board President of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, told The Mortgage Note. U.S. mortgage applications declined 8.1% in the week ended March 18th, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That followed a 1.2% decline in the previous week. This happened, MBA officials noted, as mortgage rates were the…

Foreclosures In New Jersey: $10 Million Set Aside To Help

By KIMBERLEY HAAS State officials in New Jersey will use $10 million in federal funding to purchase mortgage notes of homes on the verge of foreclosure to stem the loss of single-family houses to rental property investment firms. When Governor Phil Murphy made the announcement, officials said his administration anticipates using the funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to purchase non-performing mortgage notes from the FHA prior to foreclosure proceedings. If the homeowner still lives at the property, efforts will be made to assist them. If the property has been abandoned, steps will be taken to obtain the title. The property will be rehabilitated and put back on the market, according to a press release. New Jersey’s…

Remote Work In Lending: Are UWM Employees Being Unreasonable?

By KIMBERLEY HAAS United Wholesale Mortgage turned heads in the industry last week when it was reported that health officials are investigating the company after receiving complaints about how they are handling COVID, which lead some people to ask why employees in lending are expected to be in their offices to begin with. Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration Director Bart Pickelman confirmed to The Mortgage Note Wednesday that his agency has received 50 complaints against UWM since November 1, 2021.  “MIOSHA currently has one open investigation and other investigations that are currently progressing through the appeals process. MIOSHA cannot provide information on an open investigation,” Pickelman said. A former employee told Fox 2 in Detroit that people who work…

UWM Under Investigation in Wake of COVID Complaints

Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage is under scrutiny from both state and county health officials in the wake of complaints about the company’s handling of COVID-19, a Detroit TV station is reporting. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) Director Bart Pickelman confirmed to The Mortgage Note Wednesday that his agency has received 50 complaints against UWM since November 1, 2021.  “MIOSHA currently has one open investigation and other investigations that are currently progressing through the appeals process. MIOSHA cannot provide information on an open investigation,” Pickelman said. And the Oakland County Health Department has also received numerous complaints about UWM, leaving health officials concerned amid the county’s soaring infection rate.“The test positivity rate in Oakland County is 25.5%. It’s the highest it’s ever…

Could A Drop In Chinese Interest Rates Spark A Bond Rally In The U.S.?

By SCOTT KIMBLER Prices of single-family homes and rental costs continue to rise in the United States. But officials in China have been lowering interest rates and over the last few months, the Asian county has seen a drop in property price tags as well. Here in the U.S., many companies—including Bloomberg—are reacting by predicting a possible rally in 2022. Especially in the bond market. Bond prices have an inverse relationship with mortgage interest rates. As bond prices go up, mortgage interest rates go down and vice versa, according to an article on Rocket Mortgage’s website. “These sorts of events cause uncertainty,” said Elizabeth Rose of Mortgage 300 in Dallas, Texas. “Their (China) money is going to seek a better return, so we’ll potentially have more buying in the…

Reality Check: COVID Deaths Will Lead To Increase In Housing Inventory

By KIMBERLEY HAAS It may be a harsh reality to face, but the data is clear: There will be more houses on the market in 2022 because of the number of people who have died due to COVID-19 and its variants. This sobering fact was highlighted during the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Miami, Fla., last week. As of Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 793,937 COVID deaths of Americans. More of those deaths have occurred since the first vaccines became available than before. Approximately 77% of people over the age of five have had at least one vaccination, according to their website. Community transmission is high in many parts of the country…

A New Gold Rush For Lenders? Benefitting From The Great Resignation

By KIMBERLEY HAAS As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and workers reevaluate their commitment to metropolitan life, lenders in smaller cities stand to benefit from what is being termed the “Great Resignation.” It is estimated that about 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September after months of dramatic departure numbers, which means those employees are looking for and taking new jobs, often choosing to live in a different location if they have the option of working remotely. Since 87% of employees say they would like to work remotely at least one day a week, and one in three workers would not want to work for an employer that required them to be onsite full time, potential homebuyers are taking these…

RPT: Median Home Spent Just One Week on Market, Setting New Record

A typical home spent just one week on the market before going under contract, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors. Their annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — “real estate’s definitive guide on home buyer and seller trends” — reported on the pace of home sales between July 2020 and June 2021. By comparison, the average in 2012 was eleven weeks. “Buyers moving quickly during the pandemic, coupled with all-time-low inventory, led to a decline in time on market to the shortest ever recorded, which was just one week,” said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at NAR. “Only a quarter of home sellers offered incentives to entice potential buyers, down from…

ATTOM: Some Markets Still Vulnerable To Covid-19 Economic Pressures

Despite the pandemic receding and a housing market cooldown, some housing markets at the county level are still susceptible to damage from the pandemic, according to a new report from ATTOM. The Q3 2021 Special Coronavirus Report showed that New Jersey, Illinois, and Delaware had the highest concentrations of at-risk markets, totaling 26 of the 50 counties whose housing markets might be most impacted by Covid-19. To determine risk to the market, the report looked at the percentage of homes facing possible foreclosure, the portion with mortgage balances exceeding property values, and the percentage of average local wages required to pay for homeownership expenses on median-priced houses or condos. Included on the list are eight counties in the Chicago metro…