Loan Applications Up, Though Refis Continue Trending Down

Mortgage loan application volume rose 1.4% from last week, though refinances once again fell, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly survey reported. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 1.4%. The seasonally adjusted purchase index rose 2%, while the unadjusted purchase index rose 51% and was 17% lower YOY. The refinance index fell 0,1% and was down 50% YOY. Refinances made up 64.1% of total applications, their lowest level in more than a month. Conventional refi applications are at their lowest level since January 2020. The survey attributed the drop in refinances to increasing interest rates. The 30-year fixed rate reached 3.52%, its highest level since March 2020, and the Fed signaled this week that…

Rates Rise To Highest Level Since May 2020

Mortgage rates rose to their highest level since May 2020, up to an average of 3.22%, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.22%, significantly higher than last week’s 3.11%. It disrupts a trend of rates hovering around 3.10% or 3.11%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.65%. “Mortgage rates increased during the first week of 2022 to the highest level since May 2020 and are more than half a percent higher than January 2021,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.  “With higher inflation, promising economic growth, and a tight labor market, we expect rates will continue to rise. The impact of higher rates…

Analysts Respond To FOMC Tapering Announcement

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced it will double the pace of tapering its pandemic asset purchase program, and signaled it would likely raise interest rates next year. This would be its first rate hike since March 2020. The move comes in response to concerns about rising inflation. At its November meeting, the FOMC said it would reduce its purchases of Treasury securities from $80 billion to $70 billion and from $40 billion to $35 billion for mortgage-backed securities. Since then, inflation has reached a 39-year high and become a major sticking point for the American public. As to how this announcement affects the mortgage and real estate industries, analyst response has focused on rising costs. “Increasing mortgage rates…

Morning Roundup (12/06/2021)– Omicron Fears, Zillow Recovery

Good Morning! Today is Monday, December 6. Former Senate Majority Leader and Republican Presidential Nominee Bob Dole died yesterday. He was 98 years old. Bitcoin recovered from a weekend crash that brought its value below $50,000. Omicron may have been spreading at a New York anime convention before cases were officially confirmed in the US. And in mortgage and housing news… Market-Crash Flashback?: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have raised their loan limits to nearly $1 million in some communities. Does that mean lenders are repeating the same mistakes which led to the 2008 crash? Analysts React To Omicron: How will Omicron impact the housing market? Analysts are optimistic it won’t cause significant damage. Zillow Bouncing Back: Zillow is recovering…

Analysts Are Cautiously Optimistic Omicron Won’t Damage Housing Market

Investors and economic analysts are closely monitoring Omicron, the Covid-19 variant taking the news cycle by storm, as the country enters the busy holiday season. The question on mortgage professionals’ minds is: how will Omicron affect the housing market? Analysts’ answers are mixed, but the overall trend is cautious optimism. “Right now, we are looking at pretty severe reactions to the omicron news in the stock market,” Tomas Jandik, a finance professor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, told Realtor.com. “The residential market may be more immune to COVID because of what we have already seen in the past waves of the virus.” “It is unlikely that rates will move down any further due to the new Omicron variant,”…

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: …

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…

Fed Outlines Plan To Taper Bond-Buying, No Movement On Rate Hikes

The Federal Reserve outlined a plan to begin tapering its emergency bond purchases. The purchases of $120 billion per month in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) were a government effort to keep financial markets afloat after the economic fall out from Covid-19. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met for two days this week then released a statement saying the Fed will begin tapering those purchases later this month. It will reduce its purchases of Treasury securities from $80 billion to $70 billion and from $40 billion to $35 billion for mortgage-backed securities. “In light of the substantial further progress the economy has made toward the Committee’s goals since last December, the Committee decided to begin reducing the monthly pace…