MBA: Mortgage Applications Down 2.7%

Mortgage loan application volume dropped 2.7% from the week ending December 31, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly survey reported. MBA adjusted the results to account for the holidays. The adjusted Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, fell 2.7%. The adjusted purchase index fell 4%, while the unadjusted purchase index fell 32% and was 12% lower YOY. The refinance index fell 2% and was down 40% YOY. Refinances made up 65.4% of total applications. The survey attributed the drop in refinances to an increase in the 30-year fixed rate, which rose to 3.33%, its highest point since April. “The higher rates to close 2021 caused refinance activity to decrease 2.2%. Refinance demand continues to dwindle, as…

Zillow Is Rebounding With Home Sales And Stock Buyback

Zillow announced it has sold about half of its backlog of homes and will begin buying back stocks after shuttering its home-flipping arm, Zillow Offers. In a statement, the company said it had already sold or agreed to sell more than half of its properties, hitting a much faster pace than expected. “We are pleased with the progress of our wind-down efforts and recognize that no longer operating Zillow Offers will allow us to have a more capital-efficient balance sheet and business moving forward,” Chief Executive Officer Rich Barton said in the statement. “We see today as an opportune time to announce a share repurchase program.” Zillow had initially announced it would not buy more homes in 2021, and instead…

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,”…

Morning Roundup (11/30/2021)– Your Company’s Favorite Charity Could Receive $1,000!

Good Morning! Today is Tuesday, November 30. The W.H.O called the Omicron variant a “very high” risk to global health. Jack Dorsey stepped down as Twitter’s chief executive. Barbados swore in its first president, officially becoming a republic and cutting ties with England. And in mortgage and housing news… Your Company’s Favorite Charity Could Receive $1,000: Across the country this December, mortgage professionals will be stepping up to help people in need, support community charities, and generally help make the season a little brighter. The Mortgage Note wants to celebrate those efforts by highlighting them in an upcoming edition of this newsletter. One office’s favorite charity will receive a $1,000 donation from The Morgage Note! Details here. SFRhub Teams Up With…

63,000 Homes Were Listed “For Sale By Owner” In September

Over a three-year period, between 4% and 6% of all monthly listings across the country were offered directly by their owners, a new report from Zillow found. Homes listed as “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) are advertised and sold directly by owners without an agent’s help. Roughly 63,000 homes for sale in September 2021 were FSBO, while in 2021 overall 24% of rural sellers did not use an agent. For comparison, 16% of suburban sellers did not use an agent, along with 20% of urban sellers. The report found that FSBOs are most common in rural areas. They were also more affordable overall. The median list price for an FSBO was $292,810, while the median price for a home sold…

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…

Homebuyer Demand Hits Highest Level Since 2017

Redfin’s Homebuyer Demand Index hit an all-time high since at least 2017 as the number of listed homes remains seasonally elevated compared to past years. The report shows the market speeding up, with an increasing number of homes selling in two weeks or less and demand increasing even as listings trend down.  “The economy is recovering strongly and mortgage rates are still near all-time lows. Those two forces combined have caused homebuying demand to hit a record high,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather.  For homes sold in the four-week period ending November 14, the median sale price rose 13% year-over-year (YOY) to $357,881, up 30% from 2019 and 2.1% from October. Asking prices were also up 13% YOY, and…

Analysts See Airbnb As A Major Player In 2022 Housing Market

Airbnb is predicted to increase its inventory by 25% in 2022, giving it huge leverage to impact the residential real estate market next year, according to analyst Chris Linsell. During a presentation at the 2021 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Linsell, senior real estate writer for TheClose.com, said Airbnb’s expansion will likely negatively impact housing affordability and inventory. “Airbnb (is) not just selling their product to consumers, they are selling to the providers of the product. They are selling twice without holding their own inventory. This unique model opens up an incredible level of scalability,” he said. “Many of those housing units are going to come from the residential real estate market.” He noted that the impact on residential housing could…

Zillow Offers Won’t Buy Any More Homes This Year

Zillow’s iBuying division, Zillow Offers, will stop buying new homes for the rest of the year. Zillow Offers has been operating in house flipping for more than three years, buying, renovating, then selling homes. However, it has announced that it will switch gears and focus on its backlog of existing contracts and selling the homes it currently owns. In response to this news, Zillow stock plummeted 10% on Monday. The company cited challenges related to construction and labor contracts. “We’re operating within a labor- and supply-constrained economy inside a competitive real estate market, especially in the construction, renovation and closing spaces,” Chief Operating Officer Jeremy Wacksman said.  “We have not been exempt from these market and capacity issues.” Homebuilders have…

Red States Are Beating Blue States in White-Hot Housing Market. Why?

The housing market in red states is white-hot compared to their blue counterparts, a new analysis finds. As U.S. housing prices remain high and experts predict the trend will continue, states led by Republican legislatures and governors are disproportionately represented among the hottest housing markets in the country, with experts offering a variety of explanations as to why that might be. Data analyst firm CoreLogic noted this month that “home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased year over year by 18.1% in August 2021 compared with August 2020, marking the largest annual gain in home prices in the 45-year history of the CoreLogic Home Price Index.” That price spike was driven by a sharply constricted housing supply that saw homebuyers scrambling to…