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…

Freddie Mac: Interest Rates Inch Back Up

Mortgage rates rose again after several weeks of small declines, reaching 3.10%, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.10%, up from last week’s 2.98%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.72% “The combination of rising inflation and consumer spending is driving mortgage rates higher,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Shoppers looking to buy a home are fueling strong demand while ongoing inventory shortages are not improving in the presence of higher home prices. This reality illustrates the challenging situation facing the housing market.” Though the holidays are usually a slow period in the industry, homebuyer demand has remained high. Redfin’s latest Homebuyer Demand…

MBA: Purchase Applications Tick Up, Offset Low Refi Rates

Mortgage loan application volume fell 2.8% last week, driven again by low refinance applications, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly survey reported. The Market Composite Index, which measures application volume, fell 2.8% on an adjusted basis. The Refinance Index dropped 5% and was 31% lower than a year ago, rebounding from last week’s drop to its lowest level since July 2021. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index rose 2%, while the unadjusted Purchase Index fell 2% compared to the week before, down 6% from the previous year. “Refinance applications decreased for the seventh time in eight weeks, as mortgage rates moved higher after two weeks of declines,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting.  But the…

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,…

MBA’s Broeksmit Warns: ‘Aggressive’ Regulation Is Back

In a speech to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual convention on Monday, President and CEO Bob Broeksmit told members that, to paraphrase former President Bill Clinton, the era of big, regulatory government is back. Broeksmit’s remarks addressed a range of issues, from the impact on the industry of the COVID-19 pandemic to minority homeownership. But his central theme for the industry is the political changes made in Washington, D.C. in 2020 are going to have an impact in 2021 — and beyond. Broeksmit said he spoke to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and four of the other Governors of the Federal Reserve. “I always make the same points, too. The MBA supports regulation and legislation that is clear, easy to implement, and helpful…

Share Of Mortgages In Forbearance Jumps To 5.95%

By Jim Perskie The number of loans in forbearance continues to rise, with nearly 6 percent of all mortgages in pause as borrowers cope with economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The share of loans in forbearance climbed from 3.74 percent to 5.95 percent as of April 12, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Forbearance and Call Volume survey released Monday. That amounts to roughly 3 million mortgages. Before the pandemic took hold of the economy, about 0.25 percent of mortgages were in forbearance. “With over 22 million Americans filing for unemployment over the past month, homeowners are contacting their mortgage servicers seeking relief, leading to a sharp increase in the share of loans in forbearance across all loan…