Morning Roundup (1/12/2022)– Credit Availability Up, Delinquencies Down

Good Morning! Today is Wednesday, January 12. In an effort to keep kids in schools, the Biden administration will ship five million free rapid Covid-19 tests to K-12 schools each month. Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Paul Pierce are being sued for allegedly leading investors into a cryptocurrency “pump and dump” scam. Maya Angelou has become the first Black woman on a quarter. And in mortgage and housing news… Credit Availability Up: Mortgage credit availability rose in December, according to MBA’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index. Zillow CDO: Zillow has hired Jenny Arden as the company’s first Chief Design Officer. Delinquencies Down: Mortgage delinquency fell to 3.8% in October 2021, down 2.3% YOY, according to CoreLogic’s latest Loan…

Zillow Hires Jenny Arden As CDO

Zillow has hired tech veteran Jenny Arden as the company’s first Chief Design Officer (CDO). As CDO, Arden’s responsibilities will focus on “delivering seamless, connected and customer-centric experiences across Zillow Group’s brands,” according to a press release. She will oversee Zillow Group’s product design, research, and user experience. “With millions of people using our apps and websites every month, and more people moving than ever before, we’re focused on delivering a more integrated customer experience for everyone on Zillow,” said Zillow Group COO Jeremy Wacksman.  “Jenny has an impressive track record of building and designing transformative customer-facing products that provide intuitive and connected experiences. We’re excited for her to join as CDO to help build Zillow 2.0 and help people…

Morning Roundup (1/10/2022)– UWM In-Office Fight Continues, Fraud Costs Rising

Good Morning! Today is Monday, January 10. A fire in a Bronx apartment building killed at least nineteen people. Russian forces have surrounded Ukraine on three sides as diplomats meet in Geneva for talks. “Power of the Dog” and “Succession” won top honors at the Golden Globes, which did not air this year due to criticism over ethical lapses and a lack of diversity. And in mortgage and housing news… Are UWM Workers Being Unreasonable?: 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…

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…

Morning Roundup (1/6/2022)– Rocket Leadership Changeup, Second Home Demand Remains High

Good Morning! Today is Thursday, January 6. It’s the anniversary of the January 6 riot, and President Biden will speak today on steps to strengthen democracy in the US. A Philadelphia fire left at least thirteen dead and two hospitalized. The CDC recommended Pfizer boosters for children aged twelve and up. And in mortgage and housing news… Check Out The Photos!: These are the most expensive homes in 2022’s hottest housing markets. Second Home Demand Stays High: December demand for vacation homes topped pre-pandemic levels by 77% as affluent Americans continue to take advantage of remote work and low-interest rates. But it’s so hard to get into the game, some people are comparing it to finding their way into an…

Morning Roundup (1/5/2022)– UWM Under Fire, Loan Applications Down

Good Morning! Today is Wednesday, January 5. A snowstorm in Virginia left hundreds of drivers stranded for more than 24 hours. Chicago canceled school today amid a clash with teachers about remote schooling during the Omicron surge. Walmart and Kroger are raising prices for BinaxNOW at-home Covid tests after a White House deal to sell them at cost expired. And in mortgage and housing news… UWM Under Fire: 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. Loan Applications Down: Mortgage loan application volume dropped 2.7% from the week ending December 31, with refis down 2% as interest rates reached their highest point since April…

Freddie Mac: Rates Up Slightly After FOMC Announcement

Mortgage rates rose slightly over the last week, up from an average of 3.10% to 3.12%, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.12%, rising slightly after a weeks-long pattern of hovering around 3.10% or 3.11%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.67%. “Mortgage rates inched up as a result of economic improvement and a shift in monetary policy guidance,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “While house price growth is slowing, prices remain high due to solid housing demand and low supply. We expect rates to continue to increase into 2022 which may leave some potential homebuyers with less room in their budgets…

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…

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…

Lending Fell In Q2, Q3 For The First Time Since 2000

Mortgage lending declined in both Q2 and Q3 2021, the first consecutive decline in two years and the first time since 2000 that lending fell in Q2 and Q3, according to ATTOM’s Q3 2021 U.S. Residential Property Mortgage Origination Report. The report showed that 3.59 million mortgages secured by residential property originated in Q3, up 3% YOY but down 8% from Q2. It is the largest quarterly drop in more than a year, and a surprise considering the second and third quarters are usually peak buying season. Lenders overall issued $1.15 trillion in mortgages in Q3, up 11% YOY but down 6% from Q2, the first quarterly drop since early 2020. Both refinance and purchase lending fell, with refinancing taking…