Housing Market

Freddie Mac economists predict boom in home purchases for 2014

Freddie Mac economists said in a blog last week that the U.S. housing market will continue to see a decline in the number of refinances, while home purchases will expand in coming months. During the first quarter of 2013, 71 percent of all mortgage originations were refinances, according to data from Freddie Mac, but the number fell to 51... Read More...

Monthly mortgage originations fall to lowest level in 14 years

Data released by Fidelity company Black Knight Financial Services last week showed monthly mortgage originations fell last year to their lowest level in 14 years, but sales remained steady despite the decline in the number of new mortgages. “February’s data showed the continued trend of declining origination activity we’ve been observing... Read More...

Pending home sales, existing home sales decline in February

Data released by the National Association of Realtors last week showed pending home sales continued their downward fall in February, marking the eighth consecutive month of decline. According to the data, pending homes sales in the Midwest rose 2.8 percent while sales in the West rose 2.3 percent in February. The gains were offset, however, by... Read More...

Illinois bankers call on FHFA to raise Chicago MSA loan limits

The Community Bankers Association of Illinois called on the Federal Housing Finance Agency last week to raise the loan limits for the Chicagoland Metropolitan Statistical Area, saying the current loan limit of $417,000 has negatively impacted the metro area’s housing market. In December, the FHFA requested public comment on a plan to... Read More...

AEI’s Glassman criticizes Johnson-Crapo GSE reform proposal

In a recent blog post, James K. Glassman, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said the draft proposal for housing reform released by members of the Senate Banking Committee is a “complicated apparatus disturbingly similar to Obamacare.” Sens. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and... Read More...

More Americans plan to move, purchase home in 2014

Data released by American Express on Tuesday showed more Americans are planning a move in 2014 as even more plan to purchase a new home. According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, 16 percent of Americans are planning to move in 2014, compared to 10 percent in 2012. Of those planning to move, 46 percent plan to purchase a... Read More...

Wells Fargo launches NeighborhoodLIFT program in Denver

Wells Fargo recently partnered with NeighborWorks America and Community Resources and Housing Development Corp. to launch the Wells Fargo NeighborhoodLIFT program, which seeks to increase homeownership and bolster low- and moderate-income communities in Denver. “This innovative collaboration between NeighborWorks America, our network member... Read More...

National Council on Aging sets up senior reverse mortgage counseling

The National Council on Aging announced last week the availability of a new national toll-free hotline offering reverse mortgage counseling to older homeowners. Reverse mortgages allow seniors to take out a portion of their home equity and continue to live in their homes. Consumers considering a reverse mortgage, such as the FHA Home Equity... Read More...

Senate Banking Committee reaches housing finance reform agreement

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) announced on Tuesday that they have reached a bipartisan agreement on housing finance reform after months of negotiations. “There is near unanimous agreement that our current housing finance system is not sustainable in the long-term and reform is... Read More...

Gen Y comprises largest share of overall, first-time homebuyers

Data released on Tuesday by the National Association of Realtors showed that Generation Y—or Millenial—consumers accounted for the largest share of both overall and first-time homebuyers in recent home purchases. Millenials, sometimes referred to as Generation Next—those born between 1980 and 1995—accounted for 31 percent of recent home... Read More...

Lenders loosen mortgage credit for third consecutive month in February

Data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association on Tuesday showed mortgage availability increased for the third consecutive month, indicating lenders are more willing to extend credit to borrowers. Mortgage credit availability increased 0.44 percent in February to reach 113.5 on the MBA’s mortgage credit availability index, though the MBA... Read More...

Delinquencies, foreclosures drop in fourth quarter to pre-crisis levels

Data released last week by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates fell in the fourth quarter of 2013 to reach pre-crisis levels. “We continue to see substantial improvement in both delinquency and foreclosure rates, with most measures now back to pre-crisis levels,” MBA Chief Economist and Senior... Read More...

CUNA urges lawmakers to advance housing finance, data security reforms

The Credit Union National Association urged Congress on Wednesday to press forward on housing finance and data security reform. CUNA sent letters to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Ranking Committee Member Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Ranking... Read More...

OCC issues updated guidance booklet on mortgage banking

The OCC recently issued an updated guidance booklet on mortgage banking—part of the “Comptroller’s Handbook”—to include changes in mortgage servicing and other regulation, including the CFPB’s new mortgage rules. The revised booklet combines guidance and examination procedures from national banks and federal savings associations.... Read More...

New home sales jump 35 percent in January

Recent data from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed new home sales jumped by 35 percent in January, selling at an estimated pace of 543,000 units, compared to 402,000 units in December. “While the big jump may appear to conflict with other data, such as MBA’s purchase application index and NAR’s existing home sales data that point to... Read More...

Prudential Mortgage provides $15.8 billion in financing in 2013

Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. announced on Monday that it provided $15.8 billion in financing in 2013, a 30 percent increase from 2012’s $12.2 billion. The $15.8 billion in financing includes $1.2 billion for new loans in Europe and Japan, of which $848 million was originated by the London office in Europe, $2.2 billion in conventional... Read More...

Foreclosure inventory declines by 30 percent in 2013

Recent data released by Black Knight Financial Services showed foreclosure inventory declined by nearly 30 percent in 2013, following a decrease of approximately 20 percent in 2012. The data released as part of the Black Knight Mortgage Monitor showed foreclosures are now just 4.6 times the pre-crisis average, down from more than eight times... Read More...

Indiana Credit Union League to host mortgage lending compliance seminar

The Indiana Credit Union League will hold a mortgage lending compliance seminar for state credit union compliance professionals on March 4 to discuss new CFPB rules, including disclosure and timing requirements. The one-day seminar covers disclosure requirements for closed-end, consumer real estate transactions; the verification and approval... Read More...

FHA to expand e-signature acceptance to mortgage documents

The Federal Housing Administration announced last week that it will begin accepting electronic signatures on mortgage documents as part of an effort to streamline operations at the agency and reduce submission timeframes for borrowings seeking to avoid foreclosure. “By extending our acceptance of electronic signatures on the majority of... Read More...

CFPB supervision report uncovers unfair, deceptive practices by mortgage servicers

A report released by the CFPB last week uncovered a number of issues in the mortgage servicing industry in 2013, including unfair and deceptive practices. “Problems in mortgage servicing have plagued consumers for years and helped contribute to the financial crisis,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “Taking action against mortgage... Read More...

CFPB takes action against PHH Corp., subsidiaries

The CFPB took action on Wednesday against PHH Corp. and its affiliates, alleging that the mortgage company harmed consumers with a mortgage insurance kickback scheme that began in the 1990s. The CFPB is seeking a fine, permanent injunction to prohibit future violations and victim restitution from PHH Corp. and subsidiaries PHH Mortgage Corp.,... Read More...

NAFCU: New home sales down seven percent in December

Data released by the National Association of Federal Credit Unions on Tuesday showed a seven percent decline in new home sales in December--possibly the result of limited inventory and severe weather. In December, new home sales fell from 445,000 units in November to 414,000 in December, though the figures represent a 4.5 percent increase over... Read More...

Mortgage rates fall slightly for second consecutive week amid subdued inflation

Data released by Freddie Mac showed average fixed mortgage rates fell slightly last week for the second consecutive week amid economic reports of subdued inflation. "Mortgage rates were flat to down a little this week amid reports that inflation remains subdued,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said. “The Consumer... Read More...

BPC to hold forum on economic, housing outlooks for 2014

The Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum on Jan. 30 in Washington, D.C., on the outlooks for the U.S. economy and housing markets for 2014. Panelists at the forum will include Standard & Poor’s U.S. Chief Economist Beth Ann Bovino, Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research and Industry... Read More...

Wells Fargo and Citi sell mortgage servicing rights

Wells Fargo announced last week that its bank subsidiary signed an agreement to sell residential mortgage servicing rights on approximately 184,000 loans worth $39 billion to Ocwen Loan Servicing. The 184,000 loans represent approximately two percent of Wells Fargo Bank’s total residential servicing portfolio as of the end of the fourth... Read More...

Existing home sales in 2013 reach highest level since 2006

Data released last week by the National Association of Realtors showed existing home sales rose by one percent at a rate of 4.87 million in December, and total sales in 2013 reached the highest level since 2006. Total existing home sales, which include single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and co-ops increased in December but remained... Read More...

Democratic lawmakers introduce Delaney-Carney-Himes housing finance reform plan

Democratic Reps. John K. Delaney (Md.), John Carney (Del.) and Jim Himes (Conn.), all of whom are members of the House Financial Services Committee, outlined a proposal last week to reform the housing finance system using private sector market mechanisms. The proposal, which they plan to introduce in the spring, is designed to create incentives... Read More...

CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs announces new mortgage protections for military

Holly Petraeus, the assistant director of the CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs, announced new protections for servicemembers in an agency blog post last week. According to Petraeus, more than one-third of all complaints received from servicemembers are related to mortgage problems. “Concerned military families have told me about... Read More...

Demand for new home purchases declines by 11 percent in December

Data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association last week showed that demand for new home purchases fell by 11 percent in December, following a sharp decline of 18 percent in November. MBA’s Builder Application Survey showed the average loan size of new homes rose slightly from $295,523 in November to reach $300,444 in... Read More...

House hears testimony from witnesses on negative impact of new mortgage rules

A House subcommittee heard testimony from witnesses last week on how new mortgage rules that took effect earlier this month will negatively impact homeownership and reduce credit availability and access to credit. The new rules, which include the qualified mortgage and ability-to-repay rules, are mandated under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. The... Read More...

Borrowers with lower credit scores may have easier time obtaining mortgages

The average credit score for approved mortgages fell to 727 in December—compared to 748 the previous year—indicating that borrowers with lower credit scores may be able to more easily obtain a mortgage. According to data released by Ellie Mae on Wednesday, 46 percent of mortgages closed in December had applicants with credit scores higher... Read More...

Mortgage rates decline for week ending Jan. 16 amid weak economic releases

Data released by Freddie Mac on Thursday showed average fixed mortgage rates declined for the week ending Jan. 16 amid weak economic data. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell from 4.51 percent to 4.41 percent this week. One year ago, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.38 percent. The 15-year FRM fell to 3.45 percent from 3.56 percent the previous... Read More...

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