Existing Home Sales Reach Highest Levels Since 2006

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Existing home sales resumed an upward trajectory in December. After drifting lower by 2.5 percent in November, breaking a five-month streak of gains , the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said sales in the last month of the year rose 0.7 percent. Sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.76 million during the month, compared to 6.69 million units in November. This represented a 22.2 percent increase over the 5.53 million unit rate a year earlier. The numbers were above the 6.40 million to 6.62 million range of forecasts by analysts polled by Econoday. Their consensus was for an annual rate of 6.55 million units. Single-family home sales were also 0.7 percent higher than the previous month at an annual rate of…(read more)

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Existing Home Sales Reach Highest Levels Since 2006
Existing Home Sales Reach Highest Levels Since 2006

Upbeat 2021 Econ Forecast From Fannie Mae

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Optimism is running high in Fannie Mae’s first Economic and Housing Outlook of the year. The company’s Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) team says expanding vaccination efforts, the potential of greater than previously expected fiscal stimulus, and the end of winter all “point to an economy ready to take off once COVID-19-related effects begin to subside.” The company says that economic growth probably flatlined in November and December and it revised its final GDP estimate for the year down to a negative 2.7 percent. The economy is now poised to expand, although probably not before late spring. The ESR team has raised its expectations for 2121 from 4.5 percent growth in last month’s report to 5.3 percent and by 0.4 points for 2022 to 3.6 percent. The Federal Reserve has stated it intends…(read more)

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Upbeat 2021 Econ Forecast From Fannie Mae
Upbeat 2021 Econ Forecast From Fannie Mae

End-of-Year Delinquencies a Challenge for 2021

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Mortgage performance understandably deteriorated over the course of 2020. Black Knight, in its “first look” at December data, noted that the year ended with 1.54 million more delinquent mortgages and 1.7 million more that were seriously delinquent than at the start, calling it “a looming reminder of the challenges facing the market in 2021 .” The situation did continue to improve as the year ended. The national delinquency rate fell 3.9 percent from November to December and the resulting rate of 6.08 percent of all active loans was the lowest since April 2020 when the financial effects of the pandemic kicked in. It is however, nearly 79 percent higher than the rate at the end of 2019. Serious delinquencies, loans 90 or more days past due but not in foreclosure, also declined, dropping by 47…(read more)

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End-of-Year Delinquencies a Challenge for 2021
End-of-Year Delinquencies a Challenge for 2021

Construction Surges to Highest Levels in 15 Years

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Residential construction finished out 2020 much more strongly than analysts had expected. The U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported significant increases in both residential permitting and housing starts in December , the second month in a row those numbers have grown. The numbers, however, took a hit in the Northeast. Permits for privately funded construction were issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,709,000 units, an increase of 4.5 percent from the revised (from 1,639,000 units) rate of 1,635,000 in November. The pace of permitting in December was 17.3 percent higher than the 1,437,000 units estimated a year earlier. Econoday and Trading Economics had reported low expectations for December permits on the part of their analysts. The consensus…(read more)

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Construction Surges to Highest Levels in 15 Years
Construction Surges to Highest Levels in 15 Years

DACA "Dreamers" Given FHA Loan Eligibility

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on Tuesday that it has extended eligibility for FHA mortgages to individuals who are classified under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). These individuals are perhaps better known as “Dreamers.” DACA status is granted to undocumented individuals who were brought into the country before their 16 th birthday and were under the age of 31 when the category was established in June 15, 2012. Residency requirements apply and individuals must be in school, have completed high school, obtained a GED certificate, or be honorably discharged from one of the military services. DACA status allows its holders to work legally in the U.S. and prevents their involuntary removal from the country for a two-year renewable term…(read more)

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DACA "Dreamers" Given FHA Loan Eligibility
DACA "Dreamers" Given FHA Loan Eligibility

Rising Material Prices and Lot Shortages Hurt January Builder Confidence

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After setting three successive record highs, most recently a 90 level in November , the pandemic and rising construction costs are taking a toll on the Housing Market Index (HMI). The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said the index, which it sponsors with Wells Fargo, fell for the second straight month. A 3-point drop in the index, which measures builder confidence in the new home market, follows a 4-point decline in December. The January level now stands at 83. “Despite robust housing demand and low mortgage rates, buyers are facing a dearth of new homes on the market, which is exacerbating affordability problems,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “Builders are grappling with supply-side constraints related to lumber and other material costs, a lack of affordable lots and labor…(read more)

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Rising Material Prices and Lot Shortages Hurt January Builder Confidence
Rising Material Prices and Lot Shortages Hurt January Builder Confidence

New Home Purchase Applications Remained Strong to Year's End

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) estimates that applications for the purchase of newly built homes rose only 0.2 percent from November to December, however, those applications were up 42.2 percent compared to December 2019. The information comes from MBA’s monthly Builder Application Survey (BAS) and was not adjusted for typical seasonal patterns. Based on those mortgage applications and assumptions regarding market coverage and other factors, MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 876,000 units in December 2020. This is an increase of 5.9 percent from the November pace of 827,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, there were an estimated 59,000 new home sold during the month, unchanged from the same level in November. “The new home…(read more)

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New Home Purchase Applications Remained Strong to Year's End
New Home Purchase Applications Remained Strong to Year's End

Fannie/Freddie Allowed to Keep More Capital (Again)

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Late last week the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) agreed to amend the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (PSPAs) which govern the required distribution of dividends to Treasury from the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The amendments will bring the amount of capital the companies are permitted to retain into conformance with the 2020 Enterprise Capital Rule unveiled by FHFA in November. Under that rule, the GSEs will be allowed to retain earnings to maintain tier 1 capital in excess of 4.0 percent of their guarantee obligations to avoid restrictions on capital distributions and discretionary bonuses. The PSPAs were written when the GSEs were placed in conservatorship in 2008. In return for financial…(read more)

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Fannie/Freddie Allowed to Keep More Capital (Again)
Fannie/Freddie Allowed to Keep More Capital (Again)

Refinancing Volume Pulls Back as Rates Rise

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The volume of mortgage applications fell back slightly last week. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index was down 1.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended January 15 compared to the prior reporting period. On an unadjusted basis the index lost 1.0 percent. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index rose 3.0 percent from one week earlier and was 9.0 percent higher on an unadjusted basis. Purchase applications were up 15 percent year-over-year. Those gains were offset by a 5.0 percent decline in the Refinance Index although it remained 87 percent higher than during the same week in 2020. Applications for refinancing composed 72.3 percent of the total, down from 74.8 percent the previous week. “Mortgage rates increased across the board last week…(read more)

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Refinancing Volume Pulls Back as Rates Rise
Refinancing Volume Pulls Back as Rates Rise

Biden Nominates Two Picks for Important Financial Positions

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President-elect Joe Biden has announced his picks for two important financial regulatory positions. The chairmanship of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be filled by Rohit Chopra while Gary Gensler is expected to be named to head the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Both nominations are expected to be controversial among the communities that fall under supervision of the two agencies with Chopra perhaps facing a difficult confirmation process. Chopra helped now-senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) design CFPB during the presidency of Barack Obama and served as its assistant director and student loan ombudsperson. He has been a member of the Federal Trade Commission since 2018. Gensler was chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 2009 to 2014…(read more)

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Biden Nominates Two Picks for Important Financial Positions
Biden Nominates Two Picks for Important Financial Positions