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Mortgage Rates Are Quickly Shaking Off Last Week's Panic

Mortgage rates moved lower again today, with the average lender erasing a good amount of the weakness seen last week. That’s good news considering rates hit all-time lows on the afternoon of June 1st (last Monday). After that, however, rates rose at their fastest pace in several months, raising some concern that the bond market (which underlies rates) was shifting gears in response to stronger-than-expected economic data. It remains to be seen whether these past 2 days constitute a reversal in a negative trend or if they’re merely a token correction to last week’s rate spike. In other words, are things good or are they just noticeably less bad than they were? We won’t be able to answer this until we see how things play out in the coming days. Tomorrow’s Fed announcement is the biggest potential
Mortgage Rates Are Quickly Shaking Off Last Week's Panic
Mortgage Rates Are Quickly Shaking Off Last Week's Panic

Mortgage Rates Fall Back Toward All-Time Lows

Mortgage rates were mixed this morning, depending on the lender. The more responsive lenders had already bumped rates higher yesterday in response to weakness in the bond market and were thus able to offer modest improvements this morning, or at least relatively flat pricing. Other lenders were noticeably weaker (aka higher in rate). As the day progressed, the underlying bond market improved fairly decisively. This allowed most every lender to offer lower rates by the end of the day. While this wasn’t enough to get us back to the all-time lows seen at times in the previous 2 business days, it was definitely a step in the right direction. It remains to be seen if this was a sign of things to come or merely a correction to yesterday’s bigger market movement. The average lender remains in the
Mortgage Rates Fall Back Toward All-Time Lows
Mortgage Rates Fall Back Toward All-Time Lows

Mortgage Rates Finally Bounce Higher

Mortgage rates have been on a tear recently. The average lender has either held rates steady or improved them every single day since January 16th. Some of those improvements have been substantial, ultimately resulting in the lowest rates in more than 3 years as of the past 2 business days. Today, however, finally brought an end to the winning streak with the first meaningful move back in the other direction. “Meaningful” may not be too meaningful depending upon how closely you’re following rate movements. The average lender is still easily able to offer conventional 30yr fixed rates of 3.5% on top tier scenarios. The bigger issue is merely the risk that today marks some sort of turning point in the bigger picture. It’s too soon to know if that’s what this is, but it’s definitely the first obvious
Mortgage Rates Finally Bounce Higher
Mortgage Rates Finally Bounce Higher

Mortgage Rates Digging Deeper Into Multi-Year Lows

In the world of interest rates, it’s good to be a mortgage today . The dominant species on that world is US Treasuries: the quintessential dollar-based loans (after all, they are loans to the US government). Loaning dollars to the entity responsible for the dollar is about as foundational as it gets, but I digress. Treasuries and mortgage rates tend to move in the same direction and by generally similar amounts. That’s because mortgage rates are based on underlying bonds (mortgage-backed securities or “MBS”) that are fairly similar to Treasuries in most of the ways investors care about. The prices of MBS dictate where lenders can and should set their interest rates, but ultimately, it’s up to the lender. If they’re flush with business and want to slow things down, they might set rates a bit
Mortgage Rates Digging Deeper Into Multi-Year Lows
Mortgage Rates Digging Deeper Into Multi-Year Lows

Rates Hold Near Lows, But Things Could Change Tomorrow

Mortgage rates moved microscopically higher today, depending on the lender. In terms of underlying movement in the bond market, however, rates should have risen a bit more than they did. This has to do with the timing of the bond market weakness and the amount of movement lenders typically want to see before changing their mortgage rate offerings for the day. Simply put, weaker bonds suggest higher rates, but bonds didn’t weaken fast enough for most lenders to see their “re-price” threshold. All of the above means that most lenders continued to offer rates that were very close to the lowest levels in more than a year. Only a handful of days have been any better, and all of them have occurred in the past 2 months. Much of the credit for the recent drop in rates goes to the well-publicized trade
Rates Hold Near Lows, But Things Could Change Tomorrow
Rates Hold Near Lows, But Things Could Change Tomorrow

A Breath of Fresh Air

 

Eighteen months ago, HUD issued a final regulation requiring every public housing agency (PHA) across the country to provide a smoke-free environment for their residents.  Today, that rule goes into effect.

As a former pediatric neurosurgeon, I know the damaging health effects that secondhand smoke can have on infants and children, such as severe asthma and ear and respiratory infections.  Smoking is also the leading cause of fire-related deaths in multi-family apartment buildings. 

HUD’s smoke-free rule will protect the health of families who live in public housing, visitors to public housing and those who work in public housing.  This rule will also save significant amounts of money for public housing authorities. Turning over a smoker’s unit can cost more than a thousand dollars more than a non-smoker’s unit because of the additional labor and materials required. By eliminating smoking from public housing, the cost of property management and the medical costs for residents will be reduced.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates our smoke-free policies will save public housing agencies $153 million every year in repairs and preventable fires, including $94 million in secondhand smoke-related health care, $43 million in renovation of smoking-permitted units, and $16 million in smoking-related fire losses. 

To help PHAs implement the rule and facilitate access to smoking cessation resources, HUD is working with federal and private sector partners who are assisting these housing agencies in providing assistance for residents who choose to quit.  Our partner organizations include, but are not limited to:  the CDC, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Quitline Consortium, and the American Cancer Society.

This new smoke-free rule taking full effect today will improve health and safety conditions in public housing.  And it will lower costs.  Now that’s a win-win-win!

A Breath of Fresh Air
A Breath of Fresh Air

2 Paradoxes For Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates were microscopically higher today, which is paradoxical on two levels. The first paradox has to do with today’s bond market improvements. Bonds underlie rates and bond market improvements coincide with rates moving lower–usually! In some cases, the day-to-day change in the bonds that underlie mortgage rates can be quite a bit smaller than the change in US Treasuries (the core of the US bond market). That was part of the problem today. The other part had to do with weakness yesterday afternoon. That weakness meant today’s improvements merely got mortgage-backed bonds back to yesterday morning’s levels despite being in stronger territory compared to yesterday afternoon’s latest levels. The second paradox has to do with the most prevalent mortgage rate headline out in the world
2 Paradoxes For Mortgage Rates
2 Paradoxes For Mortgage Rates

A Day in the Life: Atlanta Regional Office, Office of Field Policy and Management

Photo: Dexter Brandon.

Welcome to another edition of our series, A Day in the Life, which will introduce you to HUD employees and highlight the important work they do.

 Today, we meet Dexter Brandon, a Customer Service Representative in the Office of Field Policy and Management in the Atlanta Regional Office.

 What is your typical day like?

A typical day starts with checking voicemails complaints, emails on the Georgia Webmail and interacting with customers on behalf of the organization. I provide them with information or guidance to solving their problems.

What is the overarching task of your position?

To listen and respond to customers’ needs. Every call is not the same, so it’s imperative that I provide them with the correct information. Also, transferring the customer to the proper program areas, internally and externally, is essential too. The key is to prevent people from going around in circles. Another one of my tasks is to assist with promptly processing Freedom of Information Act request and inquiries.

How long have you been in your current role? 

My career started at HUD in June 2014, as a Student Trainee (Office Support) Intern. Upon completion of my internship, I volunteered for three months and was eventually able to obtain a position as a Customer Service Representative in January 2015.

What is the most exciting part of your job? 

Providing customers with information that may change their lives for the better; it’s gratifying for me. I enjoy helping people, so when a person says, “you‘ve saved my life” or “thank you for the information,” that motivates me throughout the day.

Where did you work prior to your position at HUD?

I worked at a company as a Power Plant Technical Writer, Contractor, in Atlanta. My job consisted of generating technical documentation for power generation, petrochemical, and other heavy industrial applications, that included organizing and producing professional technical documents used in the field to build or repair equipment and systems for industrial power plants.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back for a new edition of A Day in the Life!

Joe Phillips is a Public Affairs Officer in HUD’s Atlanta Regional office.

A Day in the Life: Atlanta Regional Office, Office of Field Policy and Management
A Day in the Life: Atlanta Regional Office, Office of Field Policy and Management

Mortgage Rates Uninspired by Fed or Economic Data

Mortgage rates were flat to slightly higher today, depending on the lender. The average lender was quoting the same rates as yesterday, but with slightly higher upfront costs (or a lower credit, depending on your scenario). That said, if you could only choose one word to describe the movement, it would be “flat.” The flat trajectory has been intact for 3 straight days, even though today’s events had enough street cred to cause a shift in momentum. The morning hours brought and important economic report and an even more important update on the Treasury’s borrowing needs. Rates care about Treasury issuance because it’s the foundation of the “supply” side of the supply/demand equation for bonds (and bonds dictate rates). Rates care about economic data because a stronger economy can generally support
Mortgage Rates Uninspired by Fed or Economic Data
Mortgage Rates Uninspired by Fed or Economic Data

Rental Assistance Demonstration in Northfield, Minnesota: Three Links Apartments

Three Links Apartments in Northfield, Minnesota is a quiet and attractive senior living community of 20,000 people about an hour south of the Twin Cities and an hour north of the Iowa-Minnesota border. MaryLou Murphy, Eldora Sietz, and Diane Decker share their experience going through a Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) renovation.  The improvements allowed tenants who require accessibility features to live at the property while maintaining their independence. Read more of their story here.

Rental Assistance Demonstration in Northfield, Minnesota: Three Links Apartments
Rental Assistance Demonstration in Northfield, Minnesota: Three Links Apartments