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MBS RECAP: Maintaining The Trend Meant Modest Weakness Today

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Bond markets had an uneventful overnight session until just before the start of domestic trading hours. Most market participants were willing to chalk up some early strength to a botched suicide bombing in Times Square (the bomber was the only one seriously injured). While the bombing attempt was certainly visible in early trading, it didn't really change the trajectory for longer-term bond yields heading into the 1pm Treasury auction. The auction itself was pretty bad (not appalling though). On today's light volume trading session, it proved to be the most profound inspiration for bonds. If we look at a 1 or 2 day chart, the auction's impact is definitely noticeable. Look at the bigger picture, however, and it quickly gets lost in the range-bound shuffle. We continue to wait for...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Unchanged to Slightly Higher

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates moved modestly higher for the 3rd straight business day, making for a moderate correction from the last Wednesday's 1-month lows. In the recent context, talking about "1-month lows" and 3-day losing streaks is actually far too dramatic when it comes to the actual movement in rates. Most prospective borrowers would be seeing the same rates as last week with the only differences being a slight adjustment in the upfront costs. Even then, many lenders are perfectly unchanged over the past 2 days. Point being: rate volatility has been calm with few exceptions. Today's weakness (i.e. bond market weakness, which corresponds to higher rates) was driven by weak demand at today's 10yr Treasury auction. Mortgage rates aren't based directly on Treasuries, but the latter provide big-picture...(read more)

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Looking Back at Loan Mods: What Worked, What Didn't, and What Can We Learn?

Posted To: MND NewsWire

As banks and government tried to stem the flow of foreclosures during the housing crisis there was a lot of debate (and criticism) about what needed to be done and how to do it. The acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Edward DeMarco fought tooth and nail to prevent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) from being forced to reduce the principal balances of their loans. Barrels of ink were consumed criticizing the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Servicers were penalized for their misfeasance running it. Servicers set up several proprietary programs to modify loans held in mortgage-backed securities and bank portfolios. In addition, there was much criticism of homeowners who, it was alleged in some quarters, were quick to walk away from mortgages they never should...(read more)

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Construction and Data Validation Products; FHA, VA, HECM Changes

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Lenders making tough personnel decisions can’t “kick the can down the road” like Congress and the President. On Dec. 8, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was set to expire. Late last week Congress passed, and the President signed, a two-week spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, allowing an extension on the NFIP to 12/22. In the simplest terms, if the NFIP expires, virtually no homes in any floodplain could be bought or sold if that deal involves a mortgage company because anyone buying a home with a federally-backed loan is required to carry flood insurance if that house sits in a flood plain. Any way to run a country? FHA/VA/Ginnie Program Changes Iberiabank Corp and two subsidiaries agreed to pay $11.69 million to resolve allegations they submitted false...(read more)

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MBS Week Ahead: Central Bank Meetings and Fiscal Drama Keep Volatility on The Table

Posted To: MBS Commentary

There are 3 to 4 big players this week when it comes to potential market movers . In no particular order, these include Treasury auctions, central bank announcements, inflation data, and potential tax headlines. The relative importance of any of these factors depends on reality versus expectations. For instance, with respect to the Treasury auctions (which occur earlier than normal this week with 2 today and 1 tomorrow), if demand metrics are in the middle of the range of historical averages and if the yield awards fall in line with expectations, we might not see much market movement at all. Contrast that with any potential tax bill headlines where a simple "yea or nay" has market moving connotations. In general, any news that makes it look like the tax bill is more likely/certain...(read more)

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MBS RECAP: Every Bit the NFP Reaction We Expected

Posted To: MBS Commentary

When it comes to bond markets reacting to economic data these days, don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed. Heading into today's NFP release, it didn't make much sense to expect a major reaction, although there always tends to be more active trading in the few hours following the data. That turned out to be exactly the case today. Bonds began domestic hours in slightly weaker territory--largely as a carryover from yesterday afternoon's weak momentum. That's not an analytical cop-out as much as it's a comment on the absence of motivation in the overnight session and the gradual, thinly-traded nature of the weakness (i.e. move toward higher rates). NFP came out with a stronger payroll count but with weaker wage growth. Even in a month where it would be...(read more)

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Rates Stay Higher After Jobs Report and Shutdown Bill

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates moved modestly higher today, although some lenders were right in line with yesterday's levels (especially those who raised rates in response to market weakness yesterday afternoon). Either way, today's rates are pretty darn close to yesterday's and very much inside the recent range. The Labor Department announced that 228k new jobs were created in November, stronger than the median forecast of 200k. These so-called "nonfarm payrolls" add up to the most widely followed metric on the health of the labor market in the US. On most other occasions, the report would create a more meaningful response in rates (which tend to rise when jobs growth is strong). In the current case, market participants are more interested to see how various legislative efforts develop--especially the tax...(read more)

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Consumers Expect Strong Increases in Housing Costs

Posted To: MND NewsWire

After dropping in October from what had been an all-time high the previous month, Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) resumed its upward trek , increasing by 2.6 points in November to 87.8, Strong responses to questions in the National Housing Survey (NHS) to questions about whether it was a good time to buy a home and expectations for home prices were the primary drivers of the index gains. The survey is based on six of more than a hundred questions asked in the monthly NHS survey. Four of the six components gained ground in November. The net share of respondents who said now is a good time to buy a home increased 7 percentage points to 29, erasing the previous month's 6-point drop. The net remains down 1 percentage point compared to the same period last year. The net share who...(read more)

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90% of US Counties Get FHA Loan Limit Increase

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Loan limits will be rising in 2018 for loans guaranteed by the FHA. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on Thursday it was boosting limits for those loans in more than 3,000 counties. This will bring FHA loans in line with those of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced new limits for loans eligible for purchase or guarantee by the GSEs on November 28. FHFA calculates limits each year based on median home prices nationally and in individual markets. The GSE limits for 2018 will be $453,100 for conforming loans and $679,650 for jumbo loans in certain high-cost areas. FHA limits differ from but are based on the GSE limits. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act sets the floor for FHA mortgages at 65 percent of the GSE conforming limit...(read more)

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