Looking at things in a different way works very well in marketing as well. Carol Kimball sent along something for Realtors out there: selling a house by installing a miniature roller coaster for buyer's tours. Thanks Carol!
When don't you want to chant, "We're #1! We're #1!"? The answer is when it comes to mortgage fraud, and Florida still claims the top spot. Nevada is #2.
Fraud leads to problem properties and loans. The big institutional investors are slowing down their purchases of distressed properties, as they have yet to show the huge profits they promised to their own investors. They have a big backlog of homes to renovate and rent, and skilled construction labor is hard to come by these days. I always suspected that the execution of this trade was going to be more difficult and expensive than people were figuring it would be.
In other trends Zelman & Associates published an October survey indicating that apartment operators will have a better time managing occupancy even during the slower months. New move-in rent rose 3.4%, which is above the 2.6% increase a year ago. Even though rent has increased, more tenants are tolerating the change, as turnover was at 46%, down 54% from a year earlier. Of those that moved out, 38% purchased a single family home versus 28% a year ago. The survey suggested a tighter multi-family environment, as occupancy was 94.8%, up 40 basis points from last October due to an increase in employment for millennials and accelerating household formations. New development is expected to pick up in Portland, OR and moderate in Northern California with a development yield spread at 160 basis points from 155 in July.
As if the lending and real estate industries don't already have enough numbers and indices to keep track of, we now have the First-Time Buyer Mortgage Share Index (FBMSI), a new way to track the share of mortgages being purchased by first-time buyers. Another index, the First-Time Buyer Mortgage Risk Index (FBMRI) will measure the risk of those loans. The American Enterprise Institute's International Center on Housing Risk announced the new indices. The Center's statistical analysis is in stark contrast to the data already established by nationally recognized entities. The Center's Combined FBMSI (government-guaranteed and private-sector mortgages) found that first-time homebuyers accounted for 45% of purchase loans compared to NAR's 36% calculation. The FBMRI is 3 percentage points higher than the composite National Mortgage Risk Index (NMRI) and about 6 percentage points greater than the repeat homebuyer NMRI. The Center believes their data is more statistically sound as results are calculated using "nearly complete dataset with minimal opportunity for sample error."
Plenty of lenders are targeting first-time home buyers, and rolling out programs that may be of interest to the industry. Let's check in to see what lenders are up to - as always it is important to read the full bulletin for all the details.
Stonegate Mortgage Corporation rolled out its "Prior Approved Affinity Program" that gives "qualified Correspondent clients the opportunity to deliver significant savings for their customers or enhance earnings when they place loans with us. Participants are all approved correspondents who submit prior approved loans that reach final disposition during each evaluation period. It is a quarterly program that uses a scorecard to detail performance in the previous evaluation period. Clients are assigned to one of four tiers, with pricing based on the level they achieved. Tier 1: 50bps price improvement on Government loans; 25bps price improvement on Conventional loans; Tier 2: 25bps price improvement for Government; 12.5bps price improvement for Conventional; Tier 3: Base rate sheet pricing; Tier 4: -12.5bps price adjustment. For more details or to find your local rep visit tpo.stonegatemtg.com.
First California Mortgage announced it is meeting the demand for NonQM with the launch of its first Renaissance Products for its retail and wholesale channels, live in Optimal Blue. For example, the "Renaissance Investor Program: borrower may own an unlimited number of financed properties with other lenders, income calculated off the cashflow of the property, Non-Owner Occupied Purchase or Refinance, Interest Only Available during fixed period, Credit Score to 680, Max LTV 75%, Max Cash Out $350,000, 4506T not required, Short Sale and Deed in Lieu >= 2 years allowed, Foreclosure >= 3 years allowed." For more information contact Melissa Kazarian.
Social Finance continued to expand its non-QM offerings. SoFi's reminded the industry that at least half of all SoFi's mortgages would be considered nonqualified mortgages because the debt-to-income ratio exceeds the CFPB's 43% threshold. American Banker notes that "SoFi is taking a barbell approach to its borrower profiles - lending to customers with low debt-to-income ratios and high ones, but not those in the middle. Loans to borrowers with low debt ratios carry rates as low as 2.75%, and borrowers with higher ratios pay as much as 4%. SoFi mortgages average around $1 million, and half of them are nonconforming. Loan applications typically close in 14 days. And next year SoFi will also launch a mobile-phone app that will extend potential borrowers unconditional commitments up to $1.8 million, without an up-front physical appraisal. Applicants will be able to apply by submitting pictures of their pay stubs. The app will ask for photographic confirmation of each applicant's cash stream over the last six months. The mobile application process is geared to attract urban millennials, who for years have been priced out of the market for home loans.
Mountain West Financial, Inc. (MWF) announced a change to the Identity of Interest section of its Conventional Guidelines. Loans for 1 unit second home or investment properties that include Non-Arm's Length, At-Interest or Identity of Interest characteristics are no longer required to be priced through the Direct Program. Additionally, enhancements have been made to its FHA & VA Streamline Products including guidelines applicable to FHA Credit Qualifying and Non-Credit Qualifying Streamline transactions.
People's Bank (KS) spread the word that The USDA has just issued some updates that everyone needs to be aware of: The new USDA Guidelines went into effect on December 1, 2014. This is a project that the USDA has been working on for over a year and was originally scheduled to go into effect last August. The Peoples Bank USDA Matrix will be updated and posted to SharePoint on November 30, 2014. If your USDA Loan has not received a "Conditional Approval" from the appropriate RD Office by November 28, 2014, then the loan will be subject to the new Guidelines. The RD Offices will not accept new loan applications from 11/22/2014 through 12/01/2014 in order to work through its backlog.
Banc Home Loans has expanded its Jumbo guidelines. Its "Program 55" highlights include up to 85% LTV no MI (to $2M), Loan amounts to $5 million, Minimum 660 FICO to $1.5M, 1st time home buyer- loan amounts to $2M, and Primary Residence: Cash Out Refinance now to 75% LTV (Cash-out up to $1 million). For complete information, visit Banc Home Loans website.
Things are quieting down by the day in the markets, but that doesn't stop the news. The big news this week (it is all relative) is the Fed meeting that commences today and wraps up tomorrow with its statement & supplemental ("dots" and new forecasts) and press conference. While not unanimous, the consensus view is that the market is widely anticipating "considerable time" getting scrapped from the statement, replaced by a pledge to be "patient" (although they may not use that exact word) and very "data dependent" when it comes to tightening. The market's expectation on the timing of the first hike for short term rates is around June/Jul (the June 17 meeting has a press conference).
Yesterday we learned that Industrial Production jumped by 1.3% in November, the most since May 2010, and Capacity Utilization rose to 80.1%, the highest since March 2008, from 79.3% the prior month. But the Empire State Manufacturing Survey noted that "General business conditions index dropped fourteen points to -3.6, its first negative reading in nearly two years."
Lenders and Realtors were more interested in the NAHB Housing Market Index. It came out at "57" in December, weaker than the "59" expected. "Members in many markets across the country have seen their businesses improve over the course of the year, and we expect builders to remain confident in 2015," said NAHB Chairman. "After a sluggish start to 2014, the HMI has stabilized in the mid-to-high 50s index level trend for the past six months, which is consistent with our assessment that we are in a slow march back to normal," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "As we head into 2015, the housing market should continue to recover at a steady, gradual pace."
But the actual markets are more focused on the price of oil, and Monday crude prices resumed their slide lower on news that OPEC will not cut production. Experienced LOs know that while rates are not low enough yet to trigger a significant increase in supply with borrowers refinancing, further declines could. And there are a number of risk events still this week which could send yields higher or lower. When the dust settled Monday the 10-year note was marked lower by 1/8 point (2.12% yield) while prices on 30-year FNMA 3s through 4.5s were between 5+ ticks and 6+ ticks lower (worse).
Today we've had Housing Starts and Building Permits for November. Starts were projected to increase 3.1% to 1.04 million and Permits were expected to decline 2.9% to 1.06 million. They were -1.6% (versus +1.7% in October) and Permits were -5.2%. For numbers we had a 2.12% close on the 10-yr and we're down to 2.05% this morning with agency MBS prices better by almost .250.
Jobs and Announcements
On the jobs front Sierra Pacific Mortgage, a leading nationwide lender with over $9 billion in servicing, has been growing since 1986 and continues to do so. A leader in Wholesale, Emerging Banker, and Retail channels, Sierra Pacific Mortgage is looking for highly professional Account Executives in Colorado and Utah. Competitive and successful candidates can contact Western Regional Manager Jerry Godfrey.
And private MI company MGIC is looking for an experienced Product Development Director. The position is based in our corporate office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In this newly created position, the individual hired will lead the way in identifying and developing MGIC solutions that meet market needs for our customers. The ability to lead multi-disciplined project teams in defining and developing new products as well as the ability to work with internal and external senior management is required. Will manage the implementation of new products and work with all stakeholders to deliver the product to market. The ideal candidate will have a Bachelor's degree, MBA preferred and 10+ years of recent experience in the secondary markets and capital markets, portfolio loan management and multichannel experience in mortgage banking. Demonstrated product development and project management skills are essential, and excellent communication and presentation skills are a must. For more information on MGIC visit www.mgic.com or to apply please visit www.mgic.com/jobs.
And congrats to James M. Ahrens: M&T Bank announced his promotion to Manager of National Correspondent and East Wholesale Divisions within M&T's Mortgage Division. He moves up from being the Manager of Product Management within the Mortgage Division, overseeing mortgage marketing, telesales and CRA matters. Recently, he led the re-engineering effort of M&T's Renovation Program. "In his new role, Ahrens is responsible for the development and ongoing growth of business-to-business channels for the bank's Mortgage Division, focusing on renovation lending."