“I dance like people wish they weren't watching.” Someone sure is watching, and counting, empty houses. Lack of available housing inventory has helped keep housing costs high throughout many of the nation’s big cities, but nearly 5.5 million homes sit vacant across the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. The average vacancy rate across these 50 metros is 7.22 percent, with New Orleans (13.9 percent), Miami (12.7 percent), and Tampa (12.2 percent) having the highest vacancy rates. Vacancy rates are lowest in Minneapolis, Austin, and Washington, D.C., the only metros in the study with vacancy rates below 5 percent. Just because an area has a high vacancy rate doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with its housing market. Roughly one-quarter of vacancies are due to being empty for rent, one-fifth because they're only used part time, and one-twelfth because they're being repaired or renovated. (Today’s podcast can be found here. This week’s is sponsored by NotaryCam, your partner for The Perfect Close! Ease of use, additional closing compliance, better borrower experience, reduced timelines, and cost savings, what is stopping you from getting on the RON train with NotaryCam? Listen to an interview with Curinos’ John Sayre on key data points from the residential lending markets and how lenders are utilizing that data to make more informed decisions.)

Lender and Broker Software and Services

“If you’ve got buyers who need just a little more cash, get to know Down Payment Resource and its nationwide database of down payment assistance (DPA) programs for FTHBs, repeat buyers, teachers and first responders to name a few. At MBA Annual, catch DPR’s Rob Chrane on a panel with loan Depot’s Mosi Gatling, FormFree’s Christy Moss, iEmergent’s Laird Nossuli and Movement Mortgage’s Montell Watson to explore DPA’s role in reaching mortgage-ready borrowers (Tues. 10/17 @ 3 pm). Need more now? Schedule a meeting with us at Annual or download this case study on how Gatling produces nine figures working with the Nevada Rural Housing Authority to assist first-time, military and low-income buyers.” (STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “Mind the Down Payment.”)

There are banks, and there are subservicers. Much rarer is the combination: a bank subservicer, a subservicing partner that also offers the surety and stability that comes with being a depository institution. This is the unique combination that Servbank offers. The great people, great tech, and best-in-class experience that is delivered to customers and clients is strengthened by the “bank subservicer” designation. The distinguishing effect for customers and clients? The safest, most comprehensive, and truly reliable partnership the industry has to offer. Partner with Servbank today.

For more than 30 years, Clayton, a Covius Solution, has been a market leader in loan due diligence, helping mortgage and capital market clients see and evaluate risk in their portfolios. Now Clayton’s best-in-class service and expertise is supported by its new digital platform, Focus. Focus allows clients to efficiently access deal information and seamlessly upload, validate, and work exceptions, all in one place with a single sign-on. From a correspondent lending perspective, the platform offers aggregators real-time access to conditions, loan grades and documents on the loans they are acquiring. Aggregators can also give correspondents viewing and transacting rights to their specific pipelines, while monitoring performance across all counterparties. Contact Tom Coffey, Clayton VP of Business Development, to learn more or to schedule a meeting with him at MBA Annual in Philadelphia Oct. 15-18 or at ABS East in Miami Oct. 23-25.

Boo! LoanCare’s bringing all treats (no tricks) to this year’s MBA Annual Convention in Philadelphia! Join Kevin Cooke, Jr., financial industry-veteran and recently appointed Head of Strategy & Business Development, and key members of Company leadership for the unveiling of two new proprietary consumer-facing digital platforms unlike any other on the market. “I am excited to bring a best-in-class opportunity to our partners to communicate and market products to their homeowners,” said Kevin. “Reach me at Kevin Cooke and let’s see how our seamless blend of tech innovation and exceptional user experiences can serve your portfolio.” Private demonstrations of LoanCare Analytics will also be available to those interested.

Matic, a digital home insurance platform built for the mortgage industry, recently announced an exclusive partnership with New American Funding to extend their marketplace of 50 A-Rated carriers into New American Funding customer offerings. New American Funding joins over 100 mortgage lenders, servicers and banks, representing 20 percent of loans processed in the U.S., that partner with Matic to integrate the insurance shopping experience into the homeownership lifecycle. Now more than ever, mortgage leaders are turning to Matic to help them offer value to customers, generate revenue, and reduce costs in a tough housing market. If you’re a mortgage leader, don’t miss out: book a demo with Matic to learn how to add an ancillary revenue stream that removes friction from the insurance process and keeps customers within your existing systems.

In an unpredictable market, forward-thinking mortgage lenders are focused on what can be done now to prepare for the next market growth cycle. In a recent survey conducted by Wolters Kluwer, many lenders point to one key factor: scalability. To ensure they can scale to meet borrower needs, more and more lenders are looking at investment in innovative, flexible technology as the key to increasing ROI and stepping forward as market leaders. Read more about the survey responses today and be sure to schedule a meeting at MBA Annual to speak with an expert.

Training, Events, and Webinars

Like every other month, with roughly a third of the month over with, October if flying by. What’s happening out there? A good place to start is here, and click on “events” for conferences in the future.

Looking to learn all about DSCR loans for the rental market from an industry expert? Join LendingOne’s upcoming webinar events featuring Samuel Bjelac, VP of Third-Party Originations. He offers his valuable insight into DSCR loans, along with a comprehensive overview of how LendingOne is helping mortgage brokers and their clients succeed in the rental market. Tomorrow! Save your spot for October 11th at 2PM. DealDesk: Focus on DSCR Loans for Rental Investment Properties: Register Here. Monday, October 16th at 2PM. Register for this free webinar presentation in collaboration in NAMB: Investment Property Solutions for Mortgage Brokers: Sign Up Today. For more information about the LendingOne Third-Party Originations Channel, call us today to learn more: 866-794-0937 or visit our website.

Home ownership remains the de facto American Dream, and as a credit union you are well-positioned to help your members make that dream a reality. So why do so many members choose to finance their home purchases elsewhere? Join Mark Teteris, CMB, and John Dumonsau from Optimal Blue on Oct. 24 for an ACUMA Inside Track webinar titled “Mortgage Pricing and the Member Journey.” During this knowledge-packed session, you will hear from experienced mortgage industry professionals on how you can position your credit union for mortgage success by creating a structure that provides members with the information, tools, products, pricing, and confidence to secure their home loan with you. Save your seat today.

Today is the next Mortgages with Millennials with Kristin Messerli and Robbie Chrisman, and sponsored by National MI. Tune in every Tuesday at 10AM PT to the weekly video show designed to empower mortgage professionals to tap into the millennial market. This show demystifies the psychology of first-time homebuyers and offers strategies to win more market share with a key segment of the market. Sign up for a weekly reminder with the link to join and a sneak peek into the next episode. Today you’ll hear from Michael Sarracini, the CEO of Keyspire. After building a multimillion-dollar real estate empire by the time he turned 25, he has trained more than 100,000 real estate investors to build wealth through real estate. As a young and successful investor, Michael will bring a unique perspective on how the next generation perceives real estate and the messages they need to step into the market.

Looking for more in-depth commentary on weekly mortgage news? Register here for "Mortgage Matters: The Weekly Roundup” presented by Lenders One. Every Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PT is a dive into a range of mortgage-related topics, including market trends, interest rate fluctuations, innovative mortgage products, and industry advancements. Listen to a unique mix of age perspective, expertise, and charisma to the screen, ensuring that the information is not only educational but also entertaining. Tomorrow’s features Plaza Home Mortgage’s head of capital markets, Mike Modell.

ConFi Today’s third session webinar, Wednesday, October 11th 11:30 am–12:30 pm PT | 1:30 pm–2:30 pm CT | 2:30 pm–3:30 pm ET; Real Talk About Artificial Intelligence: How Will Enforcement Activity Impact the Use of AI in Consumer Financial Services, will focus on the latest issues and enforcement trends related to financial institutions using AI tools.

Friday the 13th is The Mortgage Collaborative’s Rundown covering current events in the mortgage market for 30-45 minutes starting at noon PT in “The Rundown”. Tom G. and I are joined by Delmar’s head of business development Victoria DeLuce.

PRMG University TPO October Training Calendar: Learn about the FHA 203(h) product, the Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims program. Friday, October 13th | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM PDT. Join PRMG University to learn about PRMG's non-QM Expanded Access product which provides options for bank statements, express documentation, assets for qualifying, reduced derogatory seasoning and much more. Friday, October 20th | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT. Join PRMG University and Essent to learn how to review short-term rental income guidelines, when you can use it as income and how to document it. Monday, Oct 23rd | 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM PDT

As we celebrate America's independence, we have many other reasons to celebrate as well. This October 15-18, we're taking the original gathering of real estate finance professionals to the birthplace of our country, and we're celebrating some of the reasons you're going to love it: MBA’s Annual Convention & Expo 2023.The largest annual gathering of real estate finance professionals, this is the one event you need to gain access to the industry's power players and innovators. Be inspired and get informed by engaging speakers on the Main Stage. Meet with dozens of exhibitors in THE HUB and get hands-on access to the latest products and services. Dive deep into Breakout Sessions to get the insight you need on all the facets of the business.

Appraisal Buzz new course: Review Case Studies Residential. Apply the review process that you learned in Review Theory-Residential by walking through a case study that focuses on a two-stage review assignment. Day one begins with a quick refresher of review concepts. From there, you will work on an assignment that gets dropped on your desk much like it does in real life. Working in groups, as well as individually, you’ll identify and analyze the components of the case study review assignment. October 16 – 19, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM CT. 14 Hours DE, 1 Hour exam.

Arch MI October webinars. Google CEO, Sundar Pichai says "AI is more profound than fire or electricity or anything we've done in the past." If you'd like to find out how you can use this powerful tool in your business, register to attend the upcoming Arch MI webinar on Wednesday, Oct 18th. Ginger Bell, CEO, Edumarketing will be sharing how to leverage AI for your marketing. Register here.

Join CoAMP and Deephaven Mortgage as they present NON-QM Best Practices October 19th @ 2:00 PM, MDT. Discover how to incorporate Tech and Traditional Training to become subject matter experts. Cost: Member & Member Guests - $25; Future Members - $50

Join MMBBA for Lunch & Learn: New Homes & Builder Update Thursday, October 19 from 11:00 am-1:00 pm. Hear Zonda's Nicollette Chapman deliver a powerful and impactful class about the current state of the housing market, the new construction market, local updates, and how to secure more builder business all backed by Zonda’s data.

Join Mortgage Bankers Association of Metropolitan Washington for a fast-paced, fun presentation walking through the Fed's monetary policy, economy, interest rates and housing as we quickly approach 2024. “Reading the Markets: A Real-time Economic and Interest Rate Discussion” with Bill Bodnar, Thursday, October 19, 10 - 11 am.

Capital Markets

Rates are, at least temporarily, down this morning based on war in Israel, but we’re still talking about the jobs data. Nonfarm payrolls nearly doubled consensus expectations as 336k jobs were added in September and the prior months were revised up. 70 percent of the increase could be attributed to the leisure and hospitality, government, and health care sectors. The unemployment rate, labor force participation rate, and average workweek all remained at their August levels. A resilient labor market and rising wages put pressure on the Fed to keep rates in restrictive territory.

We also learned last week that the number of available jobs also increased unexpectedly to 9.6 million led by a sharp increase in business and professional services. It is possible that the strikes involving major labor unions will add to wage growth later this year although other non-union workers are likely to see slower wage growth this year. Elsewhere, manufacturing continued to contract for the eleventh consecutive month in September, however at a slower pace than prior months. The services sector grew for the ninth consecutive month and production increased at a faster rate. Overall, inflationary pressure remains despite certain areas of the economy having contracted due to the Fed’s tighter monetary policy.

This holiday-shortened week for the bond market brings the $101 billion mini-Refunding (e.g., the Treasury auctioning off securities) as well as updates on inflation, including PPI and CPI, inventories, and Michigan sentiment. The week is also heavy with Fed speakers, while the minutes from the September FOMC meeting will be released tomorrow. Regarding MBS and besides today’s Class A 48-hours, Class B net out is on Friday. We’ll also see bank earnings: JP Morgan, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and PNC Financial, along with BlackRock.

Today’s economic calendar is already under way with NFIB small business optimism for September (dropped to a four-month low in September, reflecting worsening expectations for the economy and credit conditions). Later today brings wholesale inventories and sales, a Treasury auction of $46 billion of 3-year notes, and no fewer than four Fed speakers. Now that the bond market is back open, we begin the trading week with Agency MBS prices better than Friday’s close by roughly .250 and the 10-year yielding 4.70 after closing last week at 4.78 percent.