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  • MBS RECAP: Might as Well Hit This Weekend With Some Hope Fri, 21 Sep 2018 21:28:25 GMT

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    By today, it became clear that bonds were fully locked into a sideways consolidation in a range defined by the highs seen on Wed/Thu and the lows marked by the 3.06% technical levels. Of the past 3 sideways days, today was the least volatile and most lenders saw fit to offer just slightly stronger rate sheets despite 'unchanged' levels in bond markets. Consolidations like this can happen simply because markets are catching their breath after a strong move or because they're settling down ahead of the next event that might cause a strong move. If we're dealing with the latter, the event in question is likely to be Wednesday's Fed events (announcement, press conference and updated rate hike outlook). Of those three, it's the(t "dots" he dot plot that conveys...(read more)

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  • Best Day of a Rotten Week For Mortgage Rates Fri, 21 Sep 2018 20:46:00 GMT

    Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    Mortgage rates actually fell today, on average--something they haven't been able to say all week, or indeed at nearly any time during the past 4 weeks. Yesterday, in particular, was the worst day for rates since 2011 for most lenders, with anything less than an ideal loan scenario garnering 30yr fixed quotes of 4.875% to 5.0%. With all of the above in mind, today's token improvement isn't necessarily exciting, but at least it's better than the alternative. Much of this week's rapid rise was seen in the first half of the week. Starting on Wednesday afternoon, markets began settling into a more sideways pattern, apparently getting in position for more volatility in the coming week. If there's an event that's likely to serve as the catalyst for that volatility, it's the Fed Announcement on Wednesday...(read more)

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  • Many Enlist, but Flood Coverage Still Falls Short Fri, 21 Sep 2018 20:44:39 GMT

    Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Even as flood water continue to sit in living rooms and kitchens across a large swath of North Carolina it is clear that most of those homes are not insured against the damage. Mary Williams Walsh, writing in the New York Times, says that in North Carolina and South Carolina, which suffered less widespread damage, only about 335,000 homes in total have flood insurance. The Urban Institute (UI) reports that the number of policies homeowners purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NIP) has declined over the last ten years and the total is now just over 5 million nationwide. There are also some private insurance policies, but nowhere near enough to cover the affected homes. Sarah Strochak, Jun Zhu, and Laurie Goodman used data from the Census Bureau's 2017 American Housing Survey...(read more)

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  • MBS Day Ahead: Pain and Belief Radiating Across The Rate Spectrum Fri, 21 Sep 2018 14:15:22 GMT

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    More often than not, when I use the word "believe" (or belief), it's in some vague and positive context. For instance, something like "bond buyers are starting to believe again." That won't be the case today--at least not as far as the positive context is concerned. Today I want to talk about the beliefs that have radiated up from the short end of the yield curve over the past few years. They're like an infection that started in the toe but spread to more vital organs surprisingly quickly. The "yield curve" is just a fancy way of referring to the spectrum of time associated with various loans. The loans in this case are those taken out by the US government (via the Treasury Department) to finance all of its various spending. For instance, there are...(read more)

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  • Investor Products; Mortgage Fraud Paper; Wells, PUF, BMO Harris Personnel Changes Fri, 21 Sep 2018 12:40:58 GMT

    Posted To: Pipeline Press

    When I spent an hour interviewing Angelo Mozilo on stage last week for the American Pacific Mortgage Summit, one of the issues we discussed was the competitive environment for lenders, and the evolution of the mortgage loan originator. Angelo, who is very much in command of his game, is a strong believer in the strength of the relationship that originators have with their clients, and the future that originators have in the lending industry. Lenders always have their eyes on the horizon, watching the changing competitive environment, and along those lines I penned a piece for the STRATMOR Group titled “The Rise of the Credit Unions.” Fraud, Legal Chatter, Warnings Jonathan Foxx published, entitled “Mortgage Fraud Challenges: How to Catch a Crook.” “Tracking down...(read more)

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  • MBS RECAP: Not a Win, But At Least It's Not a Loss Thu, 20 Sep 2018 21:28:51 GMT

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    After a series of demoralizing losses, it feels like some small victory for bonds to simply remain sideways today. That wasn't necessarily a given early this morning. In fact, yields hit new intraday highs for the week--the highest levels since May. Move down the curve just a bit and 5yr yields are at the highest levels since 2008--just another victim of the relentless move toward higher short-term rates. All that to say that the biggest risks to the long-term rate outlook have yet to subside. Rather, today simply suggests we may finally be leveling off before making the next big decision--something that seems likely to follow next week's Fed Announcement and updated rate hike outlook. As for specific market movers today, attempting to pin the tail on any particular donkey is a fool's...(read more)

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  • Mortgage Rates Trying to Stop The Bleeding Thu, 20 Sep 2018 20:40:00 GMT

    Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    Mortgage rates were mostly able to hold steady today, although they technically moved just a bit higher and that technically leaves them at the highest levels in 7 years. But hey! Let's focus on the positives... In terms of day-over-day changes, today was the best day of the week so far! To get an idea of where we are and why we're there, check out the last two days of commentary--always easily accessible here . As for today, it stands at least some chance to serve as the early stage of a ceiling for rates. Whether that proves to be true and how long such a ceiling lasts remains to be seen. In any event, next week's Fed announcement (Wednesday) has the greatest potential to kick off the next set of bigger moves. If volatility dies down between now and then, it would at least be better than...(read more)

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  • Existing Home Sales Level Out After Long Decline Thu, 20 Sep 2018 15:25:18 GMT

    Posted To: MND NewsWire

    It was a disappointment, but at least it wasn't a loss. Existing home sales, which were expected to increase in August after four straight months of declines instead remained unchanged from July. In fact, almost the entire report on August's existing home sales can be summarized by the word, "flat." Said sales of single-family homes, townhouses, condos, and cooperative apartments were at the seasonally adjusted rate of 5.34 million, identical to the July rate. Sales in July had fallen 1.5 percent below those from a year earlier, and that too was unchanged in the August to August comparisons. Existing home sales were selling at an annual rate of 5.42 million in August of last year. Econoday said the analysts it polls were expecting at least a modest increase after months of lagging sales analysts...(read more)

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  • Vendor Mgt. and POS Products; Upcoming Events; Ask a Lender's Sunset? Thu, 20 Sep 2018 13:00:01 GMT

    Posted To: Pipeline Press

    This Saturday is the autumn equinox – season-wise, we know what is on the way. “Rob, we, like everyone else, are watching the approaching winter, and higher rates, and wondering if there are ways to improve our financial picture without laying people off or cutting LO comp. Heard of anything?” This is going to sound like a paid ad, but it is not. I refer folks to Riivos (ex-Alight). It’s a cloud-based application for mortgage companies, regardless of size, that “integrates with your core systems (G/L, LOS, payroll, etc.) to show where your BPs are going, what actions you can take to improve profitability, and insight into how those decisions ripple through the company and increase P&L.” They specialize in “what if” scenarios. IMHO, and my...(read more)

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  • MBS Day Ahead: Long-Term Trend is a Cheap Trick. Here's The Reality For Rates Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:18:10 GMT

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    One of the themes we often revisit in times of trouble is the long-term bull market in bonds. This traces back to the 80's and provides a shockingly linear set of lower highs and lower lows in 10yr yields. Most recently, we've seen yields rise back to the upper boundary of the long-term trend. There's still a chance they could hold ground here, but any further weakness means an official breakout. One other reason to hold out hope is that yields are also at the top of a shorter-term uptrend (teal lines). This could offer some technical support of its own, but it should be noted that the current version of that uptrend is much less linear than the one seen from 2002-2007. Incidentally, I think all of this "big picture trend" business is just a cheap trick (one I've often...(read more)

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  • August Loan Closing Rate Highest of Year Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:08:41 GMT

    Posted To: MND NewsWire

    The share of loans originated for refinancing rose in August for the first time this year. Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report shows that closed transactions for refinancing represented 32 percent of the total, up 3 percentage points from July. The 3-point increase was consistent across all loan types. The refinancing share was 45 percent at the first of the year. The distribution of loans across loan types has been unchanged since May. Conventional loans have a 66 percent share, FHA loans 20 percent, and VA loans 10 percent. The average closing time for all loans was 43 days for the second straight month. The time for purchase loans to close, however ticked up 1 day to 45 days while the timeline for refinance loans dropped 3 days to 38. The average FICO score for closed loans dipped one...(read more)

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  • MBS RECAP: Is It Over? Wed, 19 Sep 2018 20:36:51 GMT

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    The titular question could be taken two ways . Is the selling pressure in bonds over? Is the "low rate environment" that's been in effect since mid-2011 over? The answers, in order are "probably not" and "for now." To be fair to the "low rate environment," that's arguably been over since 10yr yields broke above 2.5% in a serious and sustained way. They've only done that one other time since moving below and that was the 6-7 months following the taper tantrum. I've frequently suggested that mid-2012 was the truest confluence of low rate motivations and that mid-2016's drop in rates was more of a pain trade for everyone betting on higher rates (Brexit was the scapegoat). If you look past the taper tantrum and the brexit rally, we've...(read more)

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  • Mortgage Rates Knocking on 5% Ceiling Wed, 19 Sep 2018 19:37:00 GMT

    Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    Mortgage rates are in bad shape . At some point in the past 3 days (depends on the lender), top tier 30yr fixed rate offerings hit their highest level in 5 years, then 7 years. For the first time since 2011, the most prevalent top tier rate is 4.875% (meaning a handful of lenders are at 4.75% or 5.0%). If this trajectory holds, the average lender would be at 5% next week. In order to make the past few days relevant for anyone who reads this, let's focus on the CHANGE between today's average rates and those seen less than a week ago. From Friday the 14th, the average 30yr fixed quote is an eighth of a percentage point higher (.125%). While we've seen moves that big in the past, with only 1 or 2 exceptions, we haven't seen anything like it in 2018. And when we consider that it takes rates to...(read more)

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  • Home Starts Improve, but There's a Catch Wed, 19 Sep 2018 14:04:04 GMT

    Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Both permits and starts were expected to pick up in August, at least holding on to their slight gains in July. Housing starts did deliver, posting a strong increase, but permits, a leading indicator, were down sharply. The U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report that permits fell by 5.7 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,229,000 compared to the July rate of 1,303,000. The July number was a downward revision from the 1,311,000 units originally reported. This knocks the rate of permitting below the August 2017 level of 1,300,000 units by 5.5 percent. Analysts polled by Econoday were looking for permitting to come in at a consensus rate of 1,315,000 units with a range of 1,260,000 to 1,323,000. Permits for single family houses were reported...(read more)

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  • LO Jobs and Resources; Direct Streaming Treasury Trading; What's Moving Rates? Wed, 19 Sep 2018 13:05:42 GMT

    Posted To: Pipeline Press

    I received this question from a well-known lender in Texas. “Rob, our company views loan processors as the unsung heroes of lending. We’re evaluating how ours are paid. Any thoughts?” The STRATMOR Group does quite an industry survey, and its recent data shows that the overwhelming majority are paid some incentive, and that their base salary is about ¾ of their total comp. The incentives are either a per loan payout, the achievement of certain objectives, or miscellaneous company-specific items. Capital Markets Yes, rates have moved up. Is that a surprise to anyone? Shouldn’t be. Are you hoping tariffs hurt our economy and push rates back down? Don’t hold your breath. So, what should we know about why rates are doing what they’re doing? Any reason for...(read more)

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