Kelsey Ramírez is a Reporter at HousingWire. Ramírez is a recent journalism graduate of University of Texas at Arlington. Ramírez previously covered hard issues such as homelessness and domestic violence and began at HousingWire as an Editorial Assistant.
Fannie Mae announced its latest credit risk transfer deal that took effect on Feb. 1. The deal covers $20.4 billion in mortgages, of which the GSE retains the risk on the first 50 basis points of loss.
Freddie Mac expanded homeownership opportunities Thursday to Americans who do not have credit scores. Lenders will soon be able to use automated assessments, enabling them to serve potential homebuyers more efficiently and with greater certainty that the loan will be purchased by Freddie Mac.
New home sales surged in February, beating out expectations. However, even as home sales rose and inventory tightened, the median home price fell for the second consecutive month. In fact, new homes aren’t the only sales to see a relief in rising homes prices.
Even after the Federal Reserve elected to raise rates in its March meeting, interest rates still followed the Treasury yield, which fell 10 basis points. In fact, this week’s decrease in mortgage interest rates marks the sharpest decline in months.
Investors saw a slight dip in the single-family rental market, however overall, many metros are still hotspots for investment. In 2017, 86% of the markets analyzed saw a rise in fair market rents even while average wage growth outpaced rent growth in 67% of markets — a recipe for sustainable growth in the rental market.
Existing home sales came in lowest in February, however experts caution against determining a new trend based on just one month. In fact, they continue to predict a strong home-buying season this spring despite rising home prices, higher interest rates and decreasing inventory.
Existing home sales slipped down off last month’s decade-high, but remained above last year’s levels. But considering January’s drop in pending home sales to the lowest level in a year, this decrease comes as no surprise.
Home prices halted their monthly growth in January for only the second month since 2012. In fact, home prices experienced consecutive month-over-month growth since November 2013. However, prices are still up annually in all nine census divisions.
One of President Donald Trump’s priorities, tax reform, could threaten the affordable housing industry as fewer investors may be enticed to fund projects. Developers said investors are valuing the tax credit 10% to 20% lower since Election Day. The reduction in the credit’s value is already likely to cause a drop of about $1 billion in equity investment for the year.
Baby Boomers are preparing for retirement and as they do, the generation is looking increasingly to downsize. Nearly half, in fact, are giving up on the dream of homeownership entirely. As humans live longer, many must consider a wide range of course corrections in order to enjoy a secure retirement.
The mortgage industry is leveraging technology like never before, streamlining processes across the spectrum of lending, servicing, investing and real estate. The combination of regulatory pressure and consumer expectations have set a high standard for efficiency and transparency, requiring a significant investment of time, money and talent to hit the right notes for both.
Ironically, the monkey on the mortgage industry’s back for the past 10 years — increasing regulation — is the very thing that forced companies to find efficiencies in every part of the process, which serves them well as they look to engage tech-savvy consumers. Even as the enforcement of some of those regulations is now in question, the long-lasting benefits of investing in automation will stand.
Mortgage banks have traditionally been slow to embrace new technologies, and while the technology that has improved efficiency, security and customer experience in a multitude of other industries (transportation, education and retail, to name a few) is finding its way into the loan production process, a lot of opportunity still exists in other stages of the mortgage life cycle.