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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Number of borrowers with refi incentive plummets

Are you prepared for midterm elections

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at the news coming across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on larger issues.

The midterm elections are Tuesday, have you voted yet? If you haven’t, make sure you get to the polls this week!

Currently, the polls suggest that Democrats will win control of the House, while Republicans take the Senate. But the polls have gotten it very wrong before. Remember the 2016 elections? Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton was supposed to win by a landslide. So make sure you vote.

But before you go, make sure you’re prepared. What are your candidate’s views on issues surrounding housing, finance and other areas that are important for you?

If you’re not sure, click here and type in your address to learn all about your local candidates.

In merger and acquisition news, CoreVest, a lender to residential real estate investor, announced it entered into an agreement to buy substantially all the loan assets of Black Square Real Estate, a finance company providing bridge and rehabilitation loans on non-owner occupied residential properties.

“We are very excited about the business and talent that is coming with this transaction,” CoreVest Founder and CEO Beth O’Brien said. “We are at a pivotal time in the short-term lending market where significant construction experience is a strong positive differentiator for lending partners. Black Square has that expertise.”

The Black Square team will now join CoreVest, including professionals in short-term lending and construction management oversight.

“Joining CoreVest is a great opportunity for our team to expand our footprint, offer additional products to our clients and be a part of the leading national private lender in the investor space,” said Shawn Whetten, who heads the Black Square Salt Lake City operations.

CoreVest will add the Salt Lake City office to its existing operations and anticipates further growth opportunities in that location.

At the Realtor Conference and Expo in Boston, Massachusetts, the National Association of Realtors entered into an agreement Friday with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to enforce natural disaster preparedness.

The memorandum of agreement represents a partnership between FEMA and NAR to educate Realtors on natural disaster preparedness and continue supporting the Realtor Disaster Relief Fund.

“We’re so excited and honored to be here today to sign this agreement,” NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall said. “Flooding is the most common disaster in the United States, one that affects Americans in communities both coastal and inland every year.”

“Being able to serve as a conduit of information between federal agencies, local governments, Realtors and the public will help ensure critical resources like disaster preparedness, insurance and assistance reach those who need it most,” Mendenhall said.

But as it stands, the administration has not placed much focus on disaster preparedness. Back in July, Congress passed yet another short-term extension for the National Flood Insurance Program that pushed it to November 30, 2018.

And this was just the latest in a series of short-term fixes as the NFIP continues to be pushed back by a series of short-term bills funding the program for just a few months at a time.

Back in November, the House of Representatives passed long-term reauthorization of the program, but the bill never made it through Congress.

Could Congress finally pass a long-term solution this November? Maybe, but not likely.

Mortgage interest rates are rising. Currently, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is closing in on 5%.

How much of this is affecting current homeowners? The latest data from Black Knight shows more than half of homeowners who entered the year with incentives to refinance their mortgage have since lost it.

About 1.86 million mortgage holders still have an interest rate incentive to refinance – this is down 56% from the start of 2018, and the smallest population since 2008.

And if rates continue rising, that number could half again – leaving less than 900,000 borrowers.

Looking ahead even more, at 6%, the population would hit a 15-year low.

But refinances are not completely dead. Cash-out refinances make up about 80% of refis. If these cash-out refis rose just 14%, that could fully offset a 50% drop in rate refis, according to Black Knight’s data.

Overall, 6.5 million homeowners now missed their window to refinance, losing a total of $1.5 billion per month across the U.S. About 5.9 million lost their incentive since 2016.

Remember to get out and vote Tuesday, and have a great week!

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