A look at Biden’s first week in office

This episode reviews last week’s inauguration of President Joe Biden, examining which housing issues the new administration has already taken action on.

Biden’s executive order will extend foreclosure moratorium

President Biden revealed his plan to sign 17 executive orders his first day in office, including am extension of the eviction and foreclosure moratorium to at least March 31.

If consumers aren’t holding lenders back, then who or what is?

The challenge for lenders and investors is understanding how to meet borrowers where they are without layering on risk or getting bogged down in third-party intermediation.

HomeBridge’s Brian White on diversity at a practical level

HomeBridge's Brian “Woody” White discusses ways to increase diversity within the housing finance industry.

Mortgage

Mortgage rates drop as the Fed moves to stabilize the economy

The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage falls to 3.5%

The average U.S. fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage fell to 3.5% this week, representing the first decline in three weeks, according to Freddie Mac.

The rate is 15 basis points below last week’s level of 3.65% and is more than half a percentage point lower than the 4.06% of the same week a year ago.

In addition to a drop in the 30-year fixed-rate, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 2.92%, down from 3.06% last week. However, the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.34%, up from last week’s rate of 3.11%. 

The Federal Reserve’s efforts to stabilize markets with a pledge of unlimited bond-buying, including mortgage-backed securities, likely caused this week’s rate decline, said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

“The Federal Reserve’s swift and significant efforts to stabilize the market were much needed and helped mortgage rates drop for the first time in three weeks,” Khater said. “Similar to other segments of the economy, real estate demand is softening. However, the combination of the Fed’s actions and pending economic stimulus will provide substantial support to the mortgage markets.”

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $2 trillion federal rescue package that is designed to financially aid American households struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost half of America’s population lives in states that have implemented stay-at-home orders in an effort to slow the spread of the disease.

The government’s package, which is now the largest-ever stimulus bill in U.S. history, includes $250 billion in direct checks to Americans and boosts unemployment benefits to help people pay their bills, including rent or mortgages.

There’s also $350 billion in loans for smaller businesses, aimed at keeping workers on the payrolls. The disbursement of those funds will be overseen by the Small Business Administration.

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