Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news crossing HousingWire's weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.
Moody’s Investors Service notes the approval of the final rule of the Dodd-Frank Act exempting housing finance agencies from the minimum 5% risk-retention requirement is a credit positive for HFAs, as it allows them to retain full mortgage financing flexibility.
This is also a reversal from the initial proposal, where HFS would have had to engage in risk sharing with investors, they emphasize.
“With this final exemption, HFAs are not handicapped by the risk-retention requirement and can continue using their current mortgage financing tools unimpeded. The HFA exemption also reflects the federal government’s support for HFAs, where lending programs help meet the affordable housing needs of first-time homebuyers. The US Treasury has long viewed HFAs as an integral part of affordable housing initiatives. The final rule cites HFAs’ strong track record of responsible lending and the public benefits of their programs as the basis for the exemption,” the analyst agency reports.
Moody’s declaration of “credit positive” or “credit negative” does not connote a rating or outlook change. It is indicative of the impact of a distinct event or development as one of many credit factors affecting the issuer.
HousingWire has exhaustively covered the issue of how student debt is affecting the mortgage and housing market, but now Clear Capital has a look for clients at how colleges and universities themselves are affecting housing.
“Colleges and universities are having an effect on housing across the country. Metros with noteworthy university influence are at the top of their class, with home price trends far outperforming national rates of growth since 2004,” Clear Capital says. “A sample of ten metros, each having a university presence, shows an average growth of 32% since 2004.”
Given how national home prices have only now climbed back up to 2004 price levels following nearly three years of recovery, these college towns have performed remarkably well. Their immunity to the boom-bust-bubble cycle proves these markets are unique in their sustained housing demand.
“The symbiotic relationship between university life and home prices, however, is localized. Now a full year into a cooling recovery, stronger demand from first-time homebuyers is a prerequisite to a sustainable recovery as investor demand dwindles,” they say. “College graduates who feel confident enough in their employment prospects and the housing market to attempt to qualify for a mortgage will have to grapple with an average of more than $30,000 in existing student debt. With student debt now in excess of $1 trillion and growing, the housing market faces demand headwinds at a crucial transitional point in the recovery.”
Not everyone is singing praises of the Federal Housing Finance Agency after its move to open the credit boxes. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a confederation of affordable housing advocates, is calling in the FHFA to strengthen its affordable housing goals after the agency announced its proposed 2015-2017 Enterprise Housing Goals.
“The affordable housing goals proposed by FHFA fall far short of what will be needed to ensure that all creditworthy Americans have access to mortgages,” said NCRC President and CEO John Taylor. “We urge FHFA Director Mel Watt to adopt meaningful affordable housing goals that will ensure broad access to conventional mortgage credit for creditworthy borrowers, including working class families."
In terms of metrics that will be driving the housing and mortgage industry, on Monday we will get the report on September construction spending.
Construction spending reversed course in a bad way in August.
Construction spending declined 0.8% in August after a 1.2% rebound in July. August's decrease was led by the private nonresidential sector-down 1.4%, following a 1.3% increase in July. Private residential outlays eased 0.1%, following a 0.4% boost in July. Weakness was in residential spending excluding new homes. Wednesday will see the weekly mortgage application report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, following Thursday by MBA’s rates for the week.
Friday will see the big jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This will be the first one after Tuesday’s midterm election, so it will be interesting to see how the margin of error leans.
No banks were reported closed by the FDIC for the week ending Oct. 31.