Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.
First of all, big shout out to all the individual mortgage lenders who sacrificed their Saturday to get in some extra TRID training. We're not talking about the nonbank lenders who organized the educational training sessions, but the individual men and women who strive to stay abreast of the recent regulatory burdens. Thank you, keep up the good work. We'll have more TRID coverage as the week progresses.
Lenders and housing advocates are not happy that proposed new rule from the Federal Housing Finance Agency alters membership requirements in the Federal Home Loan Bank system.
The Mortgage Bankers Association and a coalition sent a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., expressing concern with FHFA’s proposed rule changes.
The letter was signed by MBA, Habitat for Humanity International, Independent Community Bankers of America and National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts signed the letter, which states:
The undersigned associations, representing thousands of institutions that are dedicated to housing finance in America, are writing to express our concerns with a proposed rulemaking (the Proposed Rule) currently under consideration by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The Proposed Rule, which was published for notice and comment in September 2014, would make harmful changes to the Federal Home Loan Bank System’s (the System) membership requirements. It also raises significant concerns regarding legislative intent and the fulfillment of the System’s overall mission. Notably, members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate submitted letters during the notice and comment period, voicing their strong opposition to the changes proposed by FHFA.
We respectfully urge Congress to prohibit this Proposed Rule from taking effect. Congress should also direct FHFA to consult with stakeholders to evaluate an appropriate membership structure to allow the System to best serve its mission in the 21st Century.
Mortgage bond investment right now is a little like the opening of “A Tale of Two Cities” — a best of times and worst of times sort of thing. Bank of America/Merill Lynch MBS strategist Chris Flanagan says his team expects to see continued slowing of home price appreciation, and that the best days for this cycle of growth may be in the rearview mirror.
What does this mean for mortgage bond investment?
“This is clearly an out of consensus view, which, if realized, has the potential to alter valuations in numerous sectors, including non-agency MBS,” he says in a client note. “More certainty from the Fed on a 2015 rate hike may be viewed by the market as a positive for risk assets. We are still not convinced that a Fed hike will be a positive for securitized products credit. We maintain a neutral on securitized products, but with an up in-quality bias. This favors agency MBS.”
Flanagan says that MBS performance remains directional, with a 2% yield on the 10-year Treasury a key rate threshold.
“We stay neutral. MBS tracking UST's versus swaps is symptomatic of broader bank balance sheet issues that could clear past quarter end,” he says. “On a normalized basis, issuance of UST's and MBS has lost ground versus growth in credit sectors. Say's law at work!”
As for the pending rate hike and its effect?
“We understand the arguments from many that a rate hike is needed, but we were not convinced by Chair Yellen's argument that a return to 2% inflation in the years ahead is likely,” Flanagan says. “We would prefer to see a more thorough flush on risk asset prices and spreads before moving to an overweight on securitized products credit. We may end up being late on a shift, but for now, we continue to advocate an up-in-quality bias within securitized products. This suggests agency MBS is expected to continue to be a relatively strong performer in the weeks ahead.”
Trulia is trying to stay on the cutting edge of mobile technology, since that’s where an increasing amount of home searches are happening. They launched a redesigned Android App that incorporates Google’s new Android Material design principles.
The national average of rental rates for a single-family, three bedroom home rose 6.1% this year, and for many watching the housing space that immediately calls into question the implications for cash-strapped Millennials.
But what about retiring Boomers?
Info from RentRange and Real Property Management shows the average rent for a three-bedroom, single family home is $1,320.
Which, they note, is a problem for a number of retiring Boomers because on average, people over the age of 55 have saved only $150,000 for retirement.
“This savings will generate $500 per month in income, if only the recommended 4% withdrawal standard is followed,” says Don Lawby, president of Real Property Management.
In addition to the benefits from social security, that makes the average monthly income just $1,794 or $21,528 per year, information they provided shows.
“So if 34 to 38% of income is spent on housing, then the average retiree will have a housing budget of just $610 — $682 per month — half of today’s average single family rental,” Lawby says. “The future will look even bleaker if housing costs continue to increase at an average pace of 2.4% each year. By 2030, there will be more than 70 million Americans over the age of 65 and the average rent for a three bedroom single family home will be $1,830 – more than the entire monthly income retirees will earn.”
The first sales metrics for Augusts start trickling in Monday, when we get pending home sales. Pending home sales had been on a climb in the first half of the year, correctly signaling a subsequent climb for final sales of existing homes. But the index began to stall going into the summer, this time correctly signaling August's drop in existing home sales.
An increase of 0.5% is expected for the August report, one that would point to a bounce back for existing home sales in September and October if it lands that way.
Home prices from theFederal Housing Finance Agency last week showed an increase of 0.6%, beating expectations of 0.4% after a tepid performance in June.
From July 2014 to July 2015, house prices were up 5.8%, brushing against an 8-year high.
We’ll see how that compares on Tuesday to the Case-Shiller home price index when it comes out. Case-Shiller data have been flat and, despite what the FHFA index showed, the Case-Shiller index is expected to stay flat. The consensus is calling for only a 0.1% rise in the 20-city adjusted index for August, which would reverse the 0.1% decline in July.
On Thursday the August report on construction spending hits. Construction spending in July was very strong and is expected to rise further in August, at a consensus 0.7%.
July's strength was broad based, including gains for single-family homes and nonresidential construction as well. Housing and construction have been on a moderate rise, but still good enough to contribute to overall economic growth.
Finally, on Friday we get the September jobs report. Non-farm payrolls are expected to edge up to a tepid 203,000 from August’s weak print. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by a mere 173,000 in August, while the unemployment rate edged down to 5.1% because of people dropping out of the workforce, bringing the labor participation rate down to a 38-year low.
No banks closed the week ending September 25, according to the FDIC.