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

A few weeks ago, we asked if private capital was beginning to show more interest in the mortgage market.

Once upon a time, before everything blew up, there were quite a few mortgages backed by private capital and investors. Things got WAY out of hand in the run-up to the crisis, and since then, private capital has been all but extinguished from the market.

But we’re starting to see more signs that interest in mortgages that don’t fit inside the Qualified Mortgage box seems to be growing.

One piece of support information: The first quarter was a record-breaking one for Angel Oak Companies, which includes Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, Angel Oak Home Loans, and Angel Oak Prime Bridge.

The company, which specializes in mortgage credit, raised $291 million earlier this year to invest in non-QM mortgages. Earlier this month, Angel Oak closed its largest securitization to date, a $328.78 million offering comprised largely of non-QM mortgages.

And it looks like that’s just the start for Angel Oak. The company reported last week that it had a record of $340 million in non-QM mortgage originations in the first quarter, an increase of 62% over the same time period last year.

The company is now projecting that it will more than double its non-QM volume, growing from $1.1 billion in 2017 to $2.5 billion in 2018.

“We’re carving out a clear leadership position in the non-QM space by hiring top-tier people and bringing the best products to market,” Steven Schwalb, managing partner of the Angel Oak lending platform, said.

“Over the last year, we’ve seen non-QM lending become more widely accepted than any other time in the post-crisis period,” Schwalb added. “As more players enter the space, many will attempt to emulate our success. However, our expertise, our commitment to quality and our unique structure sets Angel Oak apart from the competition.”

Big news in the New York real estate world came down late last week, as the New York Court of Appeals ruled that landlords are allowed to raise rents on previously rent-regulated units when they convert those apartments to market rate units.

The Wall Street Journal has the full scoop:

The unanimous decision on Thursday overturned an appellate court ruling that challenged the process landlords and state regulators had followed for many years in deregulating apartments with high rents.

The law allows the deregulation of vacant regulated apartments when rents exceed a threshold—for many years that was $2,000 a month, but it currently is $2,733 a month.

The lower court had said landlords should use the final rent paid by the previous tenant to calculate the rent of regulated units, but landlords instead typically added up to 20%—the amount allowed after a vacancy—and the costs of renovations to the rent.

According to the attorney who argued the appeal, the case “had the potential to completely upend the city’s residential market,” but the appeals court sided with the landlords.

Again from the WSJ:

“Tenants lost today, especially struggling tenants who need it most, there is no question about that,” said Lawrence W. Rader, who represented Richard Altman, a lawyer and tenant who lived in a small apartment building in the West Village.

In other rental housing news, the Minneapolis City Council approved a new program late last week that will provide landlords with reduced property taxes in exchange for keeping some of their units affordable for people with lower incomes.

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

The tax break aims to keep rents low at up to 300 private apartments that receive no government subsidy, known as “naturally occurring affordable housing.” Hailed by landlords and tenant advocates, it’s a first step as the City Council prepares to grapple with rising rents in Minneapolis that have put new strains on low-income residents.

The program will tap into a little-used state tax status that grants owners of apartments a 40 percent property tax reduction on units that they keep affordable for people who earn 60 percent or less than the area median income. The status has been granted only for homes that are subsidized, but the city worked around that requirement by paying the filing fees for landlords and persuading the state to count that as a subsidy.

And finally, from things aren’t always what they seem department, Austin, Texas police are warning the city’s residents to be on the lookout for an online real estate scam that seemingly offered a $350,000 house for just $38,000.

According to the Austin police, the owners of the house listed it for rent, but scammers took the information from that rental posting and used it post the house for sale on Zillow.

And while the property is valued at $350,000, the scammers listed the house for sale at $38,000.

From the looks of it, the scammers were looking to prey on unsuspecting and unwitting potential buyers.

“The text of the ad is clearly designed to attract people who have no idea how buying a house works and asks for 20% deposit upfront to view the property,” Austin police said.

The APD also provides some tips on how to avoid similar scams:

  • Deal locally with people you can meet in person
  • Never wire money to anyone you’ve never met
  • Never give financial information (bank account information, social security number, etc.) to anyone you’ve never met
  • Do not buy or rent any property, sight unseen
  • Do not submit to any sort of credit or background check with anyone you’ve never met
  • Take your time, do your research and don't get rushed by phony deadlines imposed by the seller

And the last tip: “If a deal sounds too good to be true…it almost certainly is.”

Good advice for all of us.