Volume 15 - Number 18
August 28, 2015
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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported big declines in mortgage repurchases and their inventories of unresolved buyback requests during the second quarter of 2015, according to a new Inside The GSEs analysis of disclosures filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Freddie reported a 19.1 percent drop in repurchases from the first to the second quarter of 2015, while Fannie’s decline was a more modest 3.9 percent. Together, the two GSEs reported $436.3 million in repurchased or indemnified loans during the second quarter, the lowest amount since Fannie, Freddie and other “securitizers” began reporting repurchase activity in early 2012. On a combined basis, Fannie and Freddie reported new lows in pending repurchases ($732.2 million) and disputed buyback requests...
Generally speaking, declining interest rates are welcomed by most mortgage market participants – unless the drop is both precipitous and unexpected, which is exactly what occurred over the past 10 days, thanks to the worldwide stock market carnage. As the weekend approached, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond was at 2.17 percent, but earlier in the week – while stocks sold off – the yield fell to as low as 1.90 percent. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac watchers are now wondering if given the steep (and unexpected) decline in rates, perhaps the two government-controlled mortgage giants will report large hedging losses for the third quarter.
Fannie Mae rolled out HomeReady this week, a revised affordable lending product to replace its MyCommunityMortgage program, which focuses on helping borrowers with low- and moderate-incomes obtain mortgage credit. With lender input, the GSE made a number of changes to make the product more efficient for both lenders and borrowers. Fannie will add it to Desktop Underwriter later this year. HomeReady expects to create business opportunities for lenders serving the changing demographics and the shift in borrower needs. “I think it will definitely give lenders some additional flexibility in being able to qualify moderate income and lower income borrowers that they don’t have today,” said Glen Corso, executive director of Community Mortgage Lenders of America.
The Federal Housing Finance Authoritys’ “duty-to-serve” rule, mandated by the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act, is getting a lot of attention lately from manufactured housing industry leaders who argue that the GSEs aren’t purchasing enough of their loans. “Duty-to-serve” was created to encourage Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to support underserved markets, especially those that included manufactured housing, along with rural housing and affordable housing preservation. Although it was mandated years ago, a final rule has not been implemented and the FHFA plans to re-propose the rule later this year.MH accounted for just 0.2 percent of Fannie’s and Freddie’s total business this year with the GSEs securitizing $896 million of manufactured housing loans in the first half of 2015, according to data analyzed by Inside The GSEs.
Mortgage Bankers Association President David Stevens set off a firestorm of reactions after publishing a piece earlier this week regarding the MBA’s stance on GSE reform. Some in the industry accused Stevens of “flip flopping” when he said that he supports reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as opposed to eliminating them altogether. But Stevens was adamant in defense of the MBA’s position and took to Twitter stating, “It’s been our position for 2+ years.” Stevens noted in the article that conservatorship is not a long-term solution, and added that in the current state it may be the riskiest position of all. He said the GSEs don’t have the capital to withstand another housing downturn and taxpayers don’t want to be on the hook if the companies falter.
First-time homebuyers make up a significant part of the purchase-mortgage market, but Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a hard time competing with Ginnie Mae, according to a new Inside The GSEs analysis of loan-level data.The three agencies securitized $118.90 billion of first-time buyer mortgages during the first six months of 2015, but Ginnie accounted for over half (52.4 percent) of the business. Ginnie’s big advantage is that it gets all the FHA and VA loans, while the GSEs so far have not gotten much traction in their reduced-downpayment programs. First-time buyers typically have less savings for a downpayment and often have less-stellar credit profiles. In the first half of this year, the average loan-to-value ratio for...(charts)
The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s announcement last week that it will increase both the single-family low-income and multifamily low-income purchase goals was met with mixed reaction. In its final housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for 2015 through 2017, the single-family low-income goal was raised just one percentage point to 24 percent. But some housing industry groups weren’t necessarily happy with the single-family goal. “At 24 percent, the affordable housing goals fall short of what can and should be expected of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” said Center for Responsible Lending President Mike Calhoun. “These companies have the capacity to reach a greater percentage of lower-wealth, creditworthy households, allowing borrowers to build wealth through homeownership.”
Fannie Mae said last week that Lone Star Funds’ LSF9 Mortgage Holdings was the sole winning bidder on its second sale of two pools of non-performing loans announced in July. The government-sponsored enterprise offered separate pools of approximately 3,900 loans, totaling $765 million in unpaid principal balance. The first pool included 831 loans with an aggregate UPB of $175.4 million and $211,179 average loan size. The second pool included 3,034 loans with an aggregate UPB of $589.4 million and average loan size of $194,298. On average, the loans in both pools have been delinquent for 37 months with an average BPO LTV of 76 percent. The transaction expects to settle Sept. 25.
The GSEs’ multifamily segment continues to witness growth amid the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s mandated caps. Freddie Mac’s comprehensive income from the multifamily business grew to $366 million for the second quarter. Freddie said the $102 million increase was primarily due to higher unrealized gains on available-for-sale securities. Also, new purchase volume remained strong at $13.1 billion, a $3.1 billion increase from the first quarter. In fact, Freddie’s multifamily business grew so much that some industry observers worry that the GSE could reach the $30 billion annual multifamily business cap set by the FHFA before the year ends. Approximately 70 percent of the $23.1 billion in new business activity in the first half counted toward the 2015 volume cap.
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association emphasized its concerns about the GSEs’ single security initiative in a letter sent last week to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. A large part of SIFMA’s letter focused on a lack of alignment between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The trade group believes that the FHFA doesn’t have a strong enough role in maintaining the policy and practice alignment of the GSEs. “This causes significant concern about the potential outcome of the initiative,” the letter said, adding that the effective alignment of policies and practices, to achieve a continuing alignment to security performance, is the single most important factor in the success, or lack thereof, of the initiative.
Fannie Research Shows House Price Decline for Some Oil States: The prospect of an oil bust draws comparisons to the housing slump of the 1980s in Fannie Mae’s research released Aug. 28. While most Americans enjoyed lower gasoline prices over that period, severe employment losses occurred within the oil industry, and many oil-producing states experienced general economic slowdowns and declining house prices. North Dakota, Wyoming and Alaska are most at risk. …