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Volume 2014 - Number 15

April 17, 2014

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Both Purchase-Mortgage and Refinance Volume Down Sharply in Agency Activity

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae saw much lower business volume in both purchase-money mortgages and refinance loans during the first quarter of 2014, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance analysis and ranking. The agencies securitized a total of $95.9 billion of purchase mortgages during the first three months of the year, down 28.8 percent from the previous quarter. That was a steeper decline than in refinance volume, which slid 24.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013. Compared to a year ago, the purchase market continued...[Includes three data charts]

Increasing Home Prices Seen as Hindering Purchase- Mortgage Originations, Factors Go Beyond DTI Ratios

Some industry analysts suggest that originations of purchase mortgages have been held back by potential borrowers’ debt-to-income ratios, which have increased along with rises in home prices. However, originations of purchase mortgages have increased in the past year as home prices have risen and it’s more than DTI ratios shutting certain borrowers out of the purchase market. Even though interest rates on mortgages remain at relatively low levels, housing affordability has been an increasing concern due to trends in home prices. Borrowers in parts of California, as well as Denver, Miami and Portland, could have difficulty qualifying for a purchase mortgage, according to a recent analysis by Zillow. Based on income, mortgage and home-value data for the fourth quarter of 2013, Zillow found...

Joint Venture Pros are Wary as Market Transitions Under the Weight of Dodd-Frank, Uneven Economy

Industry joint-venture professionals are trying to stay upbeat as they feel their way around a changing economic and regulatory landscape. A number of them are pulling back somewhat as they strategize to find their niche in a recovering market and a business redefined by the Dodd-Frank Act. “As everybody here knows, there have been a long-standing number of mortgage joint ventures that have exited the business over the last couple of years,” Gerard Griesser, president of The Trident Group, said in introducing a panel of industry executives at the Real Estate Settlement Providers Council’s 2014 annual conference this week in Washington, DC. Robert Moline, president and chief operating officer at HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate based in Minneapolis, said...

Small Lender Groups Seek Changes to Johnson-Crapo Proposal as Liberal Senators Disparage Bill’s Chances

The drumbeat of opposition to the Senate’s housing finance reform legislation grew louder this week after a coalition of small lender groups said the proposal needs to be modified. Some lawmakers are openly disparaging the bill’s prospects, prompting open speculation that the scheduled April 29 markup will be postponed. The bipartisan housing-finance reform bill crafted by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, would replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a new secondary-market structure through which a variety of private entities could issue mortgage-backed securities with a partial government guaranty. It specifically provides for one or more mutually-owned companies that would provide access for smaller lenders. The proposed legislation also sets up...

Lenders Concerned About Litigation on Non-QMs, Feel Obligated to Offer the Mortgages Anyway

About two-thirds of banks are willing to offer loans that don’t meet standards for qualified mortgages, according to a recent survey by the American Bankers Association. Lenders are concerned about the liability that comes with non-QMs, but borrower demand for non-QMs has prompted a wider range of mortgage offerings than many had projected after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s QM standards took effect. “More and more, in talking to our banks, I would say there’s an increased comfort in going beyond QM, doing business the way they’ve traditionally done business and expecting to meet either the QM or the ability-to-repay standard.” said Jonathan Miller, deputy director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s division of depositor and consumer protection. At a meeting last week by the FDIC’s Advisory Committee on Community Banking, Derek Williams, president and CEO of Columbus Community Bank, said...

Mortgage Complaints to CFPB See Big Drop From Year Ago, Mostly on Plunge in Loan-Mod Gripes

Total consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rose 34 percent year-over-year in the first quarter, but gripes about home mortgages fell 29.3 percent from year-ago levels, according to a new analysis by Inside the CFPB, an affiliated newsletter. The strong improvement from last year was driven largely by a 46.8 percent plunge in grievances about loan modifications. But complaints about servicing in general were up 21.4 percent from the first quarter of last year, while the other five mortgage-related categories were lower. Gripes having to do with loan application or other origination-related issues fell 26.7 percent from the first quarter of 2013. The number of gripes that were responded to in a timely manner fell...

Top 100 Mortgage Lenders - 4Q13

Mortgage Market at a Glance

Weekly mortgage rates and application survey data as well as indexes for ARMs.

Poll

What do you think is the biggest hurdle to meeting the new QM standards in the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule?

A debt-to-income (DTI) cap of 43%.

48%

A 3% cap on points and fees.

29%

An interest rate cap of the average prime offered rate (APOR) plus 1.5%.

23%

Housing Pulse