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Home mortgage rates and real estate news - CNNMoney.com

5 ways to afford your first home

Read full story for latest details.

London's property market is in a coma

London experienced years of booming property prices. But the market has now ground to a halt.

What will your monthly mortgage payment be?

In the market for a new home? Or planning to refinance? Find out what your monthly payment will be.

This Texas military town has nearly closed the black and white homeownership gap

Killeen, Texas is a relative oasis of racial parity when it comes to homeownership. The reason: Fort Hood.

Flip this house! Zillow plans to buy and sell homes

Read full story for latest details.

Looking to buy your first home? Good luck with that

House hunting is going to be difficult this spring ? especially for those looking to become owners for the first time.

Was my home a good investment?

Calculate the return on your home and how it compares to returns on stocks, bonds and overall home prices.

Yes, you can still deduct interest on your home equity loan ...

The new tax law has created a lot of confusion over whether tax filers may still deduct the interest they pay on home equity loans and lines of credit. The IRS says that you can, but only if the money is used to improve your home.

Warning signs in the housing market aren't hurting Zillow

Shares of Zillow have soared this year. But other housing-related stocks have dipped, and even Zillow's top economist is worried the real estate market may cool off.

Home sellers are making huge profits. So why aren't more people selling?

It's the most profitable time to sell your home in more than a decade, so why aren't more home owners listing?

Why you want Amazon to be your new neighbor

Amazon has announced a list of 20 cities as potential locations for its second headquarters. The winner is likely to see a significant boost to its real estate market.

3 ways tax reform will hit home values

The freshly-passed tax code could be a drag on home values.

Homeowners: Here's what's in the tax bill for you

Homeowners would be able to deduct interest on the first $750,000 of a new mortgage under the final tax bill -- down from the current $1 million threshold.

For many, the rent is still too damn high

Rental affordability has improved, but for many renters it's still a struggle to make ends meet.

This is how long it takes to sell a house

It's a sellers market, which means wanna-be homeowners have to be move fast when a home hits the market.

Hurricanes could bring another disaster: Foreclosures

Read full story for latest details.

Who's affected by the mortgage changes in the House tax bill

The Republican tax bill proposes capping the mortgage interest deduction at $500,000. That's bad news for these home buyers.

Aston Martin is getting into... luxury real estate?!

Aston Martin is getting into the real estate business with a new 66-story residential tower in Miami.

How to buy your first home

Read full story for latest details.

Should you rent or buy a home?

Read full story for latest details.

WSJ.com: Real Estate

Gardens and Mountains in Australia

This luxury period-style home on more than 50,000 square feet of land has a national park out the back door and is just a 90-minute drive from Sydney.

The Challenges of Selling a Hollywood Home

In Los Angeles, an abode that has housed generations of Hollywood legends can be the ultimate status symbol, but there are complications when it is time to sell.

Hollywood Producer Joel Silver Sells Malibu Home for $38 million

Joel Silver, producer of the “Die Hard” and “Matrix” film franchises, sold his Malibu, Calif., home on Carbon Beach for $38 million.

Ziff Family Florida Compound Is Seeking Almost $200 Million

Known as “Gemini,” the nearly 16-acre estate south of Palm Beach is one of the highest priced listings in the country

An Apple Manager's Headquarters for High Jinks

A creative director crafts a San Francisco home dedicated to daring, whimsy and fun.

Japan's Creative, Ephemeral Homes

Buyers value new, highly personalized houses—forget resales. This model has one happy side-effect: a flourishing of some of the world’s most wonderfully bizarre architecture.

Soho Penthouse Seeks $29.995 Million

The seller is Jon Venetos, the former head of Surveyor Capital, which is part of hedge-fund giant Citadel.

Developers Put on the Glitz for Busy Fall Selling Season

Increasingly, developers use a wide range of splashy affairs to promote luxury residential real-estate sales in autumn, the most important sales period after spring.

Microsoft Opens Flagship Store on Fifth Avenue

Microsoft will step onto one of the world’s biggest retail stages Monday when it opens its Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan as part of its strategy to boost direct contact with consumers.

A Resnick Scion Strikes Out on His Own

With a new Chelsea condominium that’s 80% sold, Scott Resnick shows he’s up to the challenge of developing residential projects on his own.

Shopping Mall Developer Taubman Dies

A. Alfred Taubman, the self-made billionaire who cemented the enclosed shopping mall into American culture has died. He was 91.

Fannie, Freddie to Lower Fees

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is set to direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reduce mortgage fees on some borrowers.

An App That Helps Glimpse the Future

Rokitt’s augmented-reality technology helps architects and residents see a skyline’s potential.

What's the Deal

A roundup of real-estate news in the tri-state region

New York's Institutional Building Spree

Projects by schools, hospitals and others more than tripled in the first half of this year compared with a year earlier.

Stonewall Inn, Historic Gay Site, May Become New York City Landmark

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday on designating the Stonewall Inn as an individual landmark for its pivotal role in New York City’s social history.

Red Berries Are Coming Back to New Jersey

In a sign of the changing beverage market, a longtime plant and distribution facility of juice maker Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. will soon be home to the company Bai Brands, which produces drinks made from the coffee fruit.

Rent Regulations Expire as Deal Eludes Lawmakers

New York City’s rent regulations expired at midnight Monday as Albany lawmakers couldn’t agree on how to renew a law that afforded protection to more than two million people.

A House Made for a Sailor

The Kroeses are selling their waterside home in Westbrook, Conn., designed to complement lives spent largely on sailboats. The nautically themed home is on the market for $1.975 million.

Group Wants Parking Lots Converted to Elderly Housing

A study by the advocacy group LiveOn NY has identified 39 parking lots in the five boroughs that it says are underused and would be better used as housing for seniors.

What's the Deal: News Digest

A round-up of commercial real-estate news in the Greater New York region.

Rent a Desk, or Bathroom, in New York City With an App

A slew of innovative app-based services help New Yorkers instantly book short stints at the smallest of city spaces—a bathroom, a living room, an office. Need a pit stop? Try Airpnp.

In Franklin Lakes, People Tend to Stay Awhile

The affluent New Jersey community, population 10,600, is about 25 miles from Manhattan. Residents are drawn by its well-regarded public schools, relatively low property taxes and bucolic atmosphere.

Avison Young Hires Big to Accelerate Growth in New York

A. Mitti Liebersohn has left his longtime brokerage team at JLL to join Avison Young’s New York office.

What's the Deal: News Digest

A roundup of real-estate news in the Greater New York area.

Designers Put Cork in It

Once dismissed as cheap and ugly, cork is becoming cool as top designers create pieces that are not only sustainable, but covetable.

Five Midcentury Homes for Interiors Inspiration

Take a tour of these classic residences, including Modernist designer Eileen Gray’s 1929 villa, now open to the public after years of restoration.

Design's Best-Kept Secret: Eames Radios

Collectors are tuning into radios designed by Charles and Ray Eames—a more accessible way to own an original by the midcentury masters.

Basic Home Essentials That Are Anything But Ordinary

Even if you aren’t ready for Marie Kondo’s life-changing magic, you can still embrace the beauty of simplicity by investing in items that are functional and stylish.

Five Fresh Spring Vases

Choose the perfect vase to display those long-awaited spring flowers at their best.

Ways to Give Your House Away

Anyone inspired to donate their home to charity should know that the tax rules are complicated.

Chita Rivera on the Leap That Launched Her Dance Career

The actress/dancer was a tomboy who grew up in a lively Washington, D.C., home.

Comedian Mike Myers Lists New York Duplex for $16.95 Million

The “Austin Powers” creator purchased the 4,200-square-foot penthouse in Soho for roughly $7.9 million in 2007

Philadelphia Penthouse Is Listing for a Record $17.6 Million

Under construction, the apartment has the highest asking price in the city.

Where Luxury Homes Sell the Fastest

An analysis of home listings over a two-month period identifies San Jose, Calif., as the place where home buyers need to act quickly.

Extreme Closet Makeover

A look inside the $85,000 closet renovation of a California doctor.

Westchester's Priciest House Is Listing For $29.5 Million

The 98-acre property in Mount Kisco, N.Y. was once owned by showman Billy Rose

Advantages of a One-of-a-Kind Home

Homes with a special feature that is no longer allowed under local building rules may give owners an edge when it’s time to sell.

The French Riviera at a Bargain

There are rare deals in glittering Cap d’Antibes, the onetime party spot of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Barcelona's Draw as 'Urban Resort'

Spain’s second city is luring new home buyers who like the city-and-surf lifestyle of the coastal metropolis.

After Foreclosures, Home Buyers Are Back

Many who lost their homes during the early part of the financial crisis are rebounding after credit-penalty phase.

Sign of the Times: New Office Space Created in Retail's Tumult

Normandy Real Estate Partners’ $133 million deal for the upper portion of ABC Carpet’s flagship store is an example of office space edging into territory that once was retail’s domain.

Want to Buy a Luxury Hotel in the U.S.? Try China's Insurance Regulator

When Chinese regulators seized control of Anbang Insurance, they took ownership of more than a dozen luxury U.S. hotels. Now, as the government looks to sell, it faces a problem: The buildings likely are worth less than what Anbang paid only a couple of years ago.

New York's Commercial Property Slump Shows Signs of Slowing

After a two-year plunge, brokers are optimistic that more deals will take place in 2018.

NYC Council Stops Midtown Tower Construction

Work on an 800-foot-tall tower in East Midtown that has been under construction for six months was halted last week following a vote by the New York City Council to limit skyscrapers in the area,.

Mortgage News Daily

MBS RECAP: Bonds Add Exclamation Point to Yesterday's Breakout

Posted To: MBS Commentary

The break outside what we'll call the "Springtime Consolidation" for bonds started taking shape as early as last week. On Thursday and Friday, yields hugged the upper boundaries of that trend, simultaneously shying away from the sort of positive bounce that would typically suggest the trend's continuation. No matter! Perhaps they just needed to think things over for the weekend and things would look different on Monday. Nope! In fact, bonds weakened on Monday, which just about put the nail in the coffin of the Springtime Trend, but Tuesday's resilience raised doubts. By yesterday, however, we probably had our final answer with the big break above 2.835% and even a modest break above 2.86% in 10yr yields. Today's overnight weakness was plenty to put a period at the...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Jump to Highest Levels in About a Month

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates jumped higher today as bonds continued a move away from narrow Springtime range seen in March and early April. Bonds dictate rate movement and yesterday saw the bond market make its first convincing attempt to break what had been a friendly, narrow range. This of course coincided with a narrow range for rates in the past few months. It was also "friendly" relative to the trajectory seen in the first part of the year. When these sorts of ranges become established, the boundaries take on a special significance. As soon as the floor or the ceiling is definitively broken, there tends to be some additional momentum in the direction of the break. That's why yesterday's headline mentioned that bonds were suggesting "more trouble ahead." I'd hoped to be wrong about that, but here's the...(read more)

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Weather Cools Remodeling Perceptions

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The Remodeling Market Index (RMI) is to home remodelers as the Housing Market Index (HMI) is to new home builders. Each is constructed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to reflect builder confidence in their particular share of the market. The quarterly RMI is based on responses to a survey in which professional remodelers are asked to gauge current market conditions in terms of major and minor additions and alterations , maintenance and repairs on both owner- and renter occupied dwellings. NAHB assigns a numerical value to those answers. They are also asked about calls for bids, work commitments over the next three months, work backlogs, and appointments for proposals. Those questions form the basis of the future indicators index. The overall market index retreated to its...(read more)

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MBS Day Ahead: What Stock Lever? Bonds Tanking Without Any Help

Posted To: MBS Commentary

We've been increasingly wary about a potential break of the recent consolidation/rally trend --the one that saw yields move sideways to slightly stronger from late Feb through early April. Yields tiptoed to the top of that range as of Tuesday and then fired a more forceful warning shot with a bigger breakout yesterday. Today looks set to continue the destruction of the trend with sharp losses overnight. Where might this be going? With 2.86% breaking and 2.91% already being tested, there's really only the super-long-term highs at 2.95+ remaining. To see anything higher, we have to go back more than 4 years. If that breaks, there's not much overrun until we're looking at 2011's levels in the low 3's as the supportive ceiling. But let's slow down a bit. We'll cross...(read more)

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Rates on Closed Loans at 4 Year High

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The share of refinancing loans dropped to 38 percent of loans closed in March, down from 43 percent in February. Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report for the month notes that the 5 percent decline in those loans was consistent across all three loans types, FHA, VA, and conventional. Refinancing slipped as the interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to their highest level since January 2014. Ellie Mae said that the average rate on closed loans which had been at 4.33 percent in January and 4.48 in February jumped to 4.69 percent in March. The percentage of loans with adjustable rates (ARMs) increased to 6.3 percent from 5.5 percent the previous month. The distribution of loans across loan types was largely unchanged. The FHA share rose 1 percentage point to 20 percent while conventional...(read more)

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Home Price Increases Outpace Income Gains - Again

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Fewer homes on the market are affordable than a year ago, and fewer households can afford them with their current income. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and the realtor.com website have released a list of the least and the most affordable locations nationwide based on the area's income and the website's active listings. The maximum affordable home price assumes that 30 percent of a purchaser's income can go to pay for the financing, property tax, homeowner's insurance costs, and a mortgage insurance premium if required. It is also assumed that the purchase will be financed with a vanilla 30-year mortgage at the prevailing rate advertised by lenders on the realtor.com site. A score of one or higher generally suggests a market where homes for sale are more affordable to households...(read more)

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New Lender Products; Freddie and Fannie Updates; Rates Moving Higher

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Rumors continue to swirl about practically every lender out there, and exaggeration is rampant. A company eliminates low producing LOs in Arizona and suddenly the jungle drums are saying it is closing its Southwest division. A middle layer of management is cut, and word on the street has the company shuttering a whole channel. On the flip side, some companies effectively eliminate an entire channel but leave a few personnel in the headquarters for appearance or to close out the pipeline and eventually be jettisoned – to avoid making a formal announcement. Fannie and Freddie Continue to Modify Requirements Remember that the FHFA has a dual role as both regulator and conservator of the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and is also regulator of the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks). The...(read more)

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MBS RECAP: More Warning Shots From Bonds

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Today was a more serious version of the same sort of warning shots seen at the end of last week. At that time, bond yields rose to challenge an intermediate ceiling at 2.835%, but didn't go out of their way to break it. This week began with higher yields on Monday morning, but a nice recovery throughout the day. When yesterday's gains added to that recovery, it was tempting to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep. Today's trading sounded the alarm, at least to some extent. It might not be loud enough to wake the deeper sleepers out there, but it's important to note that yields have quickly moved back up to the highest levels since before the trade war rally (Fed Day, March 21st). There weren't any big, overt motivations for the weakness. As discussed in the Huddle...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Inch Higher as Bonds Suggest More Trouble Ahead

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates moved higher today as bond markets continued a mildly weaker trend for the month of April. Bonds (which underlie rates) are under pressure for a variety of reasons. The most notable headwinds are longer-term and bigger-picture. Rates responded to these headwinds in a fairly big way in Jan/Feb and have basically been "taking a break" since then. Rates have moved very little during this "break," with most borrowers being quoted the same NOTE rate on any given day in the past 2 months. Upfront costs have been the only way the modulate the EFFECTIVE rate of the average lender's 30yr fixed quote. Today's move in bonds brings 10yr Treasury yields to their highest levels since March 21st. While this, in and of itself, doesn't rekindle the same sort of drama seen in the first 2 months...(read more)

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UI Says Underwriters Should Consider Rent History

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Access to credit remains tight and the Urban Institute (UI) blames in part that lenders are not measuring the credit risk of borrowers appropriately. Laurie Goodman and Jun Zhu, writing in UI's Urban Wire blog say that paying rent is the most significant financial commitment of most renters. Yet, while credit reports often ding renters for missing rent payments, the performance of good tenants doesn't enter into their credit scores. Considering a borrower's rental pay history , this could be done via bank statements, to the mortgage qualification process, they say, would make assessing renters' credit risk easier. It could also expand access to homeownership among a significant portion of the nation's population. The authors analyzed rental payment histories to see how they might impact mortgage...(read more)

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Freddie Mac: Shop Smart, Save Big

Posted To: MND NewsWire

They aren't suggesting you shop 'til you drop, but Freddie Mac says neither should borrowers buy the first mortgage they see. Doug McManus and Elias Yannopoulos, members of the company's Economic and Housing Research Group, write in its Insights Blog that shopping for a better mortgage rate could save a borrower hundreds or thousands of dollars. Yet, a 2015 survey by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that almost half of consumers "seriously considered" only one lender before making a choice. More than three-quarters (77 percent) made application with only one lender and very few considered more than three. The Freddie Mac analysts say many borrowers don't even realize that rates offered by lending institutions can vary widely. Their research indicates that just getting one additional...(read more)

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MBS Day Ahead: Bonds At Mercy of Earnings Ramp-Up, But Curve Could Help

Posted To: MBS Commentary

The term "earnings season" gets thrown around quite a bit in financial news, but what is it, exactly? Simply put, it's a period of several weeks each quarter where a majority of companies release their earnings reports. This is always of interest to the stock market as it's something of a report card for parents wondering how their children are doing in school. The first quarter of 2018 is especially interesting due to tax law changes. It's as if the children are in a new school or using some revolutionary new study aid. All that to say: the number of earnings releases went from the teens to the 40's yesterday as it builds toward more than 200 next Wednesday and more than 300 on the following Wednesday. Bonds don't necessarily care as much as stocks, but they still...(read more)

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TPO and Warehouse Products; Training Events; MBA Shows Decrease in Volume, Profits

Posted To: Pipeline Press

The MBA tells us that both volume and profits were down in 2017. “ Independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks made an average profit of $711 on each loan they originated in 2017 , down from $1,346 per loan in 2016.” Production expenses grew in all categories: sales, fulfillment, production support and corporate. Keep that in mind the next time anyone questions pricing, asks for a free extension, or wants .250 knocked off the price of that $300k loan to match the guy up the street. Trainings and Events Todd Duncan is hosting his High Trust Sales Academy mortgage training event May 8th-11th in Newport Beach, California. He’s been teaching this event for 26 years and over 12,000 loan officers have successfully completed the training. The event is...(read more)

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Mortgage Application Activity Surges

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The pace of mortgage applications picked up during the week ended April 13, ending a two-week slide. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported its indices for both purchase mortgages and refinances improved significantly compared to the week ended April 6. The Market Composite Index a measure of total application volume, increased 4.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and was 6 percent higher without adjustment. The Purchase Index was also up 6 percent seasonally adjusted and rose 7 percent compared to the previous week on an unadjusted basis. The unadjusted index, which had fallen below the level for the same week in 2017 in the prior report, was 10 percent higher than its 2017 counterpart. The Refinance Index was also up, increasing 4 percent compared to the previous week, but...(read more)

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MBS RECAP: Bonds Hold Ground Despite Stronger Data/Stocks

Posted To: MBS Commentary

With elevated stock/bond correlation of late, it's always worth noting when things move in the opposite direction. Today was such a day, with stocks making solid gains while bonds managed to hold their ground near unchanged levels. Corporate bond issuance and stronger economic data also added to ostensible challenges for rates, thus making the ground-holding all the more interesting. But here are the caveats: 1. Not every part of the bond market held its ground. Shorter maturity bonds (like 2yr Treasuries) lost ground. This pushed the yield curve to its narrowest levels since 2007. This is a reflection of the positive economic data having clear implications for the Fed's rate hike path (which would affect 2yr yields) but fewer implications for longer-term growth and inflation (which...(read more)

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Modest Improvements For Mortgage Rates

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates had a calm day. Lenders who had offered improved rate sheets yesterday afternoon didn't see much reason to drop rates any further today. Lenders who took a more conservative route yesterday ended up being a little better off. Although there were several economic reports this morning, bonds (which drive rates) did nothing to respond and have generally been uninspired so far this week. In fact, in a broader sense, bonds haven't exhibited much inspiration for more than a month. Although rates have descended modestly since late February, it's just as fair to label that movement as "flat" in the context of typical rate movement. For example, most borrowers would still be quoted the same "note rate," with the only difference being slight changes in upfront fees/points. Loan Originator...(read more)

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Trade War Risks a Dark Cloud For an Otherwise Bright Economy - Fannie Mae

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Fannie Mae's economists remain upbeat about economic growth in the medium term but said on Monday that they see increasing downside risks. In its March forecast, the company's Economic Research Team had predicted that growth would slow during the first quarter but with a subsequent pickup that would result in growth of 2.8 percent in 2018. In its current edition of Economic Developments, they say growth slowed more in the first quarter of the year, to 1.7 percent rather than the 2.1 percent expected earlier. At the same time, the government revised its fourth quarter 2018 estimate from 2.5 to 2.9 percent. Based on that encouragement, Fannie Mae has held steady, revising its full year estimate down only 0.1 percent. Fundamentals remain strong and fiscal stimulus from the tax cut and new federal...(read more)

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MBS Day Ahead: Technically Under Attack, But is There Hidden Hope?

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Much of the analysis of the past few days has focused on the downwardly sloped trend channel seen in today's first chart. This can be thought of as the "correction trend" that helped bonds settle down after a glut of selling pressure to kick off the new year. From a technical standpoint , that trend has been under attack for the past 3 days. In the strictest sense, it's actually been broken. That said, the technical breakout has been taking the form of a "trickle" so far this week. That begs the question: is there some secret reason to be hopeful about bonds' prospects in the near-term future? Is there some way that rates could get back on track with a moderate rally? Well, anything is technically possible when it comes to the future of rates. There's no...(read more)

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Housing Starts, Permits Stage Spring Recovery

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Both housing permits and housing starts recovered in March from very disappointing performances in February. The New Residential Construction Report , jointly issued by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has both indicators up for the month, and both beat analysts' expectations. Single family construction however weakened from February rates. Permits for privately-owned residential construction were issued at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,354,000, a 2.5 percent increase from the February rate of 1,321,000. The February number is an upward revision of the 1,298,000 originally reported. Permitting in March was up 7.5 percent compared to the March 2017 rate of 1,260,000 units. Analysts polled by Econoday had made a consensus forecast of 1,315...(read more)

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Annual Mortgage Bank Profits Fall by Nearly Half

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Less than a month after reporting some bad news about mortgage production and profits in the fourth quarter of 2017 the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is back with a roundup of those measures for the entire year. The news didn't get any better. MBA said that per-loan profits for 2017 were $711, only slightly more than half the $1,346 in profits reported in 2016. The full year average for 2016 topped that of any single quarter in 2017. "Production profits dropped by almost half in 2017 as rate-term refinancings diminished and the overall average production volume dropped," said Marina Walsh, MBA's Vice President of Industry Analysis. The year started out with a net gain of only $224 in the first quarter but recovered in the second quarter to $1,122 as a reprieve from rising rates boosted...(read more)

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Servicing Update - Where are Values and Why?; AUS and CRM Products

Posted To: Pipeline Press

One of the things that impact servicing values is foreclosure laws, and rates, in certain states. Foreclosures have dropped, thankfully the number of borrowers in trouble has dropped, but certain loan vintages, and certain states, are seeing an increase in higher foreclosures . “Meanwhile we are beginning to see early signs that some post-recession loan vintages are defaulting at a slightly elevated rate, a sign that some loosening of lending standards has occurred in recent years.” Servicing Update Mortgage servicing is the channel to watch right now for tech disruption . “With no one stepping up to transform the stagnant industry for so long, TMS is a welcomed change. As a TECH100 winner , the fintech company continues to deliver on its promise to create a lifelong relationship...(read more)

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MBS RECAP: Bonds Claw Back to 'Unchanged' After Weaker Start

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Bonds were quite a bit weaker in the overnight session. According to the average media report, this was in response to Syria-related developments. The "logic" was that because the US had launched missiles into Syria WITHOUT sparking military escalation with Russia, that the whole Syria situation would just calm down from here. Again, you're being asked to believe that the announcement of a US air strike in Syria implies deescalation of conflict in Syria. If you're not quite on board with that, don't worry, you're not alone. I'm right there with you, and while I would admit that Syria-related headlines have had some effects over the past week, there are certainly other things on the minds of bond traders. Overnight, the focus was on Europe at the open (European...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Back to Unchanged After Starting Higher

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates began the day at higher levels, as bond markets lost ground overnight. Bonds dictate rates, and "losing ground" means bond prices are falling. When bond prices fall, rates move higher. There's some chatter in the marketplace about developments in Syria being the motivation for every little move in bonds/rates. Rather, it's more accurate to say it's ONE OF the motivations behind SOME of the moves. Bonds had a few other concerns overnight. That's why they were able to improve during domestic hours even though nothing changed with respect to Syria. As bonds improved, most lenders ended up releasing positively-revised rate sheets. After the revisions, today's mortgage rates ended up in substantially similar territory to last Friday's. Lenders who didn't reprice are naturally still...(read more)

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Builder Confidence Dips Slightly, Still Near All-Time Highs

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes slipped again in April, edging down 1 point to 69. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said its NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) edged down one point to 69. The HMI has slipped 1 point in each of the last three months. The builders' group said however that the Index remains "on firm ground." Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the HMI gauges its new home builders' perceptions of both the current market for newly built single-family homes and expectations for those sales over the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor." The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores for each component...(read more)

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MBS Week Ahead: Range Breakout In The Spotlight; Red Herrings

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Another week, another change to savor the scent of red herring in the air. Have you ever smelled a herring--let alone a red one? They're oily little bait-fish (like a bigger anchovy) and once out of the ocean (or the bait freezer at your local tackle shop), they don't smell great, whether dyed red or not. Something else that smells fishy are the news media's versions of the fabled herring. The most recent example is the notion that developments relating to Syria are big, fundamental market movers. While I think we can give last week's tweets and the weekend's military actions some credit for having an effect on financial markets, the following charts suggest that the average financial news headline (e.g. "Treasury yields rise as Syria jitters fade") needs to get...(read more)

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