Not Just the Season; MBA Predicts New Home Sales Down Sharply

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) added a little more evidence to the pile indicating a rather rapid slow-down in the housing market.  MBA’s Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for November shows mortgage More »

MBS RECAP: MBS Handily Outperform Treasuries as Consolidation Continues

Today’s trading session was far less eventful than anything else seen in the past few weeks, both in terms of movement and volume.  Although Treasury yields were higher, most of the increase More »

Lenders Looking to New Tech as Pessimism Over Profit Margins Grows

Lenders continue to be pessimistic about their profit outlook as 2018 draws to an end.  Fannie Mae said its fourth quarter 2018 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey found the profit outlook reported by More »

Lenders Looking to New Tech as Pessimism Over Profit Margins Grows

Lenders continue to be pessimistic about their profit outlook as 2018 draws to an end.  Fannie Mae said its fourth quarter 2018 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey found the profit outlook reported by More »

MBS RECAP: Bonds Continue Circling Wagons (Nothing To Do With Shutdown News)

Government shutdowns make good news.  When risks of a shutdown flare up (especially with today’s sort of political theater) it tends to dominate the news coverage.  This creates the risk that shutdown More »

Single women overtake singular group as homeowners notwithstanding earning less

Independent females are winning a housing game.

In many of a country, singular women are outpacing group when it comes to homeownership, notwithstanding females usually creation 80% of what a normal masculine does, according to a LendingTree report.

About 22% of homes opposite a nation are owned by singular women, compared to reduction than 13% for singular men. On average, eccentric women possess over 70,000 some-more homes than eccentric men.

In all of a nation’s 50 largest civil areas, singular women possess some-more houses than singular group do, with New Orleans heading cities with a largest share of singular women who possess and occupy households.

Following New Orleans, where over 27% of homes are owned by singular females, Miami and Birmingham, Ala., also have high percentages of eccentric women owning and occupying homes, with shares of 26.8% and 25.4%, respectively.

Single males owned a biggest share of properties in Oklahoma City, yet their cut was still fewer than singular womanlike homeowners in a area. In Oklahoma City, singular group owned 16% of homes, compared to singular women’s share of 24%.

Of a nation’s tip cities, Miami saw a largest gender opening between singular womanlike and singular masculine homeowners, that was a 12.59 commission indicate difference. Of a 1.25 million owner-occupied households in a 305, singular group possess 14.22%.

Single males possess a fewest shares of homes in Dallas.

The LendingTree news was formed on an research of a Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey, with singular homeowners being tangible as singular females or males vital in owner-occupied houses.

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Not Just the Season; MBA Predicts New Home Sales Down Sharply

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) added
a little more evidence to the pile indicating a rather rapid slow-down in the
housing market.
  MBA’s Builder
Application Survey (BAS) data for November shows mortgage applications for
newly constructed home purchases falling by 14 percent compared to
October.  The MBA data is not adjusted to
account for seasonal variations, and while sales nearly always decline this
time of year, applications were also down 11 percent compared to November 2017.

Based on the survey data and assumptions about
market coverage and other factors, MBA estimates new home
sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 627,000 units in
November. This is down 6.8 percent from the October estimate of 673,000 units.

On an unadjusted basis the
estimate is for 45,000 new single-family sales during the month, a 15.1 percent
decrease from 53,000 sales in October.

“By our estimates, new home sales fell almost 7 percent in November, and were
about 5 percent lower than a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice
President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Despite a still-strong job
market and recent declines in mortgage rates, affordability challenges continue
to hold back sales activity, as wage growth still lags behind home-price
growth. Additionally, recent stock market volatility and some economic
uncertainty likely also contributed to the pullback in home sales in November.”

MBA estimates that 69.7 percent of the purchase mortgage applications were for conventional
and 17.3 percent went to FHA.  Applications for VA loans accounted for 12.3 percent and RHS/USDA loans for 0.7 percent. The average loan
size decreased from $331,732 in October to $326,037 in November.

MBA’s Builder Application Survey tracks application volume from
mortgage subsidiaries of home builders across the country. Official new home
sales estimates are conducted by the Census Bureau on a monthly basis. In that
data, sales are recorded at contract signing, which is typically coincident
with the mortgage application.  November new
home sales data will be reported on Thursday, December 27.

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DEC. 19: Speaker Ryan to Deliver Farewell Address at Library of Congress

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Congress Passes Sexual Harassment Reform

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Zillow to begin buying houses in California, North Carolina

It seems to be all about expansion these days for Zillow.

The online real estate giant recently got into the mortgage business with its acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America. Zillow has also been growing its direct buyer business, Zillow Offers, wherein the company is buying houses directly from sellers, making whatever improvements are necessary, then listing the home for sale.

Zillow Offers launched in Phoenix in April, and is also available in Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Denver.

And the company will soon be buying houses in California and North Carolina.

Zillow announced this week that it is expanding its direct buyer program to Riverside, California, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Zillow actually announced earlier this year that it planned to expand to North Carolina, but the service is now officially available to homeowners in Charlotte. And soon, the service will be available in Raleigh as well, Zillow said.

“We couldn’t be more excited to bring Zillow Offers to our first North Carolina market today,” said Zillow Brand President Jeremy Wacksman. “Selling a home can be extremely stressful – it’s one of the largest financial transactions many people will make in their lifetime. Zillow Offers alleviates some of that stress and uncertainty so home sellers can move onto the next stage of their life.”

As of this week, potential home sellers in the Charlotte area will be able to request a free, no-obligation cash offer for their home from Zillow. If the seller accepts the offer, they then pick a closing date that works best for them.

Zillow then takes possession of the home, does some light renovation or clean-up, then sells its, presumably for a profit.

What makes Zillow’s direct buying program different from others in the space is that it does not cut real estate agents out of the process.

According to Zillow, a local agent will represent Zillow in the purchase and sale of each home, which will enable agents to earn commission on the purchase and sale.

In the Charlotte market, The Redbud Group at Keller Williams SouthPark will be representing Zillow in all its transactions, the company said.

“Getting the chance to work with Zillow as they begin buying and selling homes in Charlotte was an opportunity we didn’t want to miss,” said Trent Corbin, founder of The Redbud Group. “The real estate market is constantly changing, and Zillow understands the value of working with real estate agents to make the home selling process as simple and stress-free as possible. We’re very excited to represent Zillow in the Charlotte market.”

Zillow is also partnering with several local brokerages to help the brokerages acquire new leads from “motivated” sellers who do not accept Zillow’s offer. Basically, if a seller chooses to reject Zillow’s offer, the site will then connect them with certain agents to represent them in their home sale.

The four brokerages partnering with Zillow in Charlotte to be connected with those home sellers are Premier Team at RE/MAX Executive, Century 21 Vanguard, Stephen Cooley Real Estate Group – Keller Williams, and IDEAL Realty.

Additionally, Zillow announced that it has hired Jeff Gibel to serve as its general manager in Charlotte. In this role, Gibel will run the day-to-day operations for Zillow Offers in North Carolina. 

Beyond officially launching in Charlotte, Zillow also said that it will be launching in Riverside in early 2019. That will mark the program’s expansion in California.

Wacksman said the company “can’t wait” to start buying homes in Riverside. The company did not disclose what brokerages will be helping with its California expansion, and will likely announce those when it officially begins buying and selling in the market at some point in the next few months.

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Finance of America Mortgage settles FHA mortgage fraud lawsuit for $14.5 million

Finance of America Mortgage, a Blackstone portfolio company, has agreed to pay the U.S. government $14.5 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit involving mortgage fraud.

The payment settles the claim that Gateway Funding Diversified Mortgage Services, one of several companies FAM acquired in 2015, knowingly originated and underwrote deficient mortgage loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration in violation of the False Claims Act.

As a direct endorsement lender participating in the FHA’s loan program, Gateway was required to follow specific underwriting guidelines, maintain a quality control program and report deficient loans to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But according to the Department of Justice, Gateway failed to audit all early-payment default loans as required, and when it did perform an audit, it did not act on calls from compliance regarding concerns about the quality of these loans.

The lawsuit alleged that when Gateway team members alerted executives that the lender’s loans had a high default rate, and that specific branches and underwriters were displaying “a pattern of poor performance,” nothing was done to address the problem.

Gateway admitted that it did not adhere to HUD’s self-reporting requirement for deficient loans, and acknowledged it approved loans for FHA insurance that were not eligible. As a result, HUD incurred significant losses when those loans defaulted and insurance payments were made to Gateway.

“Gateway misrepresented that its federally insured loans met HUD’s quality standards, harming borrowers who were left underwater on their homes and taxpayers who backed the mortgages,” said United States Attorney Grant Jaquith. “We are committed to holding mortgage lenders accountable when they abuse government programs for their own gain.”

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Mr. Cooper hires restructuring expert as new CFO

Mr. Cooper has hired Christopher Marshall to take over as chief financial officer. He will succeed Amar Patel, who has served as interim CFO since March 2017.

Marshall is the co-founder and former CFO of Capital Bank Financial, where he worked from 2009 until the bank was acquired by Horizon National Capital last year.

Marshall took Capital Bank Financial from a start-up to a thriving bank with $10 billion in assets and a market capitalization of $2.2 billion, guiding it through several community bank acquisitions and a successful IPO.

Chris MarshallPrior to that, Marshall worked as chief restructuring officer and senior advisor to the CEO at GMAC and as CFO at Fifth Third Bancorp.

He was also a member of the management operating committee at Bank of America, where he also served as CFO of the Consumer Products Group and COO of the Global Consumer and Small Business Bank.

“We’re excited to welcome Chris to Mr. Cooper,” said Chairman and CEO Jay Bray. “Chris’ vast financial, operational and strategic experience will be invaluable to the company as we work to deliver more value to shareholders, customers and team members.”

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Redfin: Housing inventory accelerates to 3-year high

In November, housing inventory climbed 5%, marking its fastest growth in the last three years, according to new data from Redfin.

Last month, U.S. home sale prices rose 3.3% year-over-year, coming in at a median of $298,800. In fact, November was the third consecutive month of annual home price gains below 4%, following a 77-month long streak of annual home price gains surpassing 4%.

Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said the tide has turned.

“Sellers are now competing for buyers, but they haven’t all realized it yet. Sellers who have adjusted their price expectations downward are still finding plenty of willing buyers,” Fairweather continued. “Sellers holding out for high prices are contributing to declining home sales and growing inventories.”

However, Fairweather said there are a few signs that buyers are likely to reward their patience.

According to Redfin’s analysis, the number of completed home sales retreated 8.3%, falling at the fastest rate in over two years. Furthermore, 65 of the 75 largest metro areas that Redfin tracks experienced a decrease in home sales.

These are the only metros that saw more than a 5% year-over-year increase in sales in November:

  • New Orleans increased 9.4%
  • Tampa increased 7.2%
  • Long Island increased 7.1%
  • Orlando increased 6.5%

Redfin explains that the balance of supply and demand has shifted back into the buyers’ favor, as home sales fall back and the number of homes on the market increase.

In November, the number of homes for sale increased 4.9% year-over-year, reaching the highest level of inventory growth since June 2015. Notably, this is the eighth consecutive month that figure has increased from the prior year, according to the report.

These were the metros where inventory skyrocketed:

  • San Jose increased 123.2%
  • Seattle increased 96.5%
  • Oakland increased 60.3%

According to the company, the typical home that sold in November went under contract in a median of 44 days, which is two days faster than last year. Of these homes, 19% sold above the list price, decreasing from 22.2% the same time last year. Lastly, Redfin reports the share of homes with a price drop declined 24.6%.

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Who watches the Watchmen? Former senior FDIC employee found guilty of stealing confidential bank documents

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is one of the nation’s top banking regulators, but one of the agency’s former senior employees faces 20 years in jail for stealing confidential documents from the world’s largest banks while trying to get a job at those very same banks.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Allison Aytes was found guilty earlier this week on both counts of an indictment charging her with theft of government property in the possession of the FDIC.

Court documents show that Aytes was a senior employee in the FDIC’s Office of Complex Financial Institutions in New York until she resigned from that position in September 2015.

The FDIC’s Office of Complex Financial Institutions was created after the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and charged with overseeing the orderly bankruptcy of the world’s largest financial institutions, should one of those companies fail.

As part of Dodd-Frank, each of those banks is required to file a resolution plan for the bank should it fail. Those plans are called “living wills,” which include a series of documents with confidential information about the bank, including its assets, business operations, data center locations, critical vendors, agreements with other banks and potential weaknesses or other deficiencies that pose risk during a time of financial crisis.

Aytes worked in the office that oversaw those plans and used her position to gain access to those sensitive documents, all while attempting to get a job at one of those banks.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in August 2015, Aytes used the computer in her office to review job listings and apply for jobs with banks that filed living wills with the FDIC.

Then, on Aug. 27, 2015, just one day after being contacted about a possible position with one of those banks, Aytes accessed a secure FDIC database and printed living will information for the bank in question.

Aytes then resigned her position with the FDIC on Sept. 16, 2015. A later review of her activity conducted by the FDIC showed that on her last day of work, Aytes copied a number of files from the FDIC network onto external USB drives, including living wills for several banks where Aytes had been seeking employment.

“Aytes embezzled sensitive and confidential information about banks that was the property of the United States government shortly before she resigned from the FDIC to seek job opportunities at those very same banks,” United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said.  “With today’s verdict, Aytes has been held accountable for abusing her position of trust for personal gain.” 

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Aytes faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

“This case makes clear that those who compromise sensitive FDIC information will be held accountable for their actions,” FDIC Inspector General Jay Lerner said. “We are committed to investigating such breaches of public trust, and to protecting the integrity of confidential data maintained by the agency.”

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Here is everything you need to know about the HW Tech100 Award

On December 5, 2018, HousingWire opened up nominations for our 2019 HW Tech100 Award with our special early bird pricing and the unveiling of our new advisory committee.

HW Tech100 nominations are open until January 25, 2019, but the early bird special pricing ends on December 31, 2018.

And nominations have already started coming in. But along with those nominations have also come a flood of questions. We compiled the top questions below, along with the answers, to make sure you’re ready to submit the best nomination you can.

Make sure you register here before the early bird pricing ends.

I won last year, can I nominate again?

This is by far our most frequently asked question, and the answer is YES! However, we do have a few suggestions for you. We don’t want to pick your same technology that’s doing the same thing it did last year. We want to see something new. Do you have a new tech? Did you add new capabilities to the existing tech? Is it changing the market in new ways? We want to hear about it!

I didn’t win last year, can I nominate again?

Again, yes, but we have some suggestions. If you didn’t win last year it could have been for several reasons – and not necessarily because your tech isn’t the best out there. There was a lot of competition, so maybe it was close but didn’t quite make it, so try again, this might be your year! It could also be because you didn’t put much information in your nomination form. It’s hard for us to see your technology is the best if you don’t show us how. Spend more time on your nomination form – it’ll pay off!

What do you judge the winners on?

New this year, we have an external committee that advises HousingWire on the winners. These are experts from various sectors of the housing industry that use their background and expertise to decide which companies have the best tech. We also have an internal editorial board that makes the final decision on the winners. These decisions are purely editorial in context and separate from all other HW operations. And while I can’t give away the secret sauce, I can give you a quick pointer. Focus on how your tech impacts the industry. We know you love your tech – or you wouldn’t have created it! – but how does it improve the rest of the housing industry?

Does the technology have to be available to third parties?

This is a good question, as it was previously a requirement. However, this year, we did away with that, so the answer is NO. If it is tech that solves a problem, the source doesn’t matter. Third party, public, private, internal – we want to see them all!

What does the new advisory committee do?

This year, for the first time ever, nominees will be reviewed by an advisory committee, made up of some of the best minds in the housing industry. This committee will then advise HousingWire’s internal award review board of potential finalists before the winners are selected. Click here to see who is on this committee.

Have another question not on this list? Feel free to reach out to me at I’d love to answer all of your questions. And don’t forget to nominate your company for the award here.

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