Category Archives: Mortgage & Real Estate

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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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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Healthy home prices to assistance accelerate credit in 2019: TransUnion

Late payments on mortgages are approaching to keep dropping and credit is approaching to sojourn clever subsequent year, in partial since housing prices sojourn healthy in many areas, according to TransUnion.

Mortgage delinquencies will trip to 1.45% by a finish of subsequent year from 1.62% this year, a association forecast.

Among other trends approaching to insist subsequent year is an boost in home equity withdrawal, according to Joe Mellman, a comparison clamp boss during TransUnion.

Increased home equity lending can make it some-more approaching that loan-to-value ratios will rise, and put a kind of downward vigour on credit that could lead to some-more delinquencies.

But since home prices are rising as equity is being withdrawn, home equity lending is putting reduction vigour on LTVs than it differently would, Mellman said. Home prices are approaching to keep climbing by 2021, according to forecasts from a SP CoreLogic Case Shiller index.

So prolonged as those cost gains don’t outstrip borrowers’ income, rising home prices are doubtful to paint a housing bubble.

“We’re not there, during slightest not nationally, nonetheless there might be internal markets where it’s removing a small frothy. These are places like San Francisco and potentially even areas of New York,” Mellman said.

But consumer debt levels might bear examination on an particular basement in a entrance year. These are historically high and if they overtake existent or destiny income they can be a concern.

Student loan debt, for example, has been behaving quite feeble in instances where borrowers destroy to graduate, he noted.

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Philadelphia home values rising. Will taxes keep rising with them?

Mike Walsh is one of many Philadelphia homeowners who schooled this year that his skill taxes would some-more than double.

But Walsh chose not to join a thousands of skill owners who appealed their new values this year 2018 — even nonetheless his annual taxation check jumped by 113%, to a sum of $4,884.

That’s given he suspicion a marketplace value that city assessors reserved to his triplex on Wharton Street was correct. The property, in South Philly’s sepulchral genuine estate marketplace and blocks from a famed cheesesteak dilemma featuring Pat’s and Geno’s, had not been reassessed given 2014.

“I only didn’t like a fact that my genuine estate taxes are going adult over 100%,” he pronounced final week. “And we don’t consider genuine estate taxes should ever go adult over 100%.”

In some other vital cities, vast taxation increases like Walsh’s are taboo given governments place caps on hikes. In New York City, for example, poignant increases are phased into taxation bills over a few years. Maryland caps a volume that an comment can arise in one year during 10%. Louisiana electorate authorized a list magnitude this year requiring that increases incomparable than 50% to be phased in over 4 years.

In Philadelphia, however, there is no extent to a volume by that assessments — a value used to calculate skill taxation bills — can boost in one year. The median value of a single-family home augmenting 10.5% in a new assessments of residential properties expelled this year.


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And distinct other counties in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia’s reassessments are not income neutral, definition that augmenting skill values meant a boost in taxation dollars for a city. City orator Mike Dunn pronounced a city and propagandize district will accept about $85 million in additional income formed on a augmenting 2019 assessments, after accounting for successful appeals and other factors. Last year’s reassessment of blurb properties was approaching to pierce in $118 million in additional taxation revenue.

The result, pronounced Robert P. Strauss, a highbrow of economics and open process during Carnegie Mellon University, is a flourishing faith in Philadelphia on a skill tax.

As skill taxation income grows, Strauss said, a city is “using reassessment kind of as a smokescreen.”

Since 2014, a city has directed to perform some-more visit assessments and consider properties during 100% of marketplace value, that is a volume during that a skill would sell. However, this year noted a initial time that all residential properties were reassessed given that new complement began.

With a new system, famous as a Actual Value Initiative, a city launched some programs to assistance struggling homeowners. They embody a bonus for owner-occupied primary residences, installment-payment plans, and taxation freezes for low-income seniors.

“It’s a unequivocally critical emanate given skill values can change unexpected and infrequently dramatically, and it’s essential for a skill taxation complement to have a approach of easing a weight on a homeowner who faces a remarkable change,” pronounced Joan Youngman, a comparison associate during a Lincoln Land Institute.

Councilman Mark Squilla, who has formerly due that comment changes be phased in, pronounced he would support a top on increases, though that would violate a state constitution’s unity proviso requiring that all properties are taxed during a same rate.

“I trust there’s still a approach to do that,” he said, “whether we do it ourselves or we do it by operative with a legislators in a state to give us a ability to do that.”

Dunn pronounced a Kenney administration believes that “capping assessments will, over time, emanate incomparable inequities in a skill taxation system” given it would change a taxation burden, withdrawal residents whose skill values did not boost to compensate a aloft taxation rate relations to their marketplace values than those with fast rising values.

How have skill taxation boundary worked out in other places?

While many states and cities do have boundary that have assisted taxpayers, experts advise that they can come with downsides.

“It’s not tough to solidify (taxes) though it’s unequivocally tough to thaw,” Youngman said. “You have to be really clever that whatever we puts in place addresses a problem with a smallest of destiny difficulties.”

Caps can change taxation burdens, and they can make it formidable for people to move, such as in California where Proposition 13 froze taxes during 1970s levels and singular increases to 2% per year. But when a home is sold, it is reassessed during marketplace value — fixation a most incomparable taxation weight on new residents or first-time homeowners.

A 2010 news by a International Association of Assessing Officers concurred that market-value assessments can emanate problems with predictability and affordability of taxes, though suggested opposite caps — recommending instead a forms of reserve nets that Philadelphia already has in place.

In some places, taxpayers pull for “truth in taxation,” Youngman said, that amounts to supervision confirmation that rising values can impact taxpayers.

“The thought is if you’re going to boost your income collections given a values go up, that underneath these manners we need to go by all a same stairs we would go by if we would change a taxation rate, … either it’s a open notice or a conference or a vote.”

Youngman pronounced experts admire Philadelphia for creation a pierce to market-value assessments in 2014. But what can be finished about a miss of top roof on how skill taxes can arise amid a success of a city’s genuine estate market?

Strict income neutrality, as is mandated for other Pennsylvania counties, might not be unsentimental given supervision costs do increase, Youngman said. But she pronounced shortening a taxation rate to some grade when there is a vast comment boost is an supposed practice.

“These wordless taxation increases where a bottom rises and you’re not only bringing in a normal boost of a few percent though we unexpected have a vast boost simply given of value changes, that’s always something to be intensely discreet about,” Youngman said.

Dunn pronounced a mayor is always open to deliberation taxation process changes while operative with city legislature on annual budgets.

“However, mandated income neutrality would bushel a city’s ability to continue to yield a turn of services that residents need and expect, as we would expected need to revoke services to compensate for rising non-discretionary costs.”

City legislature consecrated an review of Philadelphia’s Office of Property Assessment this year. It was scheduled for execution in September, though it hasn’t nonetheless been released. Jane Roh, a mouthpiece for Council President Darrell L. Clarke, pronounced a Office of Property Assessment is now reviewing a report.

If a review shows that skill assessments are accurate, Squilla said, city legislature should demeanour during shortening a taxation rate to make adult for comment increases.

“Some people would disagree that now you’re shortening a volume of income that goes into a ubiquitous account (and) you’re shortening a income that goes to a schools,” he said. “But we have to be means to change that on a backs of a residents and also a city services and a propagandize district.”


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Down payments strech 18-year high in third quarter

Intense foe among homebuyers stays as shown by a continual expansion of median down payments, according to Attom Data Solutions.

The median down remuneration on single-family homes and condos purchased with financing continues climbing, reaching a new high-water symbol given a data’s 2000 origin. The third entertain of 2018 had a median of $20,250, adult 16% year-over-year and adult 7% from the prior quarter’s $19,900.

“Despite all a signs of cooling demand, a rising down remuneration commission is justification that this housing marketplace is still utterly rival and lending standards are not almost relaxation in response to that weakening demand,” Daren Blomquist, comparison clamp boss during Attom, pronounced in a matter to NMN.

The third-quarter down remuneration figure was 7.6% of a median sales price, imprinting a top commission given a fourth entertain of 2003. It’s a arise from a 6.8% share from a year ago and final quarter’s 7.2%.

“Rising debt rates might even be call buyers to put some-more down in an bid to reduce their monthly payments and secure a some-more savoury debt-to-income ratio — both for them and for their lender,” Blomquist said.

San Jose, Calif., led all housing markets by down remuneration commission of sales cost during 24.7%, with San Francisco during 23.3% and Los Angeles right behind during 20.6%.

While median down payments strike a new high, debt originations declined annually for a fourth uninterrupted quarter. The third quarter’s 892,760 squeeze debt originations fell 2% year-over-year and 5% quarter-over-quarter.

“Rising debt rates continued to moderate direct for mortgages in a third quarter, quite refinance mortgages,” Blomquist pronounced in a press release. “There were some important exceptions to that trend, essentially in markets influenced by a hurricanes in a third entertain of 2017.”

The volume of home equity lines of credit also dropped. The third quarter’s 313,744 HELOCs was an 11% year-over-year decrease and down 14% from final quarter.

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Do reverse mortgages have occupancy issues?

Last month, the Federal Housing Administration released its Annual Report to Congress, revealing its concerns about the reverse mortgage program and its continued drain the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund.

While inflated appraisals were recently pinpointed as a contributing factor – and steps were taken to keep those in check – there may be another problem at play: occupancy issues.

When a reverse mortgage borrower vacates the property for 12 consecutive months – either because they’ve decided to move or they’ve passed away – the loan is called due and payable.

Borrowers must sign a form every year to confirm their occupancy, but without anyone physically verifying that it is, in fact, the borrower signing the form, there’s bound to be fraud.

Mike Branson, CEO of All Reverse Mortgage, said he thinks occupancy issues are alarmingly common.

All Reverse has been publishing a blog of a number of years answering public questions about reverse mortgages. Branson said they often get questions from people about non-borrowers living in a property that has a reverse mortgage.

“We field these questions almost daily,” he said. “They come up all the time.”

Branson said in some cases, the questions are from people who have a family member living in the property after the borrower has passed away. In other cases, it’s a neighbor complaining that a property with a reverse mortgage has been rented out and is falling into disrepair.

But as long as the occupant is signing that certificate every year with the borrower’s name, the loan remains in good standing – and on FHA’s books.

“I believe this is a bombshell,” said Shannon Hicks, president of Reverse Focus, whose video on HECM World recently drew attention to the scope of the issue.

“But interestingly, it’s not the bombshell that has influenced the recent program changes, those are all based on actuarial projections,” Hicks said. “But when it comes to realized claims on FHA’s insurance fund, this is a big hit…I would be surprised if FHA didn’t have the widespread abuse by non-occupied borrowers on its radar.”

While the FHA hasn’t taken steps to address this issue, it does appear to be aware of the problem.

On a call with reporters last month, FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery said the agency is concerned about non-borrowing spouses who may also be unlawfully residing in the property after the borrower passes away.

“One thing we feel strongly about – and we will have announcement on this soon – is we need a proper inventory of the occupants in those homes for HECMs, those [originated in] 2014 and earlier,” Montgomery said. “We want to do our level best to get a proper accounting of who is living in the home.”

As of now, the current system for tracking occupants includes the singing of a Certificate of Occupancy, which is sent by the servicer around the anniversary of the loan’s closing.

Gail Balettie, senior VP at reverse mortgage servicer Celink, said they give borrowers 30 days to sign and return the form.

“It’s a simple one-page form and it has to have language on it prescribed by HUD, which essentially is a warning that it’s a criminal offence to make a willfully false statement or misrepresentation to any department or agency of the U.S. government,” Balettie said.

If the first form is not returned on time, a second one is sent, and if that’s not returned, the servicer moves into action with a call campaign and a property inspection, according to the company.

“The property inspection vendor is going to knock on the door and attempt to verify the identity of the person living in the property,” Balletie said. “If they don’t answer the door, the inspector will observe whether or not the property appears to be occupied – if it contains personal belongings and furniture and if the utilities are on, and that’s what gives us a clue.”

Balletie said the vast majority of borrowers certify their occupancy without incident and that the biggest reason for default on a HECM is the death of the last remaining borrower.

But what about the potential for those certificates to be falsified by an unlawful inhabitant?

“We’ve pretty much done everything we can possibly think to do by incorporating the door knocks and the actual physical inspection of the property at the point where the borrower isn’t responding,” Balletie said. “I wish there was something else we could do.”

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