Digital, Broker, Capital Mkts. Products; FHA and Down Payment News

In honor of World Population Day today, the Census Bureau tells us that the world’s population will hit 7.58 billion this month. But why believe that? Or anything “experts,” like actuaries or More »

Mortgage Rates Mixed Follow Fed Chair Testimony

Mortgage rates were mixed today following the much-anticipated congressional testimony by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.  Although these testimonies are regularly scheduled events (twice a year), they can offer important insights into the evolution of More »

Tracy Morgan’s ESPYs opening monologue slammed by viewers

Tracy Morgan hosted the 2019 ESPY Awards, Wednesday night. Thanks to his opening monologue the comedian was trending on Twitter, but probably not for the reason he hoped. The vast majority of viewers More »

Federer-Nadal Wimbledon tickets vault to staggering costs

They’re two of the greatest players in the history of tennis, the stars of perhaps the finest match in the sport’s history. When Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal meet Friday in the More »

MBS RECAP: Bonds Successfully Run Gauntlet of Big Ticket Events

There was a lot that could have gone wrong for the bond market today, given the confluence of big-ticket events (Powell testimony, 10yr auction, Fed minutes, technical momentum shifts).  Not only did More »

Louisiana braces for possible weekend hurricane

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A potential tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico presents twin troubles for parts of southeast Louisiana — the possibility that a high Mississippi River will be lapping at the tops of levees this weekend, and a danger of flash floods like the one that unexpectedly walloped New Orleans on Wednesday.

The Gulf of Mexico disturbance that dumped as much as 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain in parts of metro New Orleans in a three-hour span was forecast to strengthen into a tropical depression Thursday, a tropical storm called Barry Thursday night, and, possibly, a weak hurricane by Friday.

Forecasters said Louisiana could see up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain by Monday, with isolated areas receiving as much as 18 inches (46 centimeters). And the storm’s surge at the mouth of the Mississippi could also mean a river that’s been running high for months will rise even higher.

Mississippi and Texas were also at risk of torrential rains.

New Orleans got an early taste Wednesday of what may be in store. News outlets said a tornado may have been responsible for wind damage to one home, while floodwaters invaded some downtown hotels and businesses as streets became small rivers that accommodated kayakers. The floods paralyzed rush-hour traffic and stalled cars around the city.

And it all happened fast.

“I must have got to work about a quarter to 7,” said Donald Smith, who saw his restaurant on Basin Street flood for the third time this year. “By 7:15, water was everywhere.”

It brought memories of a 2017 flash flood that exposed major problems — and led to major personnel changes — at the Sewerage and Water Board, which oversees street drainage. City officials said the pumping system that drains streets was at full capacity. But the immense amount of rain in three hours would overwhelm any system, said Sewerage and Water Board director Ghassan Korban.

Threats of a high Mississippi prompted officials in Plaquemines Parish at Louisiana’s southeastern tip to order evacuations of some areas to begin Thursday. A voluntary evacuation was called on Grand Isle, the vulnerable barrier island community south of New Orleans. Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a statewide emergency in light of the gathering storm.

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A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans said the agency was not expecting widespread overtopping of the levees, but there are concerns for areas south of the city. The weather service expects the river to rise to 20 feet (6 meters) by Saturday morning at a key gauge in the New Orleans area, which is protected by levees 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.6 meters) high.

The Corps was working with local officials down river to identify any low-lying areas and reinforce them, he said. He cautioned that the situation may change as more information arrives.

“We’re confident the levees themselves are in good shape. The big focus is height,” spokesman Ricky Boyett said.

Edwards said National Guard troops and high-water vehicles would be positioned all over the state in advance of more heavy rain.

“The entire coast of Louisiana is at play in this storm,” the governor said.

New Orleans officials have asked residents to keep at least three days of supplies on hand and to keep their neighborhood storm drains clear so water can move quickly.

As the water from Wednesday morning’s storms receded, people worried about what might come next.

Tanya Gulliver-Garcia was trying to make her way home during the deluge. Flooded streets turned a 15-minute drive into an ordeal lasting more than two hours.

“This is going to be a slow storm … That’s what I’m concerned about,” she said.

Tourists Floyd and Missy Martin of Raleigh, North Carolina, were trying to make the best of it at a store with puddles on the floor where they were buying an umbrella, two bottles of merlot, chips and peanuts.

“We could drown out our sorrows or make an adventure of it,” Floyd Martin joked.


Associated Press reporters Chevel Johnson and Janet McConnaughey contributed to this story.

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MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd (MGCLF: OTCQB) | Quarterly Report

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House passes bill to clarify securitization eligibility for VA loans

The House passed a bill Tuesday that adjusts the seasoning requirements determining when a loan backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs can be securitized into a Ginnie Mae pool.

The Protect Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act of 2019, also known as H.R. 1988, allows the 210-day seasoning period established in an earlier rulemaking to begin on the due date of the first payment of the initial loan.

Previous requirements began the seasoning period on the date when the borrower makes the first payment. But the problem with that was that if the loan is refinanced, the lender doing that refinance is not likely to know that date unless it also originated the original loan, which is not always the case.

The new bill solves that problem readjusting the beginning of the seasoning period.

The Mortgage Bankers Association lobbied lawmakers to pass this bill in order to fix this glitch, which was set forth in the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act that was signed into law last May.

The MBA pushed for change, northing that it would give lenders greater compliance certainty and ensure that loans are not pooled in error.

The bill – which was introduced by Rep. David Scott, D-GA, and Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-NY – was approved in the House, while another version, S. 1749, was approved in the Senate.

It must be signed by President Donald Trump before it becomes law.


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Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates stabilize as U.S. markets respond to improving economic conditions

This week, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.75%, holding steady from the previous week, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Once again, the rate remains significantly higher than the same time period in 2018 when it averaged 4.52%.

Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said while rates have moderated, we’re still at near three-year lows, which is good news for buyers looking to purchase a home before school starts.

“The recent stabilization in mortgage rates reflects modestly improving U.S. economic data and a more accommodative tone from the Federal Reserve to respond to the rising downside economic risk from trade tensions and soft global economic data,” Khater said. “On the housing front, the latest weekly purchase application data suggests homebuyer demand continues to rise, which is consistent with the slowly improving real estate data from the last two months.”

The 15-year FRM averaged 3.22% this week, slightly up from last week’s 3.18%. This time last year, the 15-year FRM came in at 4.02%.

Lastly, the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.46%, inching forward from last week’s rate of 3.45%. This rate is significantly lower than the same time period in 2018 when it averaged 3.86%.

The image below highlights this week’s changes:

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Goldman Sachs all but guarantees the Federal Reserve is about to cut interest rates

Analysts from Goldman Sachs told clients this week that it’s basically a done deal that the Federal Reserve will cut its benchmark interest rate later this month.

In the report, the Goldman Sachs analysts say that there’s a 90% chance of a rate cut coming out of the next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which is set for July 30-31.

According to the analysts, there’s a 75% chance the FOMC cuts rates by 25 basis points (0.25%), a 15% chance the FOMC cuts rates by 50 basis points (0.50%), and just a 10% chance that the FOMC leaves rates unchanged.

If the Fed does cut rates, it would be the first time it’s lowered the benchmark rate since it began raising rates in late 2015 after nine years of a 0% federal funds rate.

Since then, the FOMC has raised rates on several occasions, but has left rates unchanged throughout 2019, having increased the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to a targeted range of 2.25% to 2.5% in December 2018.

But as this year has gone on, the Federal Reserve began to signal that a rate cut may be coming at some point this year.

After last month’s FOMC meeting, the Fed removed the word “patient” from its statement, indicating that a rate cut may be coming as soon as July. In the statement, Fed officials said they now viewed economic activity progressing at a “moderate” rate rather than the “solid” pace cited at their last meeting.

According to Goldman Sachs, new information released this week by the Fed coupled with this week’s Congressional appearance by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has moved the likelihood of a rate cut later this month to a near certainty.

Previously, Goldman Sachs analysts pegged the odds of a July rate hike at 75%.

“The minutes of the June FOMC meeting (which were released Wednesday) indicated a stronger case for rate cuts, with participants noting that uncertainty and downside risks had increased ‘significantly,’” Goldman Sachs wrote in its report.

“‘Many’ participants said that inflation expectations could remain ‘somewhat below’ the 2% target, and that continued weakness in inflation could to lead to further deterioration in expectations. ‘Many’ judged that cuts in the near term would be warranted should uncertainty continue to weigh on the economic outlook, while only a ‘few’ stated that easier policy risked overheating the labor markets and fueling financial imbalances,” Goldman Sachs continued. “While the June minutes also revealed that the staff delivered a high-level presentation on the possibility of an overnight repo facility, a consensus on its ‘potential net benefits’ has not yet been reached.”

Beyond that, Goldman Sachs cites Powell’s remarks before Congress as a further indication that a rate cut is coming.

“Chair Powell offered a somewhat upbeat baseline view of growth but nonetheless argued that uncertainty ‘continues to weigh’ on the outlook,” Goldman Sachs’ analysts wrote. “In our view, this was a strong signal that the trade truce with China and the strong June job reports have not derailed the case for a July rate cut.”

The analysts also wrote that Powell’s continued emphasis on “muted” inflation and Powell’s suggestion that in an economic environment like the current one, “crosscurrents” like slower global growth or trade policy uncertainty, are likely indications that more accommodative monetary policy, meaning lower interest rates, is on the way.

Given those factors, Goldman Sachs analysts say the smart bet is to expect a cut in July and another in September.

As for the impact of a Fed rate cut on mortgage interest rates, according to the newest data from Freddie Mac, rates are currently holding steady below 4%, as investors seem to believe that the Fed could soon ease its monetary policy.

“The recent stabilization in mortgage rates reflects modestly improving U.S. economic data and a more accommodative tone from the Federal Reserve to respond to the rising downside economic risk from trade tensions and soft global economic data,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said. “On the housing front, the latest weekly purchase application data suggests homebuyer demand continues to rise, which is consistent with the slowly improving real estate data from the last two months.”

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Calyx appoints new national sales consultant

Calyx, a 2019 HousingWire Tech100 winner, recently appointed Robert Shumake as the company’s new national sales consultant.

In this new role, Shumake will be responsible for developing sales strategies for the company’s cloud-based digital loan origination system, Calyx Path.

“We are delighted to welcome Robert to the Calyx team,” Calyx Director of Marketing Patrice Power said. “He is an accomplished sales executive with a client-focused, highly consultative approach. His extensive experience in the mortgage and technology space means he truly understands our customers’ challenges and how to best address them.”

Shumake is an industry veteran with nearly 20 years of sales experience in the banking, mortgage banking and financial technology industries. Prior to joining Calyx’s team, Shumake was an account executive, digital mortgage at eOriginal, a provider of digital transaction management solutions.

Additionally, Shumake served ClosingCorp as a vice president of national sales. He also held sales positions at First Mortgage Corporation, Home Savings of America, and Washington Mutual.

“I am excited to join Calyx as a member of the Path sales team and honored to work for such a well-respected company, with a long-standing presence in the mortgage industry,” Shumake said. “Path is just one example of how Calyx continues to innovate. The LOS can accommodate true parallel workflows and does not require expensive customizations to fit into a lender’s process. This out-of-the-box configurability provides huge efficiency and ROI gains for Path users. I am thrilled to be a part of Path’s, as well as Calyx’s, future growth.”

Looking to get hired? HousingWire wants to help. Our new service, HousingJobs, lists the latest gigs in the housing industry for loan officers, underwriters, processors, loan servicers, and tech and marketing pros.

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Average debt rates sojourn stable, though some-more drops are likely

While debt rates remained unvaried this past week, serve drops are probable as signs from a Federal Reserve indicate to a short-term rate cut during a subsequent meeting.

“While rates have moderated, we’re still during scarcely three-year lows, that is good news for buyers looking to squeeze a home before propagandize starts,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s arch economist, pronounced in a press release. “The new stabilization in debt rates reflects modestly improving U.S. mercantile information and a some-more accommodative tinge from a Federal Reserve to respond to a rising downside mercantile risk from trade tensions and soothing tellurian mercantile data.

“On a housing front, a latest weekly squeeze focus information suggests homebuyer direct continues to rise, that is unchanging with a solemnly improving genuine estate information from a final dual months.”

The 30-year fixed-rate debt averaged 3.75% for a week finale Jul 11, unchanged from final week, according to Freddie Mac. A year ago during this time, a 30-year fixed-rate debt averaged 4.53%.

The 15-year fixed-rate debt averaged 3.22%, adult from final week when it averaged 3.18%. A year ago during this time, a 15-year fixed-rate debt averaged 4.02%.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate debt averaged 3.46% with an normal 0.4 point, adult from final week when it averaged 3.45%. A year ago during this time, a five-year adjustable-rate debt averaged 3.86%.

Zillow’s rate tracker showed a slight boost this past week after a Bureau of Labor Statistics practice news came in stronger than expected.

“Following a muted news final month, Friday’s jobs figures severely exceeded attention expectations and, during slightest momentarily, reduced concerns about a appearing mercantile slowdown,” Matthew Speakman, an mercantile researcher during Zillow, pronounced in a press release. “The news also non-stop adult a probability that a Fed would take a reduction assertive proceed to financial process than it had formerly indicated, presumably watchful to cut a overnight lending rate.

“However, in testimony that began on Jul 10, Chairman [Jerome] Powell asserted that notwithstanding a flushed jobs figures, a Fed believes a mercantile opinion has not softened in new weeks — a extended spirit that a executive bank still skeleton to revoke rates during an arriving meeting. As a result, debt rates are staid to tumble in a entrance days and are expected to stay nearby their current, multiyear lows for a evident term.”

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Mortgage Rates Mixed Follow Fed Chair Testimony

Mortgage rates were mixed today following the much-anticipated congressional testimony by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.  Although these testimonies are regularly scheduled events (twice a year), they can offer important insights into the evolution of thought at the Fed.  This depends on the timing of various market movements and Fed communications, of course, as well as the questions asked by Congress.

In today’s case, investors were very interested to hear what Powell thought of the market’s expectations for 3 rate cuts in 2019 and whether last week’s strong jobs report changed anything.  He didn’t really get a direct question about the rate cut outlook, but he was unequivocal in saying the jobs report would not have an impact on the outlook.  Perhaps more importantly, in the prepared remarks released in advance of the testimony, Powell completely avoided any attempt to push back on market expectations for rate cuts.  That alone helped the bond market (which dictates mortgage rates) to begin the day in stronger territory despite spending the overnight trading session in much weaker territory.

The net effect is a landscape of lender rate sheets that are largely unchanged from yesterday.  If there’s a leaning, it’s toward slightly higher rates due to the bond market weakness that was in place before Powell’s speech was released.  If current bond market levels are still intact by tomorrow morning, the average lender would likely be offering slightly better terms. In the bigger picture, that’s not necessarily a safe bet, however, just a possibility.  Investors remain on edge for a bigger potential pull-back in rates, simply because they’ve had such a strong run in 2019.  Either way, it will require a bias in upcoming economic reports to cause the biggest possible moves, for better or worse.

Loan Originator Perspective

Bond markets digested Fed Chairman Powell’s testimony and a treasury auction today, closing with gains that put us even for yesterday/today.  Powell speaks to US Senate Thursday, but doubt he’ll have any major news.  We’re still right at the top of recent rate ranges, the question is whether we bounce down, or break above that range.  I’m locking most loans closing within 45 days. –Ted Rood, Senior Originator

Today’s Most Prevalent Rates

  • 30YR FIXED – 3.875%
  • FHA/VA – 3.5%
  • 15 YEAR FIXED – 3.5-3.625% 
  • 5 YEAR ARMS –  3.375-3.75% depending on the lender

Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations

  • Early 2019 saw a rapid reevaluation of big-picture trends in rates and in markets in general

  • The Federal Reserve has been a key player, and while they aren’t the ones pulling the global economic strings, their response (and even their EXPECTED response) to the economy has helped rates fall more quickly than they otherwise might.

  • Based on the Fed’s laundry list of concerns, the bond market (which determines rates) will be watching economic data closely, both at home and abroad, as well as trade-related concerns. The stronger the data and trade relations, the more rates could rise, while weaker data and trade wars will lead to new long-term lows.  
  • Rates discussed refer to the most frequently-quoted, conforming, conventional 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers among average to well-priced lenders.  The rates generally assume little-to-no origination or discount except as noted when applicable.  Rates appearing on this page are “effective rates” that take day-to-day changes in upfront costs into consideration.

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Tracy Morgan’s ESPYs opening monologue slammed by viewers

Tracy Morgan hosted the 2019 ESPY Awards, Wednesday night. Thanks to his opening monologue the comedian was trending on Twitter, but probably not for the reason he hoped. The vast majority of viewers were not fans of Morgan’s performance.

A significant portion of Morgan’s material centered on the large settlement he got from Walmart, after his car was struck by a Walmart truck leaving him critically injured. The event took place 5 years ago, and put the focus of the show on Morgan rather than the athletes.

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Some of the other jokes seemed out of touch with today’s social climate. “Everyone’s into fantasy football but when Janet Jackson’s boob popped out, to me, that was fantasy football,” said Morgan. He then discussed how weird Adam Levine’s nipples look.

Morgan appeared to struggle with reading from the teleprompter at times, impacting his delivery and performance. Most of the reaction shots from the live audience showed athletes sporting uncomfortable smiles or blank expressions. But as the monologue dragged on more laughter could be heard, if not seen. Some viewers noted the laughter was more a result of sound technicians adding laughs, rather than Morgan earning them.

Ultimately, comedy is subjective. That being said, social media reactions are often a good indicator of how something is received. And in this case, Morgan’s opening monologue was not well received.

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William ‘blames Meghan’ for brother Harry’s ‘overboard’ parenting: report

Are Meghan and Harry going “overboard” with their efforts to maintain a bit of privacy around their newborn son?

According to one royal insider, that’s what Prince William and Kate Middleton think. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex raised eyebrows in Britain when they announced that the christening of their son, Archie, would be a private affair and that they’d be keeping the identities of his godparents private, both of which were a departure from how Will and Kate went about things with their three children.

While “the Queen accepted Harry and Meghan’s decision to keep the event private” and cap the guest list to an intimate 25 or so guests, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge “weren’t happy about it,” an insider told Us Weekly.

SEE ALSO: There’s a reason why Meghan and Harry aren’t revealing who Archie’s godparents are

Their decision to keep details under wraps around Archie’s christening isn’t the first time that Meghan and Harry have strayed from royal routine. While Duchess Kate famously debuted all three of her babies on the steps of the Lindo Wing just hours after giving birth, Meghan and Harry announced ahead of their son’s arrival that they would wait to debut their newborn on their own time. (They ended up waiting nearly 48 hours before holding a controlled photo-call inside Windsor Castle back in May.)

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Though sources say that the new parents are looking to instill privacy in an effort to give him a “normal family environment,” as far as his older brother is concerned, Harry and Meghan’s efforts to maintain such privacy around their son, despite being high-profile members of the royal family, have gotten out of hand.

“William thinks his brother is going overboard keeping Archie out of the spotlight,” the Us Weekly insider said, adding that the future king reportedly “blames Meghan” for the trend.

SEE ALSO: Meghan and Archie make their first joint public appearance together

While their different approach to parenting in the face of public scrutiny may not be William’s cup of tea — or constant Meghan critic Piers Morgan’s, for that matter — disagreement from the rest of their family isn’t going to stop Meghan and Harry from doing things their own way.

“This is not a couple that will conform if they don’t feel it’s right for them,” a People insider explained. “It’s that simple.”

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