Tag Archives: mortgage

Negative Interest Rates Spread To Mortgage Bonds

(John Rubino) There are trillions of dollars of bonds in the world with negative yields – a fact with which future historians will find baffling.

Copenhagen Mint Images/Getty Images

Until now those negative yields have been limited to the safest types of bonds issued by governments and major corporations. But this week a new category of negative-yielding paper joined the party: mortgage-backed bonds.

Bankers Stunned as Negative Rates Sweep Across Danish Mortgages

(Investing.com) – At the biggest mortgage bank in the world’s largest covered-bond market, a banker took a few steps away from his desk this week to make sure his eyes weren’t deceiving him.

As mortgage-bond refinancing auctions came to a close in Denmark, it was clear that homeowners in the country were about to get negative interest rates on their loans for all maturities through to five years, representing multiple all-time lows for borrowing costs.

“During this week’s auctions, there were three times when I had to stand back a little from the screen and raise my eyebrows somewhat,” said Jeppe Borre, who analyzes the mortgage-bond market from a unit of the Nykredit group that dominates Denmark’s $450 billion home-loan industry.

For one-year adjustable-rate mortgage bonds, Nykredit’s refinancing auctions resulted in a negative rate of 0.23%. The three-year rate was minus 0.28%, while the five-year rate was minus 0.04%.

The record-low mortgage rates, which don’t take into account the fees that homeowners pay their banks, are the latest reflection of the global shift in the monetary environment as central banks delay plans to remove stimulus amid concerns about economic growth.

Denmark has had negative rates longer than any other country. The central bank in Copenhagen first pushed its main rate below zero in the middle of 2012, in an effort to defend the krone’s peg to the euro. The ultra-low rate environment has dragged down the entire Danish yield curve, with households in the country paying as little as 1% to borrow for 30 years. That’s considerably less than the U.S. government.

The spread of negative yields to mortgage-backed bonds is both inevitable and ominous. Inevitable because the current amount of negative-yielding debt has not ignited the kind of rip-roaring boom that overindebted countries think they need, which, since interest rates are just about their only remaining stimulus tool, requires them to find other kinds of debt to push into negative territory. Ominous because, as the world discovered in the 2000s, mortgages are a cyclical instrument, doing well in good times and defaulting spectacularly in bad. Giving bonds based on this kind of paper a negative yield appears to guarantee massive losses in the next housing bust.

Meanwhile, this is year ten of an expansion – which means the next recession is coming fairly soon. During recessions, the US Fed, for instance, tends to cut short-term rates by about 5 percentage points to counter the slowdown in growth.

With Europe and much of the rest of the world already awash in negative-yielding debt

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/bfm5377_1.jpg?itok=wZzY0aC5

… this imminent slide in interest rates will turn the rest of the global financial system Danish, giving us bank accounts and bond funds that charge rather than pay, and very possibly mortgages that pay rather than charge.

Anyone who claims to know how this turns out is delusional.

Source: ZeroHedge

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The Evolution Of Mortgage Policy, 1970-1999

“A Crack in The Foundation?” Part 2: Three Decades of Red Flags — Mortgage Policy & Praxis, 1970-1999

Welcome to “A Crack in the Foundation?”, a four-part series in which Maxwell Digital Mortgage Solutions will examine the evolution of the mortgage industry and homeownership in America, with an eye on government policies and how GSEs can promote (or prohibit) periods of economic growth.

Part 2 begins at the start of the 1970s and follows the uneasy path of government policy and economic turmoil as we creep towards the end of the century. (Missed Part 1? Read it here).  This section will follow the astronomical growth in the secondary market, the mounting government pressure put on Fannie and Freddie to increase their offerings to lower- and moderate-income borrowers, as well as a widespread shift towards deregulation in the market that (spoiler alert) will prove to have disastrous consequences as the new millennium begins.

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The Evolution Of Mortgage Policy, 1930-1960

“A Crack in The Foundation?” Part 1: Fannie & Friends — The Evolution of Mortgage Policy from 1930-1960

Welcome to “A Crack in the Foundation?”, a four-part series in which Maxwell Digital Mortgage Solutions will examine the evolution of the mortgage industry and homeownership in America, with an eye on government policies and how GSEs can promote (or prohibit) periods of economic growth.

Part I starts at the turn of the 20th century and traces the establishment of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), as well as the birth of Fannie and Ginnie, to look at the inception of the modern mortgage and its impact on home ownership.

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Mortgage Applications Drop Despite Lower Mortgage Rates

Ah, the problems of trying to model residential mortgage purchase and refinancing applications. When mortgage rates fall, models predict a rise in both purchase and refinancing applications. This has left mortgage modelers dazed and confused.

But the recent Mortgage Bankers Association report, revealed that mortgage applications DROPPED 4.78% WoW despite mortgage rates dropping as well.

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Mortgage rates have been dropping since November, yet mortgage purchase applications dropped in for the latest week. Very likely this was the displacement of purchase applications was simply the “start of the year” effect after a sleepy holiday season.

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Ditto for mortgage refinancing applications. Despite mortgage rates declining. there was “start of the year” surge. But continued rate decreases have resulted in generally declining purchase applications after the surge.

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On a long term view, purchase applications have remained sedate following the financial crisis and new regulations.

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Mortgage refinancing applications remain in Death Valley.

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Perhaps there is a communications breakdown?

Source: Confounded Interest

GSE Loan Purchases Continue To Trend Down

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are bankrolling significantly fewer loans this year, reflecting the general slowdown in the residential U.S. mortgage market.

In the nine months through the third quarter, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) purchased a combined 2.47 million home loans, down 9 percent for the same nine months in 2017, the companies reported last week in quarterly reports.

The GSEs bankroll around 45 percent of all residential mortgages, according to the Urban Institute, by purchasing loans from lenders, wrapping them with a government guarantee and securitizing most of them for sale in the secondary market.

fanncountsq3The combined balance of these loans through the third quarter was $577 billion, down 7 percent from the 2017 level for the same nine months.

freddvolq3GSE funding activity has dropped for the second consecutive year.

freddcountq3The 2018 year-to-date counts and volume balances were down 16 percent and 15 percent, respectively, compared to same nine months in 2016.

During a conference call last week, Fannie Mae Chief Financial Officer Celeste Brown alluded to tough conditions for lenders. 

“At a high level, what I see is that our customers are facing a lot of headwinds in the market,” she said. “Rates are up, volumes are down, and margins are tight, so lender profitability is challenged. New housing supply is up but not all the supply has been created where it’s needed. While we do see income growth nationally, in many markets home-price growth has outstripped income growth so affordability for home buyers remains a challenge,” Brown said. 

The numbers have waned as a result of the big drop in refinancing activity. The combined GSE refinance counts totaled 909,000, down 26 percent from the 1.23 million refinance loans acquired by the GSEs through the first nine months of 2017. The GSE reports indicate that cash-out refinancing levels have remained fairly stable, whereas rate-reduction and term refinances are falling steeply. 

Meanwhile, the home-purchase market hasn’t grown at anywhere near the pace that refinance activity has been falling.The combined GSE home-purchase loan counts through the third quarter totaled 1.56 million, up 5 percent over the 2017 level.

U.S. home sales are expected to be flat this year or even decline marginally due to rising prices; a lack of affordable, entry-level homes for sale; and rising rates.

“Our expectations for housing have become more pessimistic,” Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said in October. “Rising interest rates and declining housing sentiment from both consumers and lenders led us to lower our home sales forecast over the duration of 2018 and through 2019. Meanwhile, affordability, especially for first-time home buyers, remains atop the list of challenges facing the housing market.”

Fannie Mae’s most recent forecast calls for the origination volume for the entire market to fall 10.5 percent year over year in 2018, to $1.63 trillion. Refinance volume is predicted to decline by 30 percent over the 2017 level to $454 billion. Purchase volume in 2018 will remain essentially flat with the 2017 level at $1.18 trillion, Fannie forecasts. 

Source: by Victor Whitman | Scotsman Guide

Mortgage Applications Plummet To 18-Year Lows As Rates Hit 2010 Highs

With purchase applications tumbling alongside the collapse in refinancings, the headline mortgage application data slumped to its lowest level since September 2000 last week.

This should not be a total surprise as Wells Fargo’s latest results shows the pipeline is collapsing – a forward-looking indicator on the state of the broader housing market and how it is impacted by rising rates, that was even more dire, slumping from $67BN in Q2 to $57BN in Q3, down 22% Y/Y and the the lowest since the financial crisis.

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But in the month since those results, mortgage rates have gone higher still… (this is now the biggest 2Y rise in mortgage rates since 2000)…

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Sparking further weakness in the housing market…

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And absent Christmas weeks in 2000 and 2014, this is the weakest level of mortgage applications since September 2000…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-11-07_5-14-48.jpg?itok=Te5Jq7L_

What these numbers reveal, is that the average US consumer can barely afford to take out a new mortgage at a time when rates continued to rise – if not that much higher from recent all time lows. It also means that if the Fed is truly intent in engineering a parallel shift in the curve of 2-3%, the US can kiss its domestic housing market goodbye. 

And, as famed housing-watcher Robert Shiller recently noted, the weakening housing market is similar to the last market high, just before the subprime housing bubble burst a decade ago.

The economist, who predicted the 2007-2008 crisis, told Yahoo Finance that current data shows “a sign of weakness.”

“This is a sign of weakness that we’re starting to see. And it reminds me of 2006 … Or 2005 maybe,”

Housing pivots take more time than those in the stock market, Shiller said, adding that:

“the housing market does have a momentum component and we’re seeing a clipping of momentum at this time.”

The Nobel Laureate explained:

 If the markets go down, it could bring on another recession. The housing market has been an important element of economic activity. If people start to get pessimistic about housing and pull back and don’t want to buy, there will be a drop in construction jobs and that could be a seed for another recession.” 

When reminded that 2006 predated the greatest financial crisis in a lifetime, RT notes that Shiller acknowledged that any correction would likely be far less severe.

“The drop in home prices in the financial crisis was the most severe drop in the US market since my data begin in 1890,” the Yale economist said.

“It could be that we’re primed to repeat it because it’s in our memory and we’re thinking about it but still I wouldn’t expect something as severe as the Great Financial Crisis coming on right now. There could be a significant correction or bear market, but I’m waiting and seeing now.”

Tick, tick, Mr Powell.

Source: ZeroHedge

Wells Fargo Just Reported Their Worst Mortgage Number Since The Financial Crisis

(ZeroHedge) When we reported Wells Fargo’s Q1 earnings back in April, we drew readers’ attention to one specific line of business, the one we dubbed the bank’s “bread and butter“, namely mortgage lending, and which as we then reported was “the biggest alarm” because “as a result of rising rates, Wells’ residential mortgage applications and pipelines both tumbled, sliding just shy of the post-crisis lows recorded in late 2013.”

Then, a quarter ago a glimmer of hope emerged for the America’s largest traditional mortgage lender (which has since lost the top spot to alternative mortgage originators), as both mortgage applications and the pipeline posted a surprising, if modest, rebound.

However, it was not meant to last, because buried deep in its presentation accompanying otherwise unremarkable Q3 results (modest EPS miss; revenues in line), Wells just reported that its ‘bread and butter’ is once again missing, and in Q3 2018 the amount in the all-important Wells Fargo Mortgage Application pipeline shrank again, dropping to $22 billion, the lowest level since the financial crisis.

Yet while the mortgage pipeline has not been worse in a decade despite the so-called recovery, at least it has bottomed. What was more troubling is that it was Wells’ actual mortgage applications, a forward-looking indicator on the state of the broader housing market and how it is impacted by rising rates, that was even more dire, slumping from $67BN in Q2 to $57BN in Q3, down 22% Y/Y and the the lowest since the financial crisis (incidentally, a topic we covered recently in “Mortgage Refis Tumble To Lowest Since The Financial Crisis, Leaving Banks Scrambling“).

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Meanwhile, Wells’ mortgage originations number, which usually trails the pipeline by 3-4 quarters, was nearly as bad, dropping  $4BN sequentially from $50 billion to just $46 billion. And since this number lags the mortgage applications, we expect it to continue posting fresh post-crisis lows in the coming quarter especially if rates continue to rise.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/wells%20mrg%20originations%20q3%202018.jpg?itok=r_bBgJv5

That said, it wasn’t all bad news for Wells, whose Net Interest Margin managed to post a modest increase for the second consecutive quarter, rising to $12.572 billion. This is what Wells said: “NIM of 2.94% was up 1 bp LQ driven by a reduction in the proportion of lower yielding assets, and a modest benefit from hedge ineffectiveness accounting.” On the other hand, if one reads the fine print, one finds that the number was higher by $80 million thanks to “one additional day in the quarter” (and $54 million from hedge ineffectiveness accounting), in other words, Wells’ NIM posted another decline in the quarter.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/NIM%20wfc%20q3%202018.jpg?itok=gJVsqDb3

There was another problem facing Buffett’s favorite bank: while true NIM failed to increase, deposits costs are rising fast, and in Q3, the bank was charged an average deposit cost of 0.47% on $907MM in interest-bearing deposits, nearly double what its deposit costs were a year ago.

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Just as concerning was the ongoing slide in the scandal-plagued bank’s deposits, which declined 3% or $40.1BN in Q3 Y/Y (down $2.3BN Q/Q) to $1.27 trillion. This was driven by consumer and small business banking deposits of $740.6 billion, down $13.7 billion, or 2%.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/wells%20deposits%20q3.jpg?itok=xouQsmDd

But even more concerning was the ongoing shrinkage in the company’s balance sheet, as average loans declined from $944.3BN to $939.5BN, the lowest in years, and down $12.8 billion YoY driven by “driven by lower commercial real estate loans reflecting continued credit discipline” while period-end loans slipped by $9.6BN to $942.3BN, as a result of “declines in auto loans, legacy consumer real estate portfolios including Pick-a-Pay and junior lien mortgages, as well as lower commercial real estate loans.”  This is a problem as most other banks are growing their loan book, Wells Fargo’s keeps on shrinking.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/wells%20avg%20loans%20q3%202018.jpg?itok=2z7cvTpD

And finally, there was the chart showing the bank’s overall consumer loan trends: these reveal that the troubling broad decline in credit demand continues, as consumer loans were down a total of $11.3BN Y/Y across most product groups.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/wells%20consumer%20loans%20q3%202018.jpg?itok=SH0tD3LV

What these numbers reveal, is that the average US consumer can barely afford to take out a new mortgage at a time when rates continued to rise – if not that much higher from recent all time lows. It also means that if the Fed is truly intent in engineering a parallel shift in the curve of 2-3%, the US can kiss its domestic housing market goodbye.

Source: Wells Fargo Earnings Supplement |ZeroHedge