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Daily Dose

Consumer Sentiment Continues Growth Streak

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index saw its fourth straight monthly gain last month, climbing to a reading of 88.8. The final index fell in between October's final value of 86.4 and a mid-month reading of 89.4 and was once again the highest level since July 2007.

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Economist: HELOC Reset Fears Overblown

As the mortgage market prepares for bubble-vintage home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) to come out of their draw period, multiple firms have issued warnings about the imminent wave of new HELOC problems. In a new blog post, however, CoreLogic deputy chief economist Sam Khater says the impact from HELOC resets will be more like a ripple.

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HARP Sees Declining Popularity in Q3

Together, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported 389,284 refinances throughout the third quarter, according to their conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The figure compares to a total of 344,507 in the second quarter. As refinance volumes rose, the share of refinances completed through the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) fell further.

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U.S. Housing Market Tilts Back Toward Stable Ground

Freddie Mac released last week its latest Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi), revealing a 0.5 percent uptick in September to a reading of 74.4 after months of slight declines. The most recent improvement puts the index a few points short of the lower threshold for a market considered to be in "stable" territory.

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FHFA: Home Prices Up for 13th Straight Quarter

FHFA reported Tuesday that U.S. house prices, based on home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, rose 0.9 percent in the third quarter. While that does show a continuation of the growth the U.S. market has enjoyed for the past three years, the rate of growth is down from 4.5 percent compared to the third quarter of 2013.

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Mortgage Lending Suffers at Insured Banks

FDIC-insured institutions earned $38.7 billion in the third quarter of 2014, a 7.3 percent increase from a year ago, according to FDIC's latest Quarterly Banking Profile. Mortgage loans, still hampered by regulations designed to prevent a recession relapse, dropped by nearly $7 billion.

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Pending Home Sales Dip in October

NAR reported Wednesday that contract signings nationally decreased 1.1 percent last month, though they were still up 2.2 percent compared to last October. Despite the monthly drop, Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, said that contract signings have remained at a healthy pace now for six straight months.

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Median U.S. Home Price Hits Six-Year High

According to RealtyTrac, the median price of single-family homes and condos rose 2 percent to $193,000 nationwide in October. This is their highest level since the beginning of the recession in September 2008. That's also a rise of 16 percent from a year ago, though it's still 19 percent below the median peak of $237,537 that occurred in August 2006.

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