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Daily Dose

Mortgage Rates Remain on Downward Path

In its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Freddie Mac recorded the average rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) at 4.14 percent (0.6 point), down from 4.20 percent last week. Last May, the 30-year fixed was at 3.59 percent and climbing amid speculation the Federal Reserve would soon start tapering its monthly asset purchases.

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Leading Economic Indicators Point to Impending Growth

An index measuring leading economic indicators in the United States posted its third straight increase in April, suggesting economic growth might be ready to take off in the coming months following a weak first quarter. The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index, a gauge of the near-term economic outlook, increased 0.4 percent last month to a reading of 101.4.

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Existing-Home Sales Up for First Time in 2014

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), total existing-home sales rose 1.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million in April. "Some growth was inevitable after sub-par housing activity in the first quarter, but improved inventory is expanding choices and sales should generally trend upward from this point," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

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Mortgage Banking Profits Dive 44% in 2013

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks earned an average $1,242 on each loan originated in 2013, down 43.5 percent from $2,199 the previous year. MBA's VP of industry analysis, Marina Walsh, called 2013 net production profits "respectable," even with the massive decline.

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Housing Stock Down for Fourth Straight Month

According to Zillow, more than half of metros in the U.S. currently have fewer homes for sale than last year at this time. In many metros, the company found that inventory is tightest at the lower end of the market, a common price point often desirable by first-time homebuyers.

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North Miami Mayor Indicted in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

A mayor in the Miami area has been suspended by Florida Gov. Rick Scott following a federal indictment alleging mortgage fraud. According to a report from the Miami Herald, North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau was suspended Tuesday after appearing in court to face charges related to her role in an $8 million fraud scheme.

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CitiMortgage CEO Hints at Plans to Expand Lending

In remarks captured by Bloomberg at the Mortgage Bankers Association's National Secondary Market Conference in New York, CitiMortgage CEO Jane Fraser said the company is seeking out ways to step up its presence in the mortgage market, focusing largely on the "very important" correspondent segment as other banks struggle against waning loan demand and a stringent credit environment.

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Fannie Trims Growth Forecast in Wake of Q1 Disappointment

To its credit, Fannie Mae did not expect soaring growth in the 2014 housing market in the first place. But even its hopes for modest growth have cooled as the lingering effects of a harsh winter and a combination of reduced affordability and consumer reticence regarding mortgages weigh down the national housing market.

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Mortgage Apps Up 0.9% as Interest Rates Slide

The refinance side of the mortgage market saw yet another pickup in application activity in mid-May, boosting total volumes for the third straight week. Mike Fratantoni, MBA's chief economist, said the recent downward trend in mortgage rates—which hit a six-month low last week—has helped push up demand for loans.

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The Supply and Demand of Housing

As housing metrics continue to take unexpected turns, it’s become clear by now that the current recovery has functioned unlike any other. In the company's latest Economic & Housing Market Outlook, economists Frank Nothaft and Leonard Kiefer at Freddie Mac took a look at three fundamental areas—mortgage rates, home sales, and household formations—to figure out why.

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