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Experts: Future for CMBS Markets Still Mixed

Even as economic uncertainty and fears of a double-dip recession continue to rile the markets, some say that commercial mortgage-backed securities, recently on a downdraft, could either slowly recover over 2011 or see a fallback. According to experts, ongoing concerns about debt crises overseas and at home could dent a rebound for the CMBS markets. Stories by Bloomberg News, Retail Traffic magazine, coupled with data from Trepp Inc. and Barclays Capital, portray gray skies for CMBS.

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Mortgage Applications Hit 15-Year Bottom Despite Low Rates

Cresting on low tides in credit supply and buyer confidence, fewer first-time and repeat homebuyers filed mortgage applications last week, according to a weekly survey released by the Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday. The MBA said that overall mortgage loan application volume dropped 2.4 percent, with purchases slamming into a 15-year low. The Market Composite Index, which the MBA uses to gauge loan application activity, showed a seasonally adjusted squeeze in loan volume.

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Zillow: Mortgage Rates Fall. Again

Mortgage rates continued falling to new lows, according to real estate Web site Zillow, which released rates in the latest Mortgage Marketplace note Tuesday. According to Zillow, the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate loan jumped four basis points to hit 4.07 percent Saturday, up from 4.09 percent last week. Zillow tracks mortgage rates by pooling anonymous loan quotes submitted by the 1.7 million users that it says follow its Web site on a daily basis. The Zillow rates track ongoing mortgage-rate declines reported by Bankrate and Freddie Mac.

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Weiss: Mortgage Insurers Barely Make the Grade

With decisions by state regulators to close mortgage insurance practices for PMI Group, pending the company's ability to meet capital requirements, mortgage insurers continue to fall under scrutiny as a troubled industry.

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FHA Multifamily Rental Loans Hit New Highs

Despite all-time highs for home affordability, homebuilders are seeing less demand for home construction and more for multifamily rentals, with the Federal Housing Administration recently releasing a report that signals new highs for rental properties across the country. The FHA said that it has endorsed some $10.5 billion in multifamily rental housing loans ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô seven times the number of loans made three years ago and the only second time that the FHA has lent so much.

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Adding to Worries, New Home Sales Drop in July

Marking a third consecutive month, new home sales fell over July, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The drop in new home sales reflects still-weakening consumer confidence as new fears about a global economic slowdown continued to rattle stocks and markets worldwide. New single-family house sales dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000 over July, reflecting a downward shift in estimates that fixed these numbers at a 0.7 percent decline from 300,000 homes sold over June.

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Accenture Acquiring Zenta

Accenture is planning to acquire Zenta as part of the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós ongoing efforts to bolster its mortgage lending and servicing operations. The terms of the transaction have not been released, but Accenture has confirmed its intention to debut a new division targeting consulting, technology, and BPO offerings.

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Report: Low-End Markets See Mild Upswing

Despite the rash of research and news reports about consumers staying wary of new purchases, some markets are seeing first-time homebuyers run to take advantage of historically low prices and mortgage rates, particularly in government-backed mortgage programs, according to a research note from Credit Suisse. The research firm said that the scramble to scoop up new properties occurred particularly among state and federal programs. The research note questioned whether builders will continue with current valuations.

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