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Tag Archives: Underwriting Standards

NAHB Proposes Plan to Overhaul Secondary Market

A prominent housing trade group joined a growing roster of policy makers by outlining ways to take the GSEs off federal conservatorship, reintroduce private mortgage-backed securities, and charge existing government entities with stewardship of the new system. The National Association of Home Builders released a white paper Monday that calls on lawmakers to slowly transition a system dominated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to one that shares and balances responsibility. The proposal comes as others arrive from lawmakers and policy makers to replace the GSEs.

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Housing Looms Large, As Ever, For Bernanke, Lawmakers

A hearing held by House lawmakers Wednesday with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recast housing and the Dodd-Frank Act as issues critical to the economic recovery. The central banker said that 30 percent of home sales recently consisted of foreclosures and properties in distress, reflecting ongoing trouble for a market underpinned by high home vacancy rates and downward pressure for home prices. The underwriting process, down payments, and pending regulations also took center-stage during the discussion, with House members spotlighting recent servicer consent orders.

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Beige Book Sees Continuing Economic Improvement

Fed

Overall economic activity continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace in January and early February, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in the Beige Book. The report ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô an anecdotal review of conditions in each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô showed economic improvement varying across the country. Residential real estate activity increased modestly in most parts of the country, while home prices declined or held steady in many areas. Reports on banking conditions were generally positive across the country. Demand for residential mortgage loans increased in New York and Richmond.

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FBC Strikes Agreement With Justice Department

The Justice Department has reached a deal with Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. The agency recently announced that the two entities have struck an agreement that pertains to underwriting practices related to loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration and HUD. FBC will revise its fourth quarter and full year financial results for 2011 as per the terms of the transaction. Additionally, FBC will reaffirm its forward looking statements for 2012, made by the company during its earnings call for fourth quarter findings in 2011.

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Discounts Drive Cash Buyers to Market: Survey

More homebuyers are scooping up properties with cash only, even in an environment for record-low mortgage rates, according to a recent survey. Campbell Surveys and Inside Mortgage Finance jointly released the HousingPulse Tracking Survey, collecting responses from about 2,500 real estate agents around the industry. The survey said that cash buyers will account for roughly half of all homebuyers in 2012 if current trends continue. The survey also attributed the rise in all-cash transactions to hefty discounts and late appraisals.

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FHFA Proposes Remaking Secondary Mortgage Market

The federal agency responsible for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released a proposal Tuesday that calls for lawmakers to gradually wean the GSEs off taxpayer funds and stand up a new secondary market, replete with new institutions, securitization measures, and servicing standards. The proposal outlines steps for ways to shift risk and responsibility from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to a new market that lawmakers would need to establish without destabilizing a cornerstone of the economy.

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Bernanke: Tight Credit Continues to Hamper Recovery

Fed

Negative equity, tight mortgage credit, and an overhang of foreclosed properties conspire to delay a full-fledged housing rebound and economic recovery, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday. He said that the inability ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô or unwillingness ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô of lenders to lend puts the brakes on much-needed activity by first-time and repeat homebuyers. He cited a contraction in mortgage credit outstanding for U.S. homes by about 13 percent, with mortgage originators reluctant to lend to otherwise eligible borrowers.

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Obama Unveils New Refi Plan, Homeowner ‘Bill of Rights’

The Obama administration rolled out an ambitious package of benefits and structural changes Wednesday for homeowners who want to refinance their loans. The plan would cost anywhere from $5 billion to $10 billion and pay for itself with fees exacted from financial institutions. If it makes it into law, the bill would significantly expand refinancing opportunities for underwater borrowers, shift appraisal responsibilities in distressed neighborhoods to an automated system under the GSEs, and offer new servicing reforms.

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Homeownership Rates Wallow at Nearly 15-Year Lows

Homeowners moved closer to the sidelines last year, buying fewer homes than in 2010 and edging homeownership toward lows not seen since the 1990s. The Commerce Department released figures Tuesday that posted 66 percent for homeownership rates last quarter, reflecting declines by 0.5 percent year-over-year and 0.3 percent on a quarterly basis. Homeownership vacancy rates hovered around 2.3 percent last quarter, 0.4 percentage points lower than in 2010.

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