The “Sanders Polynomial” Update: Mortgage Purchase Applications And Mortgage Rates (The Raising Of Credit Standards And Demise Of Non-vanilla ARMs Since Financial Crisis)

Back in 2010, bank analyst Chris Whalen wrote this piece for Zero Hedge entitled “The Sanders Polynomial or Why “Esto se va a poner de la chingada””.

Yes, things got ugly for the residential mortgage market following the mortgage purchase application bubble that peaked around 2005. If you fit a non-linear curve to MBA Mortgage Purchase Applications, you can see a polynomial peaking in 2005.

sanderspolynomial

Here is the updated chart. Mortgage purchase applications have started to rise again since 2010, but at a much slower pace. And there is no polynomial since 2010, just a nice linear increase.

mbAPudated.png

But the mortgage market has fundamentally changed since 2005-7.  First, the volume of adjustable rate mortgages (blue line) has declined to under 10% of all mortgage applications. Second, the number of mortgage originations under 620 (also known as “subprime” is far below the levels seen in 2003-2007. Also, the number of non-vanilla ARMs (like pay-option and Limited Documentation ARMs) have reduced greatly.

mba620

So when the narrator at the end of the movie “The Big Short” said that nothing has changed,  that was fundamentally incorrect. As you can see, ARMs and subprime have essentially vanished.  Here is a chart of The Big Short period (in red) and notice that mortgage lending truly did change.

bbubblee

Also, a non-banker lender, Quicken Loans, is the second lending originator after Wells Fargo.  My how times have changed.

But are lender credit standards too high? Or are lenders and investors low riding credit?

How about a spoonful of extra credit box expansion?

But let’s not turn back the credit clock too far!!

gsdad

 

 

Fed Dead Redemption II: Fed Officials Weigh Earlier-Than-Expected End to Bond Portfolio Runoff

First, the expectations for furthering tighening of The Fed Funds Target Rate are near zero, at least according to WIRP.

wirp012519.png

Now, according to Nick Timiraos at the Wall Street Journal, Federal Reserve officials are close to deciding they will maintain a larger portfolio of Treasury securities than they’d expected when they began shrinking those holdings two years ago, putting an end to the central bank’s portfolio wind-down closer into sight.

shrink

The Fed indeed may slow the unwind of its balance sheet which is primarily allowing Treasury Notes and Treasury Bonds to mature. Agency MBS are expected to mature at later dates.

fedholdings012519

So, The Fed may, at their next meeting, adjust their redemption schedule.

qt calendar nomura jan 19 2019

And alter their redemption caps.

fed redemptions max

Clearly, The Fed is trying to keep interest rates from rising too quickly. Good luck with that! It could be that The Fed has run out of ammo.

Case in point? Recent Fed Balance sheet reductions correspond to LOWER 10-year Tteasury yields and 30-year mortgage rates.

fedratge.png

Here is The Fed’ image of itself and “the savior” Ben Bernanke. But here is the reality.

feddead.jpg

 

Student Debt Is a Driver of Low Millennial Homeownership (Combined With Declining Middle Class Wealth)

American homeownership has been on the decline (for millenials), and Federal Reserve researchers point to the high cost of college as one culprit. (Gee. ya think?)

Just 36 percent of household heads between 24 and 32 years old owned homes in 2014, down from 45 percent in 2005. At the same time, average student debt per capita rose to an inflation-adjusted $10,000 from $5,000 in 2005.

About 20 percent of the decline in homeownership among young adults can be attributed to that increase in student loan debt, the authors estimate, making such borrowing an important, but not central, driver of the decline. Some 400,000 more young people would have owned homes in 2014 if debt burdens hadn’t risen.

Average college tuition, fees, room, and board was $4,399 for public colleges in 1995-1996 and $2,081 for community colleges. By 2015-2016, costs were $9,410 and $3,435, respectively, increases of 53 percent and 65 percent. Student aid increases failed to slow down high tuition costs.

Why does this happen? It’s partly because higher student loans early in life leads to lower credit scores later in life, making it harder for former students to take out mortgages.

t7dentsdebt.png

But HOW did this happen? It started with President Bill Clinton and his crusade to make college more affordable. Clinton bumped up student financial assistance funding by 20 percent before he left office and introduced direct federal student loans, along with tax credits to further defray costs. Somewhat ironically, Clinton set the stage for student loans to dominate higher education funding.

And since Clinton, college tuition has grown almost exponentially. And then President Obama doubled down on the “make college more affordable” lunacy.

cost_disease1.png

Despite the fact that middle-class wealth has collapsed since 2007.

wealth_collapse.png

Where do the tuition hikes go? Generally to university administrators, like Presidents, Provosts, Deans (and Deputy, Associate and Assistant Deans). And new non-academic initiatives. 

So where do (overpaid) university adminstrators go after work?  Bump City!

1afe496e17b53b34393b4ddec67feb91.943x927x1.jpg

Fannie-Freddie Soar on FHFA Chief’s Conservatorship Comment (What Is Hip?)

Joseph Otting is the acting director of FHFA while Mark Calabria is Trump’s nominee to be the new FHFA director and Fannie Mae – Freddie Mac regulator.

(Bloomberg) — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares soared Friday amid fresh reports that the Trump Administration is working on proposal that would recommend freeing the mortgage-finance giants from government control.

Joseph Otting, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, commented on the administration’s plans at an internal gathering to introduce himself to staff and establish open lines of communication, an FHFA spokesperson said in a statement. MarketWatch reported on the meeting earlier Friday.

Otting mentioned, as he previously has, that the Treasury Department and the White House are expected to release a broad plan for housing that will include details about reform and will likely include a recommendation for ending Fannie and Freddie conservatorships, the FHFA spokesperson said. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that the Trump administration wants to end government control of the companies, and Otting intends to work to advance that plan, the spokesperson said.

Shares of Fannie rose more than 31 percent to $2.37 and Freddie Mac climbed 24 percent to $2.25 at 2:05 p.m. in New York. The increases were the biggest since November 30, 2016, when then-Treasury Secretary nominee Mnuchin first said getting the companies out of the government’s grip was a priority.

ffpc

Investors in the two companies, which have been under U.S. control since the 2008 financial crisis, have been optimistic that President Donald Trump’s appointees at Treasury and FHFA will allow them to reap a windfall by ending the conservatorship. Hedge funds, including Paulson & Co. and Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, are among the companies’ biggest shareholders.

Fannie and Freddie don’t lend. Instead, they underpin the mortgage market by buying loans from banks, packaging them into securities and making guarantees to investors in case borrowers default.

The statement by Otting, who is serving as interim FHFA director in addition to heading the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, corroborates earlier reports that the administration is working on a plan. Still, the FHFA spokesperson didn’t offer details on what might be included in any proposal, such as whether Treasury would call for releasing the companies without Congress passing legislation.

Mnuchin has long promised to deal with Fannie and Freddie but two years into the Trump administration he has yet to outline specific steps he wants to take. That’s prompted many lobbyists and housing-policy analysts to question whether there’s an urgency to take bold measures.

Walt Schmidt, head of mortgage-backed securities research at FTN Financial, said he’s skeptical the White House would want to mess with U.S. housing policy with Trump gearing up for a re-election campaign. Any plan could be received poorly, underscoring the fact that the issue poses political risks with uncertain upside.

“The whole GSE system and conservatorship is fairly intractable because of the political ramifications around housing,” Schmidt said. “I don’t know why the administration would want to upset one of the pillars of our economy so significantly going into the next presidential election.”

Will Mark Calabria rock the housing finance boat? Mark is a seasoned DC insider and has worked with the National Association of Homebuilders, so he knows the importance of housing to the US economy. I haven’t talked with Mark since we ate dinner at BLT Steakhouse in DC a while ago when he was still at The Cato Institute.

But will Fannie and Freddie be set free as in  “Let my GSEs  people go.”  Or will Calabria shut them down and turn over housing finance to the largest banks for mortgage origination  (in this case, Quicken Loans)?

It is difficult to tell if anything will be done. It also be could be the Zandi/Parrot model of expanding Fannie/Freddie’s role in mortgage markets or Calabria’s notion of shrinking their footprint. It really depends on “What is hip?” in Washington DC.

Below is Mark Calabria  pleading  to Let Our GSEs Go!. Or will he?

Moses-and-Pharaoh.jpg

Golden Ticket? China Relief? Fed Tightening Halt? January Effect? S&P 500 Surges In 2019

Central banks are like Willy Wonka to markets offering golden tickets.

We have the People’s Bank of China wildly expanding their repo purchases to stimulate their economy and have just announced massive investments.


pbocrepoinnj

Then we have Trump administration officials \considering measures to roll back tariffs on Chinese products in order to calm financial markets, the Wall Street Journal reported, a report the Treasury Department quickly denied.

Then we have The Fed taking further rate hikes off the table. It sure looks like it!

wirpo.png

Then there is the January effect (not the January Jones effect) where stocks decline at the end of the year only to rise at the beginning of the next year.

eoyjaneffect.png

My bet is on Jerome Powell, The Fed’s own Willy Wonka spreading golden tickets to Wall Street.

theoffice_golden-ticket.jpg

US Treasury Yield, Swaps And 1-Month LIBOR Curves Remain Kinked (All Day And All The Night)

Global uncertainites abound. And with them, the US TReasury yield curve, the US Dollar Swaps curve, and the 1-month LIBOR curves are all kinked.

kinkys.png

These curves are kinked all day and all the night.

the-kinks-kinks-size(compilation)-20121210075709

US Home Prices NOT Expected To Exceed Inflation For First Time Since Survey Created (According To Consumer Survey)

For the first time since the New York Federal Reserve began its monthly Survey of Consumer Expectations more than five years ago, respondents see parity between short-term home-price growth and overall inflation. U.S. housing-market expectations one-year ahead worsened for the sixth straight month in December, edging down 0.05 point to a median 3 percent, while that for inflation remained about unchanged at 3 percent. The bank’s internet-based survey uses a rotating panel of approximately 1,300 household heads.

parity

 

Slowing! US Framing Lumber Collapses In 2018 As Economy Slows (But Still Above 2%)

Ain’t this a kick in the head!

The US Framing Lumber Composite Index for December collapse. No, it isn’t just a seasonal effect since it hasn’t been happening in recent years. Just in 2018.

slowing.png

The decline is coinding with a general economic slowdown, although the various Fed Nowcasts are still above 2%.

fedfollu

Even Nicolas Cage knows it is slowing.

269850-knowing

Why Interest Rates Are Not Likely To Rise Much In The Near Future (Ford Cutting Thousands Of European Jobs, China Car Sales Plunge 13% YoY, Etc.)

Since early November 2018 when the 10-year Tteasury note yield hit 3.24%, both the Treasury yield and 30 year mortgage rate (MBA) have plunged.

fragilitybonds

Partly to blame is the slowing economies around the globe, particularly in Europe (check out Ford’s announcement of job cuts in Europe: Ford Motor Co. will shed thousands of jobs at its European operations as part of a bid to return the business to profitability with a broad restructuring that could include shuttering factories).

And then there is that 13% YoY decline in China Passenger Car Sales.

chinaautoyoy

So, despite global zero-interest policies (except for the US), global economies are slowing.

global econ slowing

It is difficult to push US interest rates higher when the global economy is slowing down.

To be sure, there are a whole host of wild cards that could send interest rates rising again: 1) US-China trade agreement, 2) ending the US government shutdown, 3) resolution of the neverending BREXIT issue, 4) France and Germany’s struggles to raise energy prices (Paris Accord?), etc.

The implied probability of a Fed rate hike in this global environment is pretty low.

fedpropb

And both the US Treasury actives curve and Dollar Swap curve remain kinked.

kinkyus

Will The Fed emulate Frank Booth from “Blue Velvet” and provide more oxygen to markets?

frankoxygen