US Mortgage Rates Drop Below 7% in Biggest Decline Since July (But MBA Purchase Applications Drop -9.52% WoW, Refi Apps Drop -11.44%)

US mortgage rates fell last week by the most since the end of July, slipping below 7% and helping generate a bounce in purchase applications that otherwise remain depressed, but only in the Seasonally Adjusted data. The NON-Seasonally Adjusted data show a hefty decline.

The contract rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage decreased 24 basis points to 6.9% in the week ended Nov. 11, according to Mortgage Bankers Association data released Wednesday. The group’s index of applications to buy a home rose 4.4% — the most since June — but is still near the weakest level since 2015. 

But the bounce was in Seasonally Adjusted data only. The NON-seasonally adjusted data remained depressed.

Mortgage applications decreased -10.0 percent SA from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 11, 2022. This week’s results include an adjustment for the observance of Veterans Day.

The Refinance Index decreased -11.44% percent from the previous week and was 88 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased -10 percent compared with the previous week and was 46 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

Mortgage purchase applications will continue to fall in NSA terms since it is the Winter and home buying season won’t really start until January. Refinancing applications actually dropped -11.44% even with the drop in mortgage rates.

The data. As my former students know, I like the “raw” data, better known as NON-seasonally adjusted (NSA) data and avoid seasonally-adjusted data (SA) since it hides what is going on.

And on The Fed Futures Front, The Federal Reserve is still looking a hiking their target rate from 4% to just under 5%.

Double Whammy! Mortgage Holders Lose $1.3 Trillion in Equity in Q3 As Price Correction Continues (Nationally, Homes Shed 2.6% of Value Over Past Three Months As Treasury Yield Curve Remains DEEPLY Inverted)

Yes, this is an economic double whammy!

First, according to Black Knight, US home values declined -2.6% over the past three months.

Second, the US Treasury 10Y-2Y yield curve remains near 1980s low.

There is a third whammy, rising utility costs (highest in a decade).

Yes, its a double whammy!

Recession Warning? Total US Foreclosures Starts UP 440.91% YoY In June (Black Knight)

This bit of housing news won’t soothe the Biden Administration which is terrified of getting blamed for a recession.

Total US foreclosure starts are up 440.91% YoY in June, according to Black Knight.

Rising mortgage rates, declining REAL wage growth? This spells trouble in River City (Potomac River city, that is!)

Welcome to the Land of a Thousand home foreclosures!

Mr. Freeze! Natural Gas Futures UP 5.53% This Morning (UP 255% Under Biden), Housing Square Footage Goes Up With Fed Easing (Stay Warm!)

You better hope it doesn’t get Cold Outside. Because the cost of heating your house just rose 5.74% this morning (natural gas futures). To $9.01.

Between Biden’s anti-fossil fuel policies and the war in Ukraine, natural gas futures are up 255% under Biden.

With rising natural gas prices, one would think American consumers and American home builders would start building higher-density housing like duplexes.

But The Federal Reserve has helped America build BIGGER houses (as in greater square footage).

Note that following the financial crisis and the takeover of the US economy by The Fed, median square footage of US housing starts rose with Fed easing. Median square footage started falling as The Fed leveled-off its asset purchases (green line). But when Covid struck and The Fed really went to town (aka, monetary stimulypto), median square footage started rising again.

The above chart demonstrate the conflict that can arise between a Presidential Administration and The Federal Reserve. President Obama wanted more green apartments built and less suburban growth, but thanks to The Fed, we got median square footage of new builds rising. But once The Fed took its enormous foot off the monetary accelerator pedal, median square footage started falling. Then Covid struck, The Fed intervened, and median square footage rose again.

But with alleged Fed monetary tightening, we should should see the demand for larger homes decline relative to smaller homes.

Mortgage rates have been climbing rapidly, making housing acquisition relatively less affordable.

Black Knight’s monthly P&I payment to average purchase price says it all.

My version of the Black Knight chart is slightly different, but tells the same story: home prices and mortgage rates are rising FAST with Fed stimulus, but should slow down.

I guess we can call both Biden and Fed Chair Powell jointly “Mr Freeze” for housing.

The Fed has helped make housing not only more expensive, but larger in size. And the Biden Administration and war has helped make heating those large houses more costly.

Covid Blues! 1.6 Million Loans Remain In Forbearance With FHA/VA Leading (Fannie Mae Reports $7.2 Billion In Net Income In Q2 Report)

The Covid epidemic hit the single-family mortgage market hard in early 2020, leading mortgage lenders and servicers to offer FORBEARANCE to borrowers who were having trouble making their mortgage payments due to loss of hours or a loss of job.

Black Knight offers an excellent summary of the forbearance data.

The good news? Active forbearance plans are much lower today than at their peak after the Covid epidemic struck in early 2020 with active forbearance plans peaking in May 2020.

Forbearance plans are due to expire in

What is forbearance, you ask? Forbearance is when a mortgage servicer or lender allows a borrower to temporarily pay their mortgage at a lower payment or pause paying your mortgage. The borrower will have to pay the payment reduction or the paused payments back later.

Despite forbearance, Fannie Mae still reported $7.2 billion in net income in Q2 2021. Notice the difference between single-family SDQ and the SDQ rate without forbearance. Freddie Mac reported $3.7 billion in Q2 2021 net income.

Here is a look at Fannie Mae’s net income over the past year and SDQ rates.

Under the existing seller/servicer eligibility requirements, the Agency SDQ Rate is defined as 100 multiplied by (the UPB of mortgage loans 90 days or more delinquent or in foreclosure for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae/Total UPB of mortgage loans serviced for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae). Beginning with the financial quarter ending Jun. 30, 2020, the Agency SDQ Rate will include an adjustment for mortgage loans in a COVID-19-related forbearance plan that are 90 days or more delinquent and were current at the inception of the COVID-19-related forbearance plan. The UPB of such mortgage loans shall be multiplied by .30 and added to the UPB for SDQ mortgage loans for the purposes of determining the numerator in the calculation of the Agency SDQ Rate.

More Housing Inventory is Coming! 850,000 Borrowers Will Exit Forbearance Between August and October (Will The Fed And Biden/HUD/Congress Take Action?)

The ball is in the court of The Fed, the Biden administration (HUD) and Congress. Will they take action?

There will be more housing inventory hitting the market soon. As home prices are up and most are no longer in negative equity situations, some will decide to sell into this hot market. Obviously not paying your mortgage for 12, 14, 16, or even 18 months is a nice bonus that party is coming to an end.

Zillow’s research found that most are not going to bring their mortgage current. Assume someone took a forbearance and their monthly mortgage cost was $2,000 per month, some may be behind by up to $36,000 when the forbearance period ends. Okay, well what if you can’t make it current? You can defer the payments to the end of the mortgage but you still owe that and many got used to not even paying the regular monthly payment. So a sizable portion will be selling

Here is Black Knight’s Scheduled Forebearance Plan expirations.

Could this be the end of the 16.6% YoY growth rate in home prices? Or will Congress and/or The Biden Administration extend the forbearance? Or will The Fed expand their balance sheet even further??

Will the Biden Administration come to the rescue?