US 30Y Fixed Mortgage Rates Tick Up To 2.79% As 10Y Treasury Yields Rise (Treasury Vol Remains Low As Yield Curve Steepens)

Freddie Mac’s 30-year mortgage survey rate ticked-up to 2.79% in the latest reading.

The US Treasury 10-year yield has been rising since August.

Treasury volatility remains low.

The US Treasury yield curve is steepening to around 100.

Here we go loop de loop. As interest rates rise.

Biden’s team explores ways to oust Fannie-Freddie regulator, Mark Calabria (replace with Wharton’s Susan Wachter?)

President-elect Joe Biden’s team has held preliminary talks on how it could oust Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s regulator (Mark Calabria), a move that would let the new administration fill a post that’s crucial to the mortgage market and its goal of boosting affordable housing.

One candidate the transition team is considering as a potential Calabria replacement is Susan Wachter, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, said the people who asked not to be named in discussing private conversations.

Well, there are only so many options to increase affordable housing that are in the realm of reason: 1) increase loan-to-value ratios on purchase (insured mortgages) and 2) lower the credit score required. Fannie and Freddie already have a sizeable affordable housing mission. so short of shutting down Fannie and Freddie, and expanding the FHA (aka, SUPER HUD), Fannie and Freddie may be cajoled into expanding their affordable housing mission.

After the housing market crash (and ensuring financial crisis), lenders and government insurance companies reduced the mortgage originations by low credit score borrowers. Yet home prices started to grow again despite the lack of originations by low credit score borrowers. In fact, the FHFA purchase only home price index YoY is almost back to the housing bubble peak of 2005.

Something is missing from the above chart. Jay Brinkmann (former Chief Economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association) and Alex Pollock (R Street) disagree about what is missing from the chart. I think that the omitted variable is The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet (purchase of Treasuries and Agency Mortgage-backed Securities).

Home price growth corresponds to changes in The Fed’s balance sheet, particularly in surges in the balance sheet (QE3, Covid).

It’s also an historic imbalance of housing supply and demand, exacerbated by low interest rates helped by The Federal Reserve’s policies.

Granted, the demand is driven by historically low interest rates, but it’s also driven by demographics, as a large number of Millennials are reaching prime home buying age. (Thanks to Rick Sharga!)

Wharton’s Susan Wachter is likely the replacement for Cato’s Mark Calabria to be the US housing finance Mandarin.

Atlanta Fed GDP Forecast For Q4 At 10.4% QoQ, Thanks To Housing (Pending Home Sales +16% YoY!)

Joe Biden is having a marvelous Christmas thanks to Donald Trump. Trump’s gift? A Q4 GDP Forecast of 10.4% QoQ with improving unemployment rate of 6.7%.

And the gift gets better with pending home sales at 16% YoY.

The pending home sales YoY are not included in the Atlanta Fed GDPNow forecast for Q4, but housing starts, existing home sales and new home sales are included.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

US New Home Sales Down 11% In November, But UP 20.8% YoY

US new home sales plunged 11% in November (hello, it’s NOVEMBER!!).

But new home sales rose 20.8% YoY (even though the YoY rate is falling).

The median price for new home sales fell slightly in November,but with historically low existing home sales I expect new home sales to increase in 2021.