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National Mortgage News


M.I. Firms Warn About Freddie Pilot


The nation's mortgage insurance companies are warning about a new pilot program that enables Freddie Mac to bypass traditional mortgage insurance.

The McLean, Virginia-based secondary mortgage lender has launched a pilot program known as Integrated Mortgage Insurance, or IMAGIN.

A newly created U.S. subsidiary or Hamilton, Bermuda-based Arch Capital Group LTD -- Arch MRT -- has agreed to insure Freddie then transfer 100 percent of the risk to re-insurers.

Refi Share Wider Despite Record Low Rate-Term


A modest weekly drop in new mortgage business was led by adjustable-rate mortgages. Government share widened, as did refinance share thanks to a gain in cashouts that more than offset a record-low rate-term share.

The Mortgage Daily U.S. Mortgage Market Index for the week ended March 16 drifted lower by 4 percent from the previous seven-day period. Seasonal factors are not considered in the index.

Even worse was the year-over-year performance, with the MMI tumbling 26 percent from the week ended March 17, 2017. The index reflects potential upcoming loan originations based on average rate locks per user at clients of OpenClose.

Fee Simple: Understanding CA's New Recording Fees


On Sept. 29, 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 2, the Building Homes and Jobs Act, authored by Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).

The act creates a new source of funding for affordable homes by charging a $75 fee for recording certain types of real estate documents. It is estimated that the new fee will generate $250 million each year.

The act, which became effective immediately, is part of a comprehensive package of legislation that aims to address California's housing dilemma by imposing a new duty on counties to send quarterly revenues from this fee, after deduction of administrative costs, to the state controller for deposit in the Building Homes and Jobs Fund, created within the State Treasury.

Multifamily Drives Down Permits, New Construction


Multifamily activity drove down overall housing permits and new construction last month, though there was an increase in completed apartment buildings. Construction activity in the Northeast was exceptionally strong.

In places where housing permits are issued, there were preliminarily 90,500 privately owned housing units authorized during February, bringing the year-to-date total to 187,200.

Last month's activity worked out to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.298 million, slowing from a downwardly revised 1.377 million one month previous.

GSE Refinances Sink to 6-Month Low


Monthly refinances of government-sponsored enterprise mortgages plunged to the lowest level in six months as government-supported refinance volume fell to a new low.

Primary originators of single-family loans closed 123,170 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinances during the first month of this year -- the fewest since there were 109,199 in July 2017.

GSE mortgage refinances numbered 155,910 in the final month of last year, while the total came to 208,699 during the first month of 2017.


Private equity firms buying real estate data and software provider EDR for $205 million


Two prominent private equity firms are buying EDR, a provider of real estate data and software-as-a-service, for $205 million, the companies announced earlier this week. The buyers for EDR, which provides property due-diligence and risk management technology and information, are Silver Lake and Battery Ventures.

Builder confidence slips for third consecutive month


Builder confidence dipped in March, falling for the third consecutive month, however it is still at a high level historically. The National Association of Home Builders cautioned builders are reporting challenges in finding buildable lots, which could limit their ability to meet demand.

Waypoint Residential adds three to senior-level roles


Real estate investment firm Waypoint Residential announced Friday it added three members to its senior team to bolster the firm’s operations. The company has appointed Doug Wolski to managing director of portfolio management, James Driscoll to senior vice president of development and Gina Lujan to vice president of talent.

New construction on single-family housing increases in February


New home starts on single-family homes decreased slightly in February from the month before, but overall new home starts are still up from last year. While some experts say this month’s report is disappointing, others see hope on the horizon.

Placester names Omar Hussain president and CEO


Placester, a Boston-based real estate marketing platform, has a new CEO. Up until this point, the company has been led by its co-founder, Matt Barba, who previously served as CEO. But now, the company is naming a new president and CEO to help the company grow in its next phase.

HUD: We need more funding from Congress for much-needed bureau updates


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it needs serious updates to the agency, and it’s going to need more funding to get there. “We simply need to do better,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. Here’s what you need to know about HUD’s new plan, and what it will take to implement.

Millennials lead all other generations in buying homes


Millennials held the highest share of home buying activity out of all other generations for the fifth consecutive year. Just over one-third of all home purchases were made by Millennials, however, low levels of housing inventory and higher home prices continue to hold back many potential buyers.

Realtors: This is how your buyer wants you to contact them


Homebuyers are increasingly looking to texting as a way to communicate with housing professionals on the go during the home buying process, however, certain topics are off-limits for this method of communication. A new Ellie Mae study found that while the demand for communicating by text increased, less homebuyers prefer to communicate through email.

Northwest housing activity heats up at start of 2018


Housing activity in the Northwest sped up at the start of 2018 despite fears that tax reform would slow it down, according to the latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. But although interest rates are rising and inventory is still tight, the local market in the Northwest remains competitive.

California man admits to running $24 million real estate Ponzi scheme


A California man admitted in court this week that he ran a massive real estate Ponzi scheme and defrauded investors out of $24 million by falsely promising that he planned to use their money to purchase residential properties and either manage the properties for rental income or flip the properties and resell them for a profit.

House Democrats submit amendments for HUD budget


House Democrats are fighting against the proposed budget set forth in finance committee with 14 proposed amendments to various areas of housing and other funding. Of the Democrats' 14 proposed markups to the bill, six of the amendments were adopted by the committee.

Caliber Home Loans launches app suite


On Monday, Caliber Home Loans announced the launch of a new mobile platform with three mobile phone apps tailored and customized for its three user groups – borrowers, Caliber’s sales force and business associates.

Senate postpones vote for Dodd-Frank reform bill


The Senate announced it would postpone the vote on its Dodd-Frank reform bill until sometime this week after it couldn’t agree on the bill’s more than 100 amendments. While the vote was originally expected last week, an onslaught of amendments from Republicans and Democrats alike forced the Senate to postpone the final vote as it votes on the amendments beginning early this week.

Home Depot donates $50 million to fix construction shortage


As the construction labor shortage continues to hold back new home construction and even worsen the current housing inventory shortage, Home Depot announced its plan to help resolve the shortage. The company announced it will dedicate $50 million to fix the construction shortage – here’s how.

Qualia raises $33 million to improve home closing process


Qualia, a real estate technology company that focuses on the home closing process, announced this week that it raised $33 million in its latest funding round. Qualia has grown significantly since its founding in 2015, and now handles 5% of the national real estate market. The company said that expects the new funding to aid in its continued growth.

Trulia says housing actually growing more affordable


A growing number of reports are pointing out the concerns surrounding diminishing affordability, however a new report from Trulia says housing is actually more affordable now than it was 40 years ago. Here’s why.

How data analytics drives better real estate investing


We find that the more investors there are bidding on an asset, the better the end result is for both the buyer and the seller. Data analytics drives better execution on every property sold, attracting more qualified buyers – a necessary component to a healthy marketplace. With more data readily available, bidders are more likely to bid in confidence, and more frequently.

CoreLogic: Entry-level housing shortage pushes up home prices in January


Home prices increased in January, but the increase was even more pronounced among entry-level homes. CoreLogic’s latest report showed entry-level homes have been in particularly short supply, leading to more rapid home-price growth compared to more expensive homes. adds Michelle Meyers as vice president of customer success


Move, which operates for the National Association of Realtors, announced recently that it appointed Michelle Meyers to the newly created role of vice president of customer success. In this role, Meyers is tasked with boosting the company’s relationships with real estate agents, Realtors, and brokers.

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: HUD morale said to hit all-time low


A new report revealed morale at HUD just hit an all-time low under HUD Secretary Ben Carson. But HUD isn't the only place facing challenges. Black Knight released today its latest Mortgage Monitor which showed increasing mortgage rates and home prices pushed affordability to its lowest point since 2009.

Direct homebuyer Knock brings home trade-in program to Charlotte


Earlier this year, Knock, a real estate startup that buys homes directly from homeowners, unveiled an expansion plan that would see the company grow its business beyond Atlanta. Now, the company is ready for the first stage of that plan.

CoreLogic: Housing market nearly recovered from recession


CoreLogic released a report outlining the real estate economy from 2006 to 2017, showing that the housing market has nearly completely recovered from the recent recession. During the recession, home prices fell 33% nationwide, hitting their lowest in March 2011. Since then, home prices have risen once again by 51%. But some states are still struggling to return to their pre-recession price levels.

Homeownership migration: This area saw the greatest improvement since Recession


Since 2000, homeownership fell in 90 out of the top 100 largest metros in the U.S., according to the latest report from Trulia. Here are the areas that saw homeownership decrease, the areas with the highest increase, and what caused these changes.

Valuation: Evolution or revolution?


There has been a conscious and rapid shift to broaden the use of alternative valuation products for origination. Not every decision needs a $500, full-blown 1004 interior appraisal. And in some markets where appraisers are short in number, the turn times can stretch from days to weeks. What these new alternative — some would say disruptive — valuation products do is enable lenders and servicers to better match the product to the risk by harnessing big data and technology. 

Indiana passes online notarization bill


Currently, notaries in Virginia, Texas, and Nevada are allowed to perform online notarization for signers nationwide, but their counterparts in Indiana will soon join them. That’s because the Indiana General Assembly this week passed legislation that will enable the state’s notaries to participate in online notarizations across the country.


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