Washington Weekly Update - February 13, 2017

February 10, 2017

Collingwood in the News

Collingwood Partner, Meg Burns, comments on HUD’s handling of FHA’s loan quality assessment methodology. For the full article, visit Inside Mortgage Finance.

Market Reports

Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) increased in January. The HPSI increased by 2 percentage points in January to 82.7. The net share of Americans who believe that home prices will go up in the next 12 months rose by 7 percentage points, and the net share reporting significantly higher household income in the past 12 months rose by 5 percentage points. The net percentage of those who say that it is a good time to sell a house rose by 2 percentage points, while the net share of those who say it is a good time to buy a house fell by 3 percentage points.

Results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) show mortgage rates decreased last week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.17 percent for the week ending February 9th. This time last year, the FRM averaged 3.65 percent. The 15-year FRM averaged 3.39 percent for the week. Year-over-year, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.95 percent.

Mortgage applications increased during the week ending February 3rd, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).  The Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey saw a 2.3 percent increase in total mortgage applications.  The Refinance Index increased 2 percent and the unadjusted Purchase Index increased 9 percent.  The refinance share of total mortgage applications decreased to 47.9 percent last week.

Mortgage Credit Availability increased in January. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the MBA, increased 1.1 percent to 177.1 in January. Of the four component indices, the Jumbo MCAI saw the greatest increase in availability over the month (up 4.7 percent), followed by the Conventional MCAI (up 2.3 percent), and the Government MCAI (up 0.2 percent). The Conforming MCAI decreased over the month (down 0.1 percent).

The US Department of Labor announced last week that initial unemployment insurance claims  decreased from the previous week ending February 4, 2016.  The four-week moving average was 234,000 a decrease from last week’s average.  The insured unemployment rate was 1.5 percent for the week ending January 28, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate.

CoreLogic released its Home Price Insights report for December 2016. According to the report, 15 states and the District of Columbia reached new home price highs. Year-over-year, home prices increased 7.2 percent. The one-year home price forecast is expected to increase 4.7 percent.

The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index (ETI) increased slightly in January. The index now stands at 130.04, up from 129.73(r) in December. The change represents a 2.4 percent gain in the ETI compared to a year ago.

CFPB

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a monthly complaint snapshot highlighting consumer complaints about mortgages. The snapshot shows that consumers continue to report experiencing problems with mortgage servicers. This month’s report also highlights trends seen in complaints coming from Tennessee. As of Jan. 1, 2017, the Bureau handled approximately 1,080,700 consumer complaints across all products nationwide.

HUD

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) charged Oklahoma landlords with discriminating against veterans with disabilities. The tenant, a combat veteran who uses an emotional support animal, complained  that AMH 2015-1 Borrower, LLC, and its management company, AH4R Management – OK, LLC, refused to waive their pet deposit fee. HUD’s charge alleges that although the man provided the owners and management company with medical documentation attesting to his need for the animal, they denied his request to waive a $250 pet fee.  Under the law, assistance animals are not considered pets.

HUD announced that it is making grants available to clean up lead-based paint hazards. The grants will be used to help eliminate dangerous lead-based paint hazards from lower income homes in order to protect young children. The funding will also provide an opportunity for local communities to establish and support programs to control other housing-related health and safety hazards.