Snowmageddon, Key Housing Number, Lower Mortgage Rates

Posted on in Economy, FHA, Government, GSE, Housing, Industry, Mortgages, TV Appearances

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January 22, 2016

Snowmageddon – Not the Best Day to Sell Houses on the East Coast
Oh, the weather outside will be frightful, with Washington bracing for up to three-feet of snow. The Federal Government and most schools are already closed. A textbook Mid-Atlantic severe winter storm is primed to unload snow totals measured in feet starting this afternoon and ending late tomorrow night.

A blizzard warning spans the entire region from 3 p.m. today to 6 a.m. Sunday, when a vicious combination of heavy snow and strong winds will make travel difficult or impossible.

And get this, President Obama’s motorcade was stuck in traffic yesterday in DC with less than one-inch of snow on the ground. According to White House pool reports,the President was driven by car from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to the White House after bad weather grounded helicopters. A drive that usually takes 25 minutes took more than an hour, reports said. Vehicles in the president’s motorcade skipped and slid, making contact with curbs. White House reporters spotted at least three crashes along the way.

A patchwork of winter storm watches and advisories are in effect over a 1,300-mile area from New Jersey to Mississippi to Nebraska. Other major cities in the watch area included Philadelphia; Richmond, Virginia; and Memphis and Nashville.

Good luck to all in the region, be safe!

Housing Number Due this Morning

Existing Home Sales for December will be reported at 10am ET. The National Association of Realtors is forecasting that total existing-homes sales in 2015 increased 6.5% compared with 2014. As of December, existing-home sales were at an annual rate of around 5.26 million – the highest since 2006, but roughly 25% below the prior peak set in 2005 (7.08 million), NAR says in its 2016 forecast.

>Collingwood Group’s Tom Booker analyzes the numbers at 10:15AM ET on Westwood Radio

>Collingwood Group Chairman Tim Rood breaks them down at Noon ET for FBN’s Neil Cavuto


Triple Header: Collingwood Group Media Places CEO on CNBC, BloombergTV & WSJ Video has rebranded to Ten-X, CEO Tim Morse explained why in interviews scheduled by Collingwood Group Media (click below):




Contact us to learn what Collingwood Group Media can do for you.


Bloomberg: BofA CEO Moynihan Sees More Job Cuts as Bank Reduces Costs

Bank of America Corp., the lender that cut more than 10,000 jobs last year, will reduce the number of employees in 2016 as it seeks to lower costs amid declining revenue, Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said.

“We took down the headcount by 2,000 in the fourth quarter,” Moynihan said Thursday in a Bloomberg TV interview from the World Economic Forum in Davos. He declined to say how many jobs would be cut this year, “but it will be lower than it is now.”

Bank of America, the second-largest U.S. lender, had 213,280 employees as of Dec. 31, down 4.7 percent from a year earlier, according to a financial statement from the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank.

Revenue growth will be “challenging,” even as the U.S. economy improves, Chief Financial Officer Paul Donofrio said Tuesday on a call with analysts after the firm reported fourth-quarter results. Net income for the three months that ended Dec. 31 increased 9.4 percent to $3.34 billion, or 28 cents a share, from a year earlier, the bank said in a statement. Revenue for the year fell 2.1 percent to $82.5 billion and expenses declined 24 percent to $57.2 billion.

WSJ: Startup Pays Cash to Buy Homes, Flip Them

When Luke Dalien and his family needed to quickly sell their Phoenix-area house, they didn’t turn to a real-estate broker. Instead, they sold the home within two weeks to an Internet startup eager to pay cash.

The startup, OpenDoor Labs Inc., resold the house a month later, pocketing an estimated $20,000. The San Francisco company has repeated this profitable flip scores of times in the past year, catching the eye of Silicon Valley insiders.

OpenDoor is among a small group of startups armed with data scientists and software that believe they can identify the right prices on homes and cars and simplify the sales process online. Shift Technologies Inc., for example, guarantees it can sell people’s cars for a certain price within 60 days, and pays the difference if they sell for less.

But OpenDoor is unique in that it owns all the homes it lists for sale, countering the prevailing trend in Silicon Valley of solely running a marketplace that matches buyers and sellers. As a result, OpenDoor’s strategy is steeped with risk, potentially backfiring if the economy tailspins.

“We’re introducing liquidity to a marketplace that doesn’t have any,” said the company’s co-founder, Keith Rabois, a venture capitalist who was an early executive at payments firms Square Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc.

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Reuters: NY’s Cuomo nominates ex-staffer as top financial regulator

Governor Andrew Cuomo has tapped Maria Vullo, a New York lawyer and former staffer, as the state’s top financial regulator, his office said on Thursday.

The nomination of Vullo as superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) comes more than eight months after the May 2015 departure of former superintendent Benjamin Lawsky.

Vullo, a litigator from New York law firm Paul Weiss, also served as executive deputy attorney general for economic justice in 2010 under Cuomo, a Democrat, who was then New York state attorney general.

The NYDFS has been in flux since Lawsky’s departure, cycling through two acting superintendents.

In October 2015, NYDFS acting superintendent Anthony Albanese resigned amid a dispute with Cuomo’s administration which had sought to approve any subpoenas the regulator intended to issue, according to media reports.

Cuomo and New York’s legislature created the NYDFS in 2011 by consolidating the state’s banking and insurance agencies. The idea was to modernize regulation through a single agency that would oversee a broader array of financial products and services, the administration has said.

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Mortgage Rates Lower Again

Freddie Mac says mortgage rates moved lower for the third consecutive week amid another week of market turbulence.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.81 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending January 21, 2016, down from last week when it averaged 3.92 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.63 percent.

15-year FRM this week averaged 3.10 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from 3.19 percent last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.93 percent.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.91 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.01 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.83 percent.

“The Freddie Mac mortgage rate survey had difficulty keeping up with market events this week, “ says Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac. “The 30-year mortgage rate dropped 11 basis points to 3.81 percent, the lowest rate in three months. This drop reflected weak inflation — 0.7 percent CPI inflation for all of 2015 — and nonstop financial market turbulence that is driving investors to the safe haven of Treasuries. However, the survey was largely complete prior to Wednesday’s Treasury rally that drove the yield on the 10-year Treasury below 2 percent, down 29 basis points since the end of 2015.”

Reuters: Weekly Unemployment Claims Climbs to Six-Month High

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose to a six-month high last week, suggesting some loss of momentum in the labor market amid a sharp economic slowdown and financial market volatility.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 293,000 for the week ended Jan. 16, the highest reading since early July, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The prior week’s claims were revised to show 1,000 fewer applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 278,000 in the latest week.

While layoffs appear to have picked up a bit in recent weeks, the increases probably do not suggest a material weakening in labor market conditions as claims data is difficult to adjust around this time of the year.

Inside Mortgage Finance: Move Over Big Banks

Nonbank institutions continued to expand their footprint in agency mortgage servicing rights last year, thanks to both their growing share of new originations and a hefty dose of MSR transfers, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance ranking and analysis.

At the end of 2015, some $5.931 trillion of home mortgages were connected to MBS issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae. That was up a modest 0.8 percent from the same period back in 2014 and included a small 0.3 percent increase from the third to the fourth quarter of last year. These figures are based on agency MBS disclosures that typically vary slightly from aggregate data released by the three agencies.

Nonbanks accounted for 35.4 percent of agency servicing at the end of the last year, up from 30.5 percent at the end of 2014, a 16 percent improvement in market share in just 12 months time.

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CNBC: Big banks find a perfect storm in 2016

A confluence of factors going against Wall Street banks has their stocks outpacing the declines of the broader market.

One Wall Street analyst is chalking up big banks’ stock plummet to prolonged pain in the energy sector stemming from plunging commodity prices. Worse still, he said there is still no end in sight.

“The expectation is that loan losses are going to pick up and wipe out earnings in 2016,” said Dick Bove, vice president of equity research at Rafferty Capital Markets. However, he added, “at this moment, [loan losses] are not that bad.”

Until the oil market finds a bottom, Bove said, expect bank stocks’ decline to keep outpacing that of the broader market. During Wednesday trading, benchmark West Texas Intermediate trimmed more than 6 percent and fell beneath the $27-a-barrel mark.

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MReport: BNY Mellon, BankUnited Earnings See Huge Gains Despite Challenges

Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) saw profits rise substantially in the fourth quarter of 2015 and for the year, despite a residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) lawsuit filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., in August 2015, according to the bank’s earnings statement for the quarter.

Although BNY Mellon’s earnings fell quarter-to-quarter from $820 million, or $0.74 per diluted common share in the third quarter of 2015 to $637 million, or $0.57 per share in the fourth quarter, year-over-year earnings are way up from $209 million, or $0.18 per diluted common share in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Even with geopolitical instability, emerging market weakness, higher regulatory compliance requirements and low interest rates, we executed on our strategic priorities and focused on what was within our control. -Gerald L. Hassell, Chairman and CEO of BankUnited, which recently confirmed that it will discontinue retail mortgage originations as of January 15, 2015 due to a “lack of scale,” still managed to have a profitable fourth quarter, according to its earnings statement.

The company reported net income of $56.3 million, or $0.52 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to $46.8 million, or $0.45 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2014.

For the 2015 year, BankUnited’s net income totaled $251.7 million, or $2.35 per diluted share. The prior year, the bank’s net income reached $204.2 million, or $1.95 per diluted share.

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Names in the News: Ten-X Promotes Rick Sharga to Chief Marketing Officer

Ten-X (formerly announced the promotion of Executive Vice President Rick Sharga to the role of chief marketing officer. In his new role, Sharga will draw from his unique blend of real estate, technology and consumer marketing experience to lead corporate marketing, branding and corporate communications for Ten-X.

“Ten-X is in an ideal position to positively impact the way the world thinks about transacting real estate, and Rick Sharga’s insight and expertise will be crucial as we prepare to launch game-changing technology that attracts and empowers a much broader audience,” said Ten-X Chief Executive Officer Tim Morse. “The company has already benefited immensely from Rick’s leadership and vision over the past two and a half years, and we look forward to fully leveraging his capabilities in the role of chief marketing officer.”

Prior to his 2013 arrival at Ten-X (then, Sharga served as executive vice president for Carrington Holding Company, which owns and operates multiple businesses in the mortgage, real estate and securities industries. He was also senior vice president of marketing at RealtyTrac for nearly a decade, during which he won the Stevie® Award for National Marketing Executive of the Year and was also responsible for business development, data operations, and the development of a national real estate agent network. The first 20 years of his career were focused on creating and executing marketing and sales programs for prominent technology companies such as Toshiba, Hitachi, JD Edwards, Honeywell and Fujitsu; start-ups like; and consumer brands like Pizza Hut and Acura.

Sharga is one of the country’s most frequently-quoted sources on real estate, mortgage and foreclosure trends, and was included in Inman News’ Inman 100, an annual list of the most influential leaders in real estate in both 2013 and 2014. He is a member of the Corporate Board of Governors for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and the President of the Technology Council of Southern California.

“When I joined in 2013, I was looking forward to being part of a company that would fundamentally change the way residential and commercial real estate was bought and sold by leveraging technology in ways that had never been done before,” said Sharga. “I’m honored to take on the challenge of building Ten-X into a powerful national brand known for delivering easier, more transparent, more efficient real estate transactions for buyers, sellers and real estate professionals.”

Yahoo Travel: Eww! New Study Finds Expensive Hotels Have More Germs

You may not like who you’re sharing your hotel with.

In a new study titled “Hotel Hygiene Exposed,” finds that the average hotel room is teaming with more icky bacteria than a typical home, airplane, or school. It’s almost enough to tempt a traveling germophobe to sleep on the airport bench instead.

“We’re definitely not trying to scare anyone,” Emily Pierce, project manager for Travelmath, which conducted the study, tells Yahoo Travel. “We wanted to know just how many bacteria we could find on common surfaces in the hotel rooms.”

Teams armed with cotton swabs, plastic bags, and strong stomachs tested rooms in nine different hotels. Three-star, four-star and five-star hotels in a variety of locations were included in the study.

The result? Not only did Travelmath find that hotel rooms had ample populations of those microscopic creepy-crawlies, they discovered that four-star and five-star hotel rooms tend to be dirtier than less luxurious three-star hotels.

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Have a prosperous day!

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