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MBS RECAP: "Nice" Rally But Lacking in Substance
Posted on Wednesday August 23, 2017

Posted To: MBS Commentary

If there were a magical ratio comparing the overall movement in bond markets to the relevance of the factors motivating the movement, it would be off the charts with today's rally. A 4.72bp improvement in 10yr yields is nothing to shake a stick at--especially when it resulted in the best closing levels in nearly 2 months. But this particular rally is utterly lacking in a few key ingredients we normally like to see when bonds are green. First and foremost , there's just not any volume or liquidity to speak of at the moment. That's not altogether uncommon for this time of year, but it stands out a bit more when it's the caveat to an otherwise "nice" move. Before we go any deeper into that rabbit hole let's cut it short with an example to drive home the point. Imagine...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Back to 2017 Lows
Posted on Wednesday August 23, 2017

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates reversed yesterday's move today, falling back in line with recent lows--also the lowest levels since November 2016. At this time of year, the bond markets that underlie mortgage rates tend to move more serendipitously. That worked in our favor today, but it's not indicative of new resolve or meaningful underlying motivations. In other words, it's just the way the ball bounced. That "random walk" COULD pause over the next 2 days, to some extent. The Kansas City district of the Fed is hosting its annual Jackson Hole symposium and there will be several big-ticket speakers including Fed Chair Janet Yellen. While markets have a pretty good sense of where Yellen and the Fed stand, they're a bit more interested in the European Central Bank (ECB). ECB President Mario Draghi will also...(read more)

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Competition, Declining Demand, Driving Credit Easing
Posted on Wednesday August 23, 2017

Posted To: MND NewsWire

With mortgage volumes expected to decline, more lenders are telling Fannie Mae that they intend to loosen their credit standards. The company's second quarter 2017 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey found that, on net, the share of lenders reporting they have eased mortgage credit standards over the previous three months has continued the gradual uptick which started in the fourth quarter of last year. Additionally, when anticipating the next three months, the net share of lenders saying they plan to ease credit standards for GSE eligible, non-GSE eligible, and government loans reached or surpassed survey highs. "Expectations to ease credit standards climbed to survey highpoints in the second quarter as more lenders reported slowing mortgage demand and increasing concerns about competition from...(read more)

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Worst Annual Pace in 3 Years For New Home Sales
Posted on Wednesday August 23, 2017

Posted To: MND NewsWire

New home sales in July were expected to remain steady after scoring a slight gain in June, instead they plunged to a rate even lower than those a year earlier. Three of the four geographic regions shared in the decline, Sales of newly constructed homes in July are estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 units. This is down 9.4 percent from June and 8.9 percent from the estimate for July 2016. The bad news was mitigated a bit as the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development revised their earlier June estimate to 630,000 units from their original estimate of 610,000. The consensus of analysts polled by Econoday was for the number to come in unchanged from June's 610,000 units. The range of estimates was 590,000 to 622,000 units. On a non-seasonally...(read more)

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MBS Day Ahead: Bonds Trying to Turn Recent Floor Into a Ceiling
Posted on Wednesday August 23, 2017

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Coincidentally, yesterday's Day Ahead talked about "pivot points." Now today, we see a prime example of a pivot point in action. Although I labeled it as 2.215% yesterday, let's simplify the conversation by using 2.22% today. A hallmark of "pivot" behavior is the tendency to act as both a floor and a ceiling . A pivot is a level that has been historically more likely to turn bonds away as opposed to letting them pass. In other words when 10yr yields have approached 2.22% from either direction recently, they've been more likely to bounce than to break through. The last 2 days have been no exception. With this morning's gains, it's tempting to conclude the 2.22% pivot will act as a ceiling in the same sort of way it did back in June, but as the chart suggests...(read more)

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LO Training Product; Upcoming Events; Vendors Partnering Up
Posted on Wednesday August 23, 2017

Posted To: Pipeline Press

Trends? A few weeks ago, Ally offered to beat any other lender’s price. And last week 360 Mortgage Group announced a new platform that will allow customers to receive approval for a loan in just 15 minutes and cuts down the closing process to as few as eight days. The company’s NOLO platform ("No Originating Loan Officer") lets customers "complete the mortgage lending process entirely online without ever having to speak to a loan officer. Vendor News The Mortgage Collaborative has partnered with Notarize, the first digital platform to enable an entirely legal and compliant online mortgage closing process . Notarize is closing mortgages online in partnership with major lenders and title underwriters/agencies. Verified by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Notarize for Mortgage platform...(read more)

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Refinance Applications Continue Outperforming Purchases
Posted on Wednesday August 23, 2017

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The volume of refinancing applications, shored up by interest rates that remained at seven- and eight- month lows, rose for the fifth time in the last six weeks . However, during the week ended August 18, the gain was a marginal one, not enough to keep the overall level of applications from declining. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index, a measure of that volume, was down 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, and lost 2.0 percent before adjustment, when compared to the week ended August 11. The Refinancing Index moved higher, but only by a scant 0.3 percent. The refinancing share of applications rose to 48.7 percent from 47.8 percent, the third straight week that share gained ground. The Purchase Index declined by 2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and...(read more)

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MBS RECAP: With Nothing Better to Follow, Bonds Took Cues From Stocks
Posted on Tuesday August 22, 2017

Posted To: MBS Commentary

I'm not shy about dismissing the conventional wisdom of bond yields and stock prices following each other. We're talking about some iteration of the quintessential quip: "buy stocks, sell bonds," or vice versa. Over the shorter time horizons, we do indeed see that sort of relationship play out from time to time, but the opposite has been true for the last 40 years as both stocks and bonds have rallied together. The lock-step movement is most prevalent during times of very light liquidity around holidays or at the end of Summer. Today was a classic example of bonds being left with nothing better to follow after European markets closed. Europe had been helping us hold ground through the noon hour. After Europe closed, the biggest show in town was the stock market rally. Taking...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Nominally Higher, But Still Near Long-Term Lows
Posted on Tuesday August 22, 2017

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates rose today, but by a small enough amount that it shouldn't crush too many hopes and dreams. For all intents and purposes, rates remain in line with the lowest levels since November 2016. Any movement in recent weeks has been limited to "upfront costs" as opposed to interest rates themselves. That has the potential to be a bit confusing, so I like to break it down from time to time. Now is one of those times! There are upfront costs tied to your interest rate. They can be positive or negative. Markets tend not to move enough for rates to change to the next .125% higher or lower (the typical gap between adjacent rate offerings). The upfront costs allow a sort of "fine-tuning" of the overall cost of financing. The longer the mortgage is retained, the smaller the impact the upfront...(read more)

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MBS Day Ahead: What's a Pivot Point? Which One to Watch?
Posted on Tuesday August 22, 2017

Posted To: MBS Commentary

We have a dedicated primer on pivot points here . But let's look at a timely example with the pivot points we've been tracking in recent weeks. Actually, only one of the two has been actively discussed, the other is both newer and older (it was in play several months ago, took a break, and is now back in play due to last week's gains). The pivot points in question are 10yr yield levels of 2.215 and 2.182% (read the primer on why we look at 10yr yields on an MBS site here , if you like). Taking these levels out to the thousandths place isn't really necessary, so you're welcome to think about them as 2.21-2.22 and 2.18-ish. Yes, I would love it if things were more concrete and tidy, but they never will be when it comes to markets. There's nothing too mysterious about pivot...(read more)

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Home Price Gains Slow on FHFA Index
Posted on Tuesday August 22, 2017

Posted To: MND NewsWire

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported on Tuesday that home prices were up in 48 states and the District of Columbia during the second quarter of 2017. The agency said that its Housing Price Index appreciated 1.6 percent compared to the first quarter of the year. Year-over-year prices, expressed as an increase from the second quarter of 2016, was 6.6 percent. On a monthly basis, prices in June were 0.1 percent higher than in May. All of FHFA's national numbers marked deceleration from earlier reports . The year-over-year figure in May was 6.6 percent and May's prices rose 0.4 percent when compared with April. The slowing of increases surprised analysts polled by Econoday. There were looking for even stronger monthly gains than in May, from 0.3 to 0.6 percent, with a consensus of...(read more)

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Power of Attorney Changes by State; Tweak LIBOR Rather Than Eliminate?
Posted on Tuesday August 22, 2017

Posted To: Pipeline Press

From LOs to investors, no matter the real estate market, the story is the same: “Loosen up the credit guidelines all you want, but if there’s no inventory of houses for sale or being built, then I’ll merely have 20 prequals on my desk instead of the 10 I have now.” State-Level Power of Attorney News Yes, California has 20 million people more living in it than New York. The Census Bureau reports the top 10 largest states in population in 2016 are: CA (39.2mm), TX (27.9mm), FL (20.6mm), NY (19.8mm), IL (12.8mm), PA (12.8mm), OH (11.6mm), GA (10.3mm) and NC (10.2mm). All told, this group of states represents 51% of the US population. What does California have in store for housing? Due up soon: "The package of housing bills , the statement said, will include ongoing funding...(read more)

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MBS RECAP: Was the Eclipse a Market Mover?
Posted on Monday August 21, 2017

Posted To: MBS Commentary

It's a good thing financial media outlets aren't too shy about covering topics outside the financial sphere because without the eclipse, there would have been nothing to talk about today. Volume and volatility dropped off a cliff, abruptly. In fact, the difference in tone was big enough that I wouldn't mind chalking up some of the ABSENCE of trading as a symptom of the eclipse. In other words, it wasn't necessarily a market mover as much as a market inhibitor. All that having been said, it would be hard to sort out just how much of the market's quietude was attributable to eclipse as opposed to the simple nature of the Summertime trading environment. Mondays tend to struggle for relevance in August regardless of astronomical events. If the eclipse possibly didn't matter...(read more)

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Mortgage Rates Steady at 2017 Lows
Posted on Monday August 21, 2017

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates held steady to start the new week. This keeps them in line with the best levels since November 2016. There were no interesting developments in financial markets or in terms of economic data today. Most news coverage was focused on the solar eclipse. It's a good thing the eclipse happened, because it's not entirely clear what financial media outlets could have possibly discussed otherwise. But again, with rates at the lowest levels of the year, "boring" and "sideways" are only terms that inconvenience someone trying to write about market movements whereas they're a relative boon to consumers who are buying a new home or refinancing an existing mortgage. 3.875% remains the most prevalently-quoted conventional 30yr fixed rate for top tier scenarios, although quite a few lenders...(read more)

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Residential Investment Weighed Down Q2 GDP
Posted on Monday August 21, 2017

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Real residential investment subtracted from GDP in the second quarter of the year to the greatest extent since the third quarter of 2010. Fannie Mae's August Economic Developments notes a 6.8 percent annualized decline, but the company's economists expect that sector's contribution to rebound in the third quarter. Residential investment was only part of the GDP story with the first half of the year now complete. Fannie Mae had forecast growth of 2.1 percent on an annualized basis in its previous forecast, but midyear saw growth of only 1.9 percent. There should be a slight improvement in the second half of the year, the economists but are holding to their earlier whole year forecast of 2.0 percent. Risks to their forecast are called roughly balanced. On the upside, consumer spending may not...(read more)

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MBS Day Ahead: Nothing to do With The Eclipse
Posted on Monday August 21, 2017

Posted To: MBS Commentary

Welcome! Here is a safe haven from all of the eclipse talk. It won't be mentioned at all in this article. Never mind that it's in the title and the first 3 sentences, because we're about to move on. Bond markets begin another "summertime" week where "summertime" refers not only to atmospheric seasonality but also to changes in market environment. We've talked about this ad nauseum recently--largely because it's summer and the seasonality is one of the more interesting features of bond trading at the moment. And yes, that's like saying that the most interesting thing about a sloth is how slow it moves. If you're interested in getting caught up on some of this "summertime" stuff, Friday's Day Ahead went into greater detail. Thursday's...(read more)

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Freddie, Fannie, and Lender Shifts in Appraisal and Inspection Policies
Posted on Monday August 21, 2017

Posted To: Pipeline Press

What does $980k buy in the SF suburb of Vallejo, CA? A property designed by Julia Morgan (think Hearst Castle) with floating stairways, over-sized eves, massive beams, decks, and the use of exquisite wood wainscoting. The photos are sure impressive . Freddie and Fannie News, Lender Changes For wholesale and non-delegated clients, Parkside Lending, LLC , a national wholesale and correspondent lender, is pleased to announce that it has adopted the new Fannie Mae DU enhancement that will allow Property Inspection Waivers (PIW) for purchase transactions . DU will compare the address for the subject property to the property address found in Collateral Underwriter (CU). When a match is found, DU will then use the information to determine if the loan is eligible for a PIW. Effective with loan casefiles...(read more)

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MBS RECAP: Bonds Manage to Close 'Unchanged' Despite Some Volatility
Posted on Saturday August 19, 2017

Posted To: MBS Commentary

In the Day Ahead, we discussed bond traders' probable goals regarding keeping things as calm as possible. This depended on unexpected headlines and movements in external markets. Either of those were capable of throwing curveballs , and both threw a few today! Out of the gate, bonds were flat, but once equities trading picked up, Treasuries improved in line with a morning stock sell-off. At the time, it looked like stocks were set for a death-spiral well-into the lowest levels in more than a month. While most averages were indeed lower on the day, the losses were moderate. In fact, stocks were briefly positive due to mid-day Trump-related drama. This installment featured Bannon's departure from the White House team. I don't have any political views on this development, but markets...(read more)

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More 2017 Lows for Rates; More Trump Drama
Posted on Friday August 18, 2017

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates moved lower again. Drama surrounding the Trump administration was also present. But this time around, the political theater wasn't responsible for the move lower in rates. In fact, it resulted in multiple lenders adjusting rate sheets higher in the middle of the day. Fortunately, rates fell enough in the morning that the net result was still positive. The average lender is at new lows for 2017 (lowest since just after the November 2016 election, in fact). 3.875% is now the most prevalently-quoted conventional 30yr fixed rate for top tier scenarios, although quite a few lenders remain at 4.00%. Next week brings the normally-hotly-anticipated Jackson Hole symposium, but with monetary policy for both the Fed and the European Central Bank essentially an open book of late, market...(read more)

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Freddie Mac to Automate Appraisals for Some Purchase Mortgages
Posted on Friday August 18, 2017

Posted To: MND NewsWire

Freddie Mac announced today that, going forward, not every application for a purchase mortgage will necessarily trigger an appraisal . A new automated alternative to traditional appraisals, which the company introduced for refinances in June, will soon be available for purchase mortgages. It may save borrowers in some instances as much as $500, and reduce their wait to close a loan by seven to ten days. Freddie Mac's automated collateral evaluation (ACE) uses a proprietary model to assesses the need for an appraisal by using data from multiple listing services, public records, and information on historical home values to determine collateral risks. Lenders must submit loan data through Freddie Mac's Loan Product Advisor to determine if a property is eligible for ACE. ACE will be available for...(read more)

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