Apr. 27: Capital markets & sales jobs; upcoming events of note; state level news; higher rents – lender’s friend or foe?

“If the US had never landed on the moon in the 60s, there would be conspiracy theories claiming that we actually did.” And while we’re not talking about mortgage banking, this is National Babe Ruth Day. In 1946, after experiencing severe eye pain and difficulty swallowing, Babe Ruth was diagnosed with cancer and on this day in 1947 he was able to attend the proclaimed Babe Ruth Day and spoke briefly to a crowd of almost 60,000 people at Yankee Stadium.


Along the Atlantic Seaboard Embrace Home Loans is looking for an MBS TRADER “to join its dynamic Capital Markets Team, housed in its beautiful Newport, RI headquarters. Responsible for hedging and trading Embrace’s origination book, which includes Agency/GNMA and Jumbo, he or she will also be responsible for market surveillance, making pricing recommendations, creating securities, executing trades, and reporting. Now entering its 33rd year in business, with 40+ offices across 46 states, Embrace has been perennially recognized as one of the ‘25 Best Medium-size Companies to Work for in America’ and is recognized by its culture and its strategy – to build a company that demonstrates businesses can make a positive difference in the lives of others – that caring for people is good for an employee, a company and a community.”  For those interested in joining this purpose, and a talented Capital Markets Team, please contact Brian Gilpin, Vice President.


With its headquarters 3,075 miles away, National MI was recently named as one of the Best Places to Work in the greater San Francisco Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley Business Journal, ranking 9th among the top 25 finalists in the mid-sized (100-249 employees) category.  National MI was recognized for offering competitive compensation and benefits, a balanced work-life environment, as well as an innovative culture that fosters employee creativity and contribution. (Click on the Best Places to Work for more information.) Plus, National MI is hiring for various positions, including an Account Manager for the Northern California market, who will utilize their expert understanding of the residential mortgage industry to develop opportunities, train and educate clients, and grow profitable market share within their assigned territory.


Upcoming events, conferences, and training?


American Pacific Mortgage is about to wrap up its Spring Sales Summit 2015 series with events already held in Seattle, Northern California and Southern California. This year’s timely theme is “Built to Last”.  With their 2014 volume exceeding $5 billion, American Pacific Mortgage continues to expand with high interest in the Rocky Mountain region. Based on strong interest and demand in this area, American Pacific Mortgage is excited to announce they are hosting their first Summit in Denver, Colorado on Thursday April 30th! This event consists of APM Leadership discussing the State of Industry and the company, guest speakers, noted economists as well as content-rich breakout sessions. To learn more information or register for this event, simply email Mike Haden.


Identifying current taxes, as well as any delinquent taxes due, is becoming increasingly difficult, costly and time-consuming. Black Knight Data & Analytics is providing an April 28 webinar. Register to learn how to use its property tax data.


Fidelity National Title is hosting the 2015 Real Estate Forum in Portland, May 20th with a panel of experts, moderated be Ginger Bell, featuring TRID. This forum also includes 3 additional events all in one afternoon. Click the link to register for 2015 Real Estate Forum.


The annual trade show presented by the Central Florida Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals is coming up on May 6th.  It is a regional trade show for mortgage professionals in central Florida (Orlando area).


Tri-State MBA’s 3rd Annual Convention for Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee is coming up quickly. This event is slated for May 4th – 6th in Tennessee.


While we’re discussing states (and congrats? to Oklahoma for passing California as the most earthquake-prone state due to oil-related activities), a recent MBA’s “Chart of the Week” highlights the historical Western mortgage companies. Western mortgage companies concentrated in high growth farming areas and helped facilitate inter-regional transfers of farm mortgage credit, where 48 of 187 of these companies were located in Kansas in 1890. The increased popularity of the western mortgage companies encouraged legislators on the East coast to require these companies to apply for a license and file financial statements. The western mortgage companies were an early example of independent mortgage banks (IMBs). The significance of IMBs has varied throughout the years, since 2008 the market share has remained around 11 percent. However, independents accounted for 42 percent of purchase originations in 2013 compared to 27 percent in 2008.


Utah has recently amended provisions regarding Anti-Discrimination and Fair Housing Acts. The bill also revises definitions related to employment and housing discrimination to define “employer”, “gender identity”, and “sexual orientation” and adding sexual orientation and gender identity under prohibited discrimination provisions. The description of “gender identity” has been expanded and can be shown by providing evidence, including medical history, care or treatment of the gender identity, consistent and uniform declaration of gender identity, or other evidence that the gender identify is held and part of a person’s core identity. The bill also affects religious freedom as employees are allowed to express their beliefs in the workplace in a reasonable way and cannot be barred from working due to convictions about religion, marriage or sexuality unless in direct conflict with critical interests of the employer. The bill will become effective on May 11th.


Updated Education Notices for NMLS approved courses have been updated for Rhode Island and Missouri. The Rhode Island notice includes new course content requirements and will be effective on July 1st, 2015 and the Missouri notice includes an updated reference list with current web links. The NMLS posts Education Notices to notify providers of state-specific course content requirements and to provide an agency-approved reference list. These notices are on a two year review cycle but state agencies may request a change to their notice at any time.


The drop in oil prices will have an overall positive impact on the economic activity within the U.S. but a negative effect on oil dependent economic states such as Texas and North Dakota. There are a variety of hypotheses as to why oil prices declined, including an increase in supply accounting for 60 percent of the plunge, lower than expected demand and the appreciation of the dollar. In 2014, world oil production grew at a faster pace than demand and the falling oil prices will negatively affect oil exporting countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, whereas importing oil countries like China, Japan and the U.S. will gain. Gas, diesel and heating oil consumption account for about 65 percent of total U.S. oil use and with the decline in oil prices, consumers can spend that money saved elsewhere, boosting the economy. It’s estimated that more than $700 will be saved per household this year as a result of lower gasoline prices and historically, a 50 percent oil price decline yields a 0.3 to 1 percent increase in U.S. GDP. Oil prices are predicted to gradually rise, but not to the $100 per barrel level anytime soon. The U.S. as a whole will benefit from low oil prices, but the benefits will be distributed unevenly among the states, as those with large shares of oil and gas will suffer.


Many LOs are watching rent prices. Increasing rent is a two-edged sword, of course, simultaneously moving households to stop renting and buy a place instead but at the same time making it harder to actually save up the money to do so.


According to Zillow, rent affordability is suffering in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego. Renters in these areas should expect to spend a minimum of 39.4 percent of their income on rents, which is above the national average of 30 percent. Zillow analyzed rent affordability in 89 of the largest metros from 2011 to 2014, and found that even in 2011 these six cities were ranked as the most unaffordable places to live, and the problem is getting worse. Part of the reason why these cities are unable to be relieved of their unaffordability is largely attributed to the number of authorized new buildings that are approved. Rent becomes more affordable as more building permits are authorized and in L.A., San Francisco and San Diego, there were less than 200 new units permitted in 2012 and 2013 for every 1000 new residents from 2012 to 2014.


Although having enough land to construct new buildings is also an issue and these six cities are authorizing larger buildings at a higher rate than the rest of the country. More than 60 percent of permitted units in each of the six unaffordable metros were in buildings with five or more units. Unfortunately, rent is still unaffordable in these areas and will continue to be due to a lack of permits being issued to keep up with the growing population and much of the multi-family construction has been geared towards the luxury market.


Zelman & Associates published its March Single-Family Rental Survey, with strong operating trends expected to continue due to the low level of available rental inventory in the first quarter of the year, favorable rent growth of 3.3 percent compared to 2.9 percent a year ago and high occupancy of 96 percent. Pricing power is up due to strong tenant demand, low turnover of existing tenants and limited available inventory. March revenue growth declined to 3.8 percent from 4.1 percent a year earlier, mainly due to modest improvement in occupancy. Rent growth improved YoY to 3.4 percent and occupancy increased to 96.3 percent. For more information regarding the March Single-Family Rental Survey, contact Ivy.


The higher rents are certainly prompting building in the non-owner sector. According to the MBA’s 2014 Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Annual Origination Volume Summation, commercial and multifamily mortgage bankers closed $399.8 billion of loans, suggesting that 2014 was a robust year for commercial and multifamily business. The report also indicated that the leading investor group was commercial mortgage-backed-securities (CMBS) issuers, as they were responsible for more than $106 billion of the total. Multifamily properties saw the highest origination volume at $150.3 billion, followed by office buildings, retail properties, hotel/motel, industrial and lastly, health care. The volume of commercial and multifamily mortgages closed in 2014 was 12 percent higher than in 2013 and the dollar volume of closed loans increased by 6 percent.


Rents have moved higher, but where should rates be? Free market folks think they should be a little higher – after all, the Fed is continuing to use the money from early payoffs on its MBS and Treasury holdings to buy more. But rates are where they are (yes, you can quote me on that) and economic data last week continued to reflect a soft 1st quarter, more or less. Housing data were mixed, with existing home sales rising but new home sales pulling back in March. Durable goods orders bounced back slightly in March, but not enough to reverse the sharp decline observed in February. Based on economic data over the past two weeks, don’t look for anyone to dramatically change their forecasts for Gross Domestic Product.


The housing market data last week showed a mixed bag, with existing home sales continuing to show sales increases while new home sales reversed course in March. Much of the jump in February and subsequent reversal is likely due to the fact that some new homes were sold but construction activity had yet to begin given the harsh winter weather. Months’ supply of new homes rose to 5.3 months, the highest reading since November of last year. Home prices continued to rise at a modest pace in February, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Regionally, home price growth since last year has been the strongest in the Pacific and Mountain regions, while the Middle Atlantic region has seen more modest price appreciation. Mortgage applications for home purchases are up almost 16% percent over the past year. In addition, pending home sales have climbed over the past two months, suggesting that sales volumes should pick up in the coming months.


But we’re here staring at a new week already. There is zip today; tomorrow is Consumer Confidence and the S&P/Case-Shiller numbers with their two month lags. Wednesday kicks off with Pending Home Sales but more importantly GDP at 6:30AM Mountain time followed by the 1PM FOMC Meeting Announcement. With tepid economic news few at this point is expecting a June interest rate hike – go ahead and figure out if bonds and stocks will rally or selloff when there is no change. But we’ll see what the Fed has to say. Thursday brings the usual Initial Claims but also Personal Income and Outlays, and the PCE numbers and Employment Cost Index. And lastly Friday brings the ISM Manufacturing Index. We closed the 10-year at a yield of 1.92% and this morning we’re still in the range we’ve been in for months: 1.91% with agency MBS prices perhaps a shade better than late last week.



Who says car commercials are boring? This short video commercial about a blue car helps to point out how our brains work – you’ll need sound.





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Rob Chrisman