The Lede

Top National News

Mortgage Rates Retreat Amid Political Turmoil in Washington
Washington Post, May 18, 2017--Kathy OrtonFreddie Mac said the 30-year fixed-rate average fell to 4.02 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 4.05 percent a week ago and 3.58 percent a year ago.
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Drilling Down on Mnuchin’s First Senate Banking Appearance
National Mortgage News, May 18, 2017--Ian McKendry (subscription)Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tackled a host of hot financial topics on Thursday, including saying he did not favor breaking up the big banks, committing to preserving the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and broadly endorsing a two-tier regulatory system for big and small institutions.
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FHFA’s Watt Reiterates that Housing Finance Reform Must come From Congress
HousingWire, May 18, 2017--Ben LaneFederal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt said that the heavy lifting on housing finance reform needs to come from Congress.
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Real Estate Deals Vanish in New York
Bloomberg, May 18, 2017--Sarah MulhollandIn New York City, first-quarter property sales plummeted 58 percent, to $4.3 billion, compared with a year earlier, according to data from brokerage Cushman & Wakefield Inc. It marked the lowest quarterly sales volume in six years. Nationwide, the picture wasn't much better. Sales dropped 18 percent, research firm Real Capital Analytics Inc. found.
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Fed Should Keep Raising Interest Rates, Mester Says
Reuters, May 18, 2017--Ann SaphirCleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester on Thursday repeated her call for further U.S.-interest rate hikes now that the economy has reached full employment and inflation is nearing the Fed's 2-percent goal.
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Zillow Advertising Under CFPB Fire Sets Real Estate Industry on Edge
MarketWatch, May 18, 2017--Andrea RiquierReal estate market observers say that while Zillow's broad footprint and accessible data have been a boon for customers, deciding whom to hire for the transaction is often a fraught process that could benefit from more transparency and less of the old handshake-deal approach that has often characterized real estate.
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Real Estate CEO: Record-Low Housing Inventory is ‘Freaking Us Out’
CNBC, May 18, 2017--Diana OlickThe number of homes for sale in America has been falling steadily for the past year, but the situation is apparently getting much worse as spring demand heats up.
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The Seat Belt Is Tightening For Auto And Commercial Real Estate Lending
Forbes, May 18, 2017--Ely RazinA sample of public conduit/fusion commercial mortgage-backed securities showed a "significant drop" in loan-to-value ratios in the first quarter, indicating that CMBS lenders are tightening credit as their appetite for risk is shrinking.
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Wells Fargo Ending Renovation Mortgages
Mortgage Daily, May 18, 2017Wells Fargo & Co.'s home lending unit will no longer offer renovation mortgage products due to the complexity and risk of the loans.
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Staff Up Despite Drop in Movement Mortgage Fundings
Mortgage Daily, May 18, 2017Movement Mortgage LLC saw a decline in quarterly home lending volume, though less than at many of its peers. Still, the company managed to increase the number of people on its payroll.
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Mortgage Consortium Targeting Realtors, Builders
Mortgage Daily, May 18, 2017A new consortium-style joint venture wants to make it easy for real estate brokerages and home builders to get into the home financing business.
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BofA Opens Debate on Lowering Mortgage Down Payments
Reuters, May 18, 2017--Dan Freed, David HenryThe head of Bank of America Corp., the United State's fourth-biggest mortgage lender, said on Thursday banks would be able to supply a bigger share of funding for home purchases if the standard down payment for buyers was cut to 10 percent from 20 percent.
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Shift to Purchase Loans Cuts Closing Times
National Mortgage News, May 18, 2017--Brad Finkelstein (subscription)The time needed to close a mortgage improved nine days since the start of the year as the market has shifted to doing more purchase loans.
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Today in MBA Insights
New in today's issue of MBA Insights:  Tom Lamalfa of TSL Consulting presents results of his bi-annual survey of MBA members on key industry issues, including GSE reform, mortgage originations and even President Donald Trump's performance thus far.  
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