The Lede

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Mortgage Debt Has Peaked. Why Has the Share of Homeowners with a Mortgage Fallen to a 13-Year Low?
Urban Institute, Aug. 20, 2019--Michael NealThe household-owned value of the U.S. housing market is at an all-time high of $26.12 trillion--significantly higher than the pre-crisis peak of $22.68 trillion in 2006. Housing equity and non-HELOC (home equity line of credit) mortgage debt outstanding are also at historic highs. At the same time, the share of homeowners with a mortgage, at 62.9 percent, is at the lowest level since at least 2005.
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Trump Examining Various Tax Cuts to Bolster the Economy
Wall Street Journal, Aug. 20, 2019--Rebecca Ballhaus, Andrew Resuccia, Richard Rubin (subscription)President Trump said the White House is examining proposals to bolster the economy, including reducing capital-gains taxes, while maintaining that growth remains strong.
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Study: Upping the VA Home Loan Funding Fee is a Bad Move
National Mortgage Professional, Aug. 20, 2019--Phil HallA new study published by NDP Analytics has determined that increasing the funding fee on VA home loans could result in fewer servicemembers and veterans becoming homeowners.
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Freddie Mac Updates Servicing Data Corrections, Modifications Policies
National Mortgage News, Aug. 20, 2019--Bonnie Sinnock (subscription)Freddie Mac is replacing a manual form submission process used to correct post-settlement and real estate owned data with new technology.
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Regulators Scrap Proposed Volcker Rule Compliance Standard
American Banker, Aug. 20, 2019--Hannah Lang (subscription)The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board approved a final rule Tuesday that removes the so-called accounting prong. Last year, the agencies had proposed using fair value accounting as an alternative to the current standard, which financial services firms have also found burdensome.
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Santandar Bank Cuts Back on Its Mortgage Business
Philadelphia Inquirer, Aug. 20, 2019--Joseph N. DiStefanoSantander Bank NA, the U.S. arm of Spain-based multinational lender Banco Santander, will lay off 66 staff at its Villanova mortgage offices this fall, the bank told the Pennsylvania Department of Labor in a federally required WARN Act notice.
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Mortgage REITs Were Doing Great–Until the Yield Curve Inverted
The Real Deal, Aug. 20, 2019--Rich BockmannThree of the largest real estate investment trusts that buy up residential mortgages and package them into securities have cut their dividends so far this year. The cuts came after the yields on three-month and 10-year treasuries inverted in March for the first time in more than a decade.
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Mortgage Market Reopens to Risky Borrowers
Wall Street Journal, Aug. 21, 2019--Ben Eisen (subscription)More than a decade after home loans triggered the worst financial crisis in a generation, the strict lending requirements put in place during its aftermath are starting to erode. Home buyers with low credit scores or high debt levels as well as those lacking traditional employment are finding it easier to get credit.
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