Morning Briefing: Mortgage applications down sharply last week

by Steve Randall15 Oct 2015
Mortgage applications down sharply last week
There was a sharp drop in the number of new mortgage applications last week according to the Mortgage Bankers’ Association. Its weekly survey showed a seasonally adjusted decline of 27.6 per cent for the week ending Oct. 9 compared to the week before. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 27 per cent compared with the previous week; the Refinance Index decreased 23 per cent; the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 34 per cent; the unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 34 per cent compared with the previous week and was 1 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

"Application volume plummeted last week in the wake of the implementation of the new TILA-RESPA integrated disclosures, which caused lenders to significantly revamp their business processes, and as a result dramatically slowed the pace of activity” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist.
Americans still want to buy homes says survey
Most Americans still believe that buying a home is a solid investment. That’s one of the findings of the National Housing Pulse Survey by the National Association of Realtors which shows that 80 per cent of Americans in the 50 largest metros say home purchase makes financial sense; 68 per cent say now is a good time to buy. More renters are considering making the move into home ownership at 39 per cent compared to 36 per cent since the last survey in 2013. Among all consumers 89 per cent expect home sales in their area to either increase or remain the same. Concern about foreclosures has also declined, with only 15 per cent of respondents indicating that foreclosure is a major concern.
Houston realtors report moderate gains
Home sales saw moderate growth in September following a flat month in August. The Houston Association of Realtors reports that single-family home sales totaled 6,691 units compared to 6,463 a year earlier, an increase of 3.5 per cent. It took 49 days for the average home to sell versus 48 days in 2014. "September showed a bit more vitality than August, and considering that we are comparing to a record 2014 sales year and remain in a climate of energy-related layoffs, I'd say that the Houston real estate market is truly holding its own," said HAR Chair Nancy Furst with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties. "Sales inventory has been stable for the past three months and we expect it to grow in the last quarter of 2015."
Wells Fargo profit increases on GE loan book
The profits of America’s largest mortgage lender edged higher in its latest quarterly report, boosted by its acquisition of GE’s commercial mortgage book. Wells Fargo boosted net income by 0.65 per cent to $5.44 billion or $1.05 per common share, beating market expectations by a cent per share. However the lender’s residential mortgage revenue fell by 2.7 per cent to $1.59 billion. New mortgages amounted to $55 billion in the quarter, up 15 per cent from a year earlier but down 11 per cent from the second quarter.