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Daily Dose

CFPB Report Highlights Shoddy Servicing Practices in 2013

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a new report detailing a number of servicing practices that “continued to plague consumers throughout 2013.” The report covers supervision work completed between July and October 2013—after its servicing rules were first published but before they actually went into effect.

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Home-Selling Speeds Down in December

Redfin reports the median time on market for homes in its 21-city survey was 35 days in December, up three days from November. The median time on market in December 2012 was 30 days, according to the company.

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Homeownership Ticks Down in Fourth Quarter

The homeownership rate dropped 0.1 percentage point to 65.2 percent over the fourth quarter 2013. The rate was 0.2 percentage points lower than the rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the Census Bureau.

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FHFA: Mortgage Rates Slightly Up in Year-End Index

Mortgage rates closed out December—and the year—with one final, small increase, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported. FHFA’s national data for December shows the contract interest rate on the composite of all mortgage loans was 4.25 percent, an increase of 3 basis points from the month prior.

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FHA to Accept e-Signatures on More Documents

As part of its ongoing efforts to modernize its processes, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has granted expanded authority to lenders to accept e-Signatures on loan documents. The new policy allows e-Signatures on origination, servicing, and loss mitigation documents. Also included are those related to FHA insurance claims and REO sales contracts.

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First Estimate for Fourth-Quarter GDP Growth: 3.2%

In its “advance” estimate of real gross domestic product (GDP) last quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) put growth at an estimated annual rate of 3.2 percent. For all of 2013, the bureau estimates real GDP increased 1.9 percent compared to a gain of 2.8 percent in 2012.

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Price Gains to Diminish as REO Inventories Dissipate

Housing Recovery 2014

CoreLogic anticipates a substantial deceleration in home price gains this year. In fact, the firm predicts home price gains will fall just below the long-term historical norm of 4.5 percent appreciation annually, which has been maintained since 1975.

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Home Flipping Ramps Up in 2013

RealtyTrac released on Thursday its Year-End and Q4 2013 Home Flipping Report, which shows single-family home flips—in which a home is purchase and sold again within six months—totaled 156,862 last year, up 16 percent from 2012 and 114 percent from 2011.

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Pending Home Sales Fall to Two-Year Low

Pending home sales fell in December to their lowest level since October 2011, according to numbers tracked by the National Association of Realtors. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said there were several factors at play in last month’s falloff in contracts—not the least of which was onset of harsh winter storms.

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Mortgage Rates Down on Tepid Housing Numbers

Fixed mortgage rates this week moved down to their lowest levels so far in 2014, according to surveys from Freddie Mac and finance site Bankrate.com. Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac, pointed to weaker housing data as the driving force behind this week’s rate movements.

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