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Tag Archives: FHFA

Industry, Congress Urge DeMarco Not to Lower Loan Limits

Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco is deliberating lowering the loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Congress and the industry, however, are voicing a singular opposition, claiming such action would be detrimental to the housing recovery that is starting to take place across the country. Federal lawmakers and several industry groups sent letters to DeMarco over the past week, some even questioning the legality of such a move.

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GSEs’ New Secondary Market Infrastructure Takes Shape

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) touted progress made toward building a new common securitization platform between the GSEs, saying the joint venture ""reached some important milestones"" Monday. Paperwork was filed with the state of Delaware, office space has been secured for the new entity, and executive recruiting is already underway.

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Refinances Decline, HARP Refis Still Higher Than Last Year in Q2

As mortgage rates climb, refinances are on the decline. However, refinances through the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) remain elevated compared to last year's volumes, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) Refinance Report for the second quarter of 2013. HARP refinances totaled about 280,000 for the quarter, down slightly from about 290,000 in the first quarter of this year, FHFA reported.

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Agencies Propose Revised QRM Rule

Six federal agencies jointly released their proposed QRM rule that would require lenders to retain risk when selling mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The new proposal was created in consideration of the industry's response to the original proposal issued in 2011. That proposal required lenders to keep a stake in the loans they sold in which borrowers were spending more than 36 percent of their income on payments and in loans with down payments of less than 20 percent. Under the new proposal, the 36 percent income threshold has been raised to 43 percent, and the revised rule also eliminates the down payment requirement.

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FHFA: Steady Quarterly Home Price Gains Continue in Q2

The Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI) rose 2.1 percent from the first to second quarter, marking the eighth consecutive quarterly increase. In June alone, the index was up 0.7 percent month-over-month. Compared with the same quarter last year, home prices increased 7.2 percent, while prices of other goods and services inched up only 1.0 percent. According to FHFA, the inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 6.2 percent over the latest year.

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Report: FHFA Needs Guidelines for Mortgage Servicing Rights Transfers

The Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA OIG) overall approves of Fannie Mae's $11.6 billion settlement earlier this year, though it does raise some questions regarding FHFA's treatment of compensatory fees and servicing transfers. FHFA OIG believes FHFA needs to establish set guidance for compensatory fees. Another concern the OIG labeled in a report is the transfer of servicing rights to specialty servicers.

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FHFA OIG: Borrower Outreach Critical to HARP’s Success

Undoubtedly, broadening eligibility for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has allowed more borrowers to benefit from the program. However, HARP rules aren't the only obstacles stunting refinance volume. A report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA OIG) found a lack of borrower education is also a critical barrier to the program. ""[M]any borrowers have not heard of the program, confuse the program with other government housing programs, or do not realize that they are eligible,"" the report stated.

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Report: GSE Reform Won’t Take Shape for Another Few Years

Although policymakers have been busy introducing legislation to diminish the role of the GSEs, analysts at Moody's Investors Service ""believe GSE reform will not take place for at least a few more years."" In June, Senators Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) led efforts to introduce legislation to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in five years. Then came PATH from the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee in July.

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HARP Refinance Volume Falls 20% from April to May

The number of borrowers who refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) fell 20 percent month-over-month in May, data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) revealed. The GSEs refinanced 84,648 borrowers through HARP in May, down from 106,910 in April. Since HARP's 2009 inception, the program has refinanced over 2.6 million loans.

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FHFA: May Increase Marks 16 Months of Home Price Gains

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, home prices rose on a monthly basis for the 16th consecutive month in May. The agency's Home Price Index (HPI) reported monthly growth of 0.7 percent. On a yearly basis, the national HPI was up 7.3 percent. As of May, the index was 11.2 percent below its April 2007 peak and was roughly level with January 2005's value.

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