The release of the Agency performance data in early May provided confirmation that the dip in Early Payment Defaults we have witnessed over the last three months ended a 16-month long uptrend in this statistic for FHA loans. A similar but far more muted pattern can be seen for VA and conventional mortgages. In a previous post, we speculated that the uptrend was correlated with the higher inflationary trend observed since early 2021. Below please find an update of the chart:
Banking Crisis Extends Mortgage Winter
As daily April Agency mortgage loan delivery data completed, we found convincing evidence that the freeze in market activities we have witnessed since the fourth quarter of 2022 is continuing, although there are some new twists.
Here is the chart for the loan counts of purchase market deliveries to the GSEs back to 2019. Rather than do this as a time series, we stack the years over an annual monthly x-axis to better correct for the seasonality in the time series:
The Condo Market and the “E” in ESG
The recent release of “Social Scores” on the part of the GSE’s serves to point out the broad range of ESG issues facing the mortgage market. Of course, this covers a lot of policy territory, and over time investors, lenders and policymakers will have to come to grips with the details associated with these concerns. In today’s post, we look at environmental issues related to the condo market.
These issues came to a head with the disaster in Surfside Florida in June 2021, when the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condo, resulted in 98 deaths and over $1 billion being awarded to victims in a class action lawsuit. Implications for regulation and insurance costs continue to be felt as the event brought home the immediacy of issues surrounding climate change to the general public.
In October 2021, Fannie Mae issued a Lender Letter presenting tightened requirements that impact the eligibility of loans made in buildings with five or more attached units. These new policies were “designed to support the ongoing viability of condo and co-op projects…(as) aging infrastructure and significant deferred maintenance are a growing concern across the nation.” These new standards came into effect on January 1, 2022. Among other things, they may land a building on an “unavailable” status if there is significant deferred maintenance, failure to pass local regulatory inspections, or not meeting the 10% budget reserve requirement.
To see if there is any impact, we start with a look at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae condo loan deliveries from January 2019 to March 2023. During this period, the two Enterprises delivered 1.16 million purchase loans securitized by a condo, of which Fannie Mae generally had a share of about 57%:
The Impact of ESG on the GSE Market
Since the end of last year, the Government Sponsored Enterprises have released so-called “Social Score” Indexes that are made to appeal to ESG investors. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac produce scores at the pool level based on a variety of social metrics. The following methodology summary comes from Fannie Mae (Freddie Mac has adopted the same methodology as Fannie Mae’s):
Social Trends from 2022 HMDA
In a previous note, we looked at mortgage trends derived from the recent release of 2022 HMDA data. Of course, HMDA is a prime data source for analysts and policymakers who seek to understand how social and economic trends interact. The most discussed issue is the distribution of originations by race. Below find a bar chart for the share of originations by race annually from 2004-2022 by loan count:
2022 HMDA is Out!
The cherry blossoms are blooming, which means it’s time for the HMDA preliminary data set to be released. The dataset provides a social underpinning to the nation’s mortgage market and enhances our understanding of the behavior of borrowers and lenders. The 2022 dataset has been particularly eagerly awaited, as we get our view on the new world of high inflation and mortgage rates for the first time in decades. We start with origination volumes and get not just confirmation of the onset of mortgage winter, but some breakdown of its characteristics.
A Look at the Ginnie Mae 40-Year Mod
With all eyes on the turmoil in the banking sector, it’s good to see that policymakers continue to innovate to help borrowers. Earlier this month, HUD published Mortgagee Letter 2023-06 “Establishment of the 40-Year Loan Modification Loss Mitigation Option”, which establishes the 40-year standalone Loan Modification into FHA’s COVID-19 Loss Mitigation policies. The standalone 40-yr mod is scheduled to be implemented by May 8. This follows the establishment of a 40-yr modification with a partial claim in April 2022. The introduction of standalone 40-yr mods reminded us that we haven’t focused on the progress of the 40-year mod with a partial claim identified by pool prefix “ET”. Below find a chart of issuance by program:
Recursion cited in National Mortgage News Story “UBS, Credit Suisse pact stabilizes key source of mortgage financing”
In a recent story about the impact of the recent banking turmoil, National Mortgage News cited Recursion data in noting that both UBS and Credit Suisse have little direct tie to mortgage lending in the US. In the same story, Recursion Chief Research Officer Richard Koss was cited as saying that a hard landing in the economy related to bank issues could lead to cost pressure on servicers.
The article can be found on the National Mortgage News website (paywall).