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:
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:
The LMBI Flag
On February 9, Ginnie Mae announced a new Low-Moderate Income Borrower (LMBI) disclosure “in response to investor interest in having greater transparency into Ginnie Mae mortgages in pools, in particular as part of meeting Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment mandates”.
“The new disclosures capture the number of underlying loans made to LMI borrowers, the percentage of LMI loan count of total loan count, the unpaid principal balance (UPB) of LMI loans in the mortgage-backed security (MBS), and the percentage of LMI UPB of total MBS UPB.”
“LMI households are classified according to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) Median Family Income Report Tables corresponding with the time of loan origination. These disclosures are being provided at the aggregate pool level for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans originated beginning in 2012.”
In other words, grist for the Recursion mill. First, we look at the share of Ginnie vintage 2012 and later pools that consist of loans for which more than 50% are LMBI borrowers:
The release of 2021 HMDA data in March set off a familiar round of impactful analysis. However, there are components that cannot be obtained unit the final release in July, including the important category of manufactured housing, a key piece of the policy discussion around affordable housing. Last year we dug into this topic and it would be a good time to update this analysis with new information from the final 2021 release.
First of all, manufactured housing experienced a resurgence in 2021:
In a recent post, we discussed findings obtained with the recent release of 2021 HMDA data. Among other things, we looked at the share of mortgage originations by income group and product type. In this note, we look at the difference in lending patterns between the banks and nonbanks.
The incentive behind this approach is policy driven. There is a long history of measures taken to encourage lenders and builders to foster economic development in low-income areas via the housing market. For example, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) stipulates that a bank’s performance with regards to compliance of their regulatory requirements depends in part on:
“the geographic distribution of loans—that is, the proportion of the bank's total loans made within its assessment area; how these loans are distributed among low-, moderate-, middle-, and upper income locations”
To assess this issue, we assign a flag to each of the census tracts designated by HUD as having a greater than 51% share of households with incomes in the Low-to-Moderate (LMI) range in the larger MSA the tract is part of, which are called LMI area by HUD, or “low income” tracts by FHFA. Below find a chart of the 10-year trend in the share of loans originated in this category by institution type for conventional and FHA loans:
2021 HMDA Takeaways
On March 24, the CFPB released HMDA data for 2021, with results obtained from 4,316 reporters, little changed from 4,472 reporters in 2020, but well below the 5,505 respondents reached in 2019. There are yet more companies are expected to report to 2021 HMDA. However, our experience from previous year indicates little change in big picture when reporting is finalized. The drop reported in the number of reporters in 2020 vs 2019 is largely due to a reduction in the number of loans that a bank needed to underwrite, requiring a report to be filed starting in 2020.
This data is used for market sizing by regulators and market participants, but it also represents a treasure trove of information regarding lender and consumer behavior across a wide variety of economic and market regimes. 2021 was notable for being the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is associated with expansive monetary and fiscal policies and surging house prices.
This report will briefly assess trends across a variety of topics.
After surging by 47% in 2020 to 24.8 million from 2019, the number of loan activities reported in 2021 HMDA ticked up by just 2% to 25.2 million, almost 40% below the record high 41.5 million attained in 2003. Similarly, the number of loans originated reported in 2020 jumped by 57% from the prior year to 14.2 million, while in 2021 the figure rose by only 3% to 14.6 million, down by about one-third from the 2003 peak of 21.4 million.