According to Fannie Mae, a limited cashout refi loan is a mortgage that meets a variety of criteria and which restrictswith restriction of the amount the borrower can withdraw to not more than the lesser of 2% of the new refinance loan amount or $2,000. In addition, the funds must be utilized only for specific purposes including the payment of closing costs. As the GSE’s have never made a limited cashout flag available in its loan level files, we have never been able to look at the properties of these transactions.
It turns out however, that we can back into identifying some of these loans through the use of the Property Inspection Waver (PIW) flag. As we noted in a recent post, Fannie Mae sets a different standard for obtaining a PIW for a limited cashout refi than for other cashout refis. In fact, the criteria for a limited cashout is the same for a non-cashout refi.
In a recent post we established a correlation between the 30 day dq rate of the loans in the reference pools for the Freddie Mac High LTV STACR CRT program and the share of these loans with high indebtedness as measured by DTI>45 for the month of May. Recently Fannie Mae released the corresponding data for its CAS program and the results are striking. First, the pattern of results we saw for STACR is confirmed. This can be clearly seen if the results of the two programs are overlaid one over the other.
*The Chart 1 and Chart 2 can be duplicated using the following two queries
Limited cashout refinance allows borrowers to attain more favorable mortgage terms, and receive a limited amount of money back at closing.
In a previous post, we mentioned that Fannie Mae has a specific Property Inspection Waiver (PIW) eligibility rule for limited cashout loans, while Freddie Mac makes no such distinction . Compared with regular cashout refis, limited cashout refis have a lower LTV/CLTV requirement for PIW. For example, to be eligible, a limited cashout refi loan can have up to 90% LTV/CLTV comparing to up to 70% for a regular cashout refi loan, if the property is a primary residence or a second home. For investment properties, the LTV/CLTV requirement for a limited cashout refi is less than or equal than 75% while that for a regular cashout refi is 60%.
Appraisals play an important role in managing the risks associated with residential mortgages. Since 2017, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) have published multiple rules (see Appendix below) for lenders to qualify mortgage applications for property inspection waivers (PIW). PIW can reduce the cost of mortgage transactions. However, PIW raised concerns of improper usage among investors, mortgage insurers, regulators and other players in the mortgage market. In particular, research has shown that loans with PIWs prepay much faster than loans without.
In March 2020, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released loan level information regarding “Property Valuation Method” which included the Appraisal Waiver information. The new data regarding PIW’s offers the opportunity to study how this program affects the market.
We have written extensively on the mortgage market impact of the Covid-19 crisis, most recently on the first signs of delinquencies in the loans in the reference pools of the Freddie Mac Structured Agency Credit Risk (STACR) program. In that post we noted the dispersion in 30-day average loan delinquencies by state for May 2020. In this note we look at the distribution of delinquencies in the same month across each of the 28 deals issued to date. We can see a distinct increase in the rate of delinquencies from the onset of the program through 2019, before falling early this year. What can account for this pattern?
In the five-year period from early 2013 to early 2019, we notice that there was a trend loosening in credit standards as measured by the share of loans in Agency securitized pools with debt-to-income ratios in excess of 45. The trend was exacerbated in 2018 due to rising mortgage rates weighing on mortgage production volumes. As rates fell back during the course of 2019, pressure to keep lending standards so loose eased, and fewer high-LTV loans were delivered to the Agencies.
It seems natural to ask if this pattern spills over to the loans in the STACR pools. The chart below shows the share of such loans in high-LTV STACR issues since 2013, plotted against the 30-day May DQ rate for each.
As stay-at-home orders commenced in most of states during the Covid-19 pandemic, home sales have been heavily impacted. A good timely indicator of home sales is Redfin pending sales. Monthly average seven-days total pending sales, which measure the number of total homes that went under contract in the prior seven days, show normal home sales seasonal patterns from Jan 2019 to Feb 2020. However, the number suddenly declined about 14% from 42,978 in Mar 2020 to 36,794 in Apr 2020, reflecting the big hit caused by the pandemic.
What will MBS issuance look like in the near future? Using our powerful data analytics tool Cohort Analyzer, we easily summarized the Agency (GNM, FNM, FHL) MBS Issuance for home purchases from Jan. 2019 to May 2020(month to date as of the 15th business day of the month). The chart below shows the clear leading relationship between pending sales and over MBS purchase issurance. Thus, we can expect that the decline we observed in pending sales in April is likely to show somewhat softer MBS purchase issurance in the early summer. Continued record-low interest rates, perhaps combined with gradual reopening in some states, should we help to support purchase issuance as the summer progresses. However, given the uncertainty surrounding the reopening process, it is still to early to be confident that the impact of the Covid-19 virus on the housing market and purchase mortgage production has formed a bottom.
 The number excludes homes that were on the market longer than 90 days.
 Data provided by Redfin, a national real estate brokerage.
April mortgage deliveries by the agencies Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae showed a rise in deliveries of mortgages to the two agencies for both home purchases and refinances. Purchase mortgage volumes reflect a normal seasonal pattern, while refinances experienced a sharp spike upwards in response to low levels of interest rates. Given normal (and possibly growing) lags related to closing times, many of these contracts were signed in March when rates had already dropped sharply but the full impact of the Covid-19 virus on stay-at-home policies was not yet fully felt.
With the CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security) Act offering forbearance to households with mortgages for up to a year, the onus of payments to mortgage investors falls on the mortgage servicers. Much concern has arisen about the ability of these institutions, particularly thinly capitalized nonbank servicers, to meet these obligations. In the case of Ginnie Mae servicers, the PTAP (Pass-Through Assistance Program) was rolled out to provide a line of credit to servicers in Government programs, notably FHA (Federal Housing Administration) and Veterans Administration (VA). In the case of the GSE’s, no such program has been forthcoming and instead, FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency) the regulator of the Government Sponsored Enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced that servicers of loans insured by these enterprises is only required to pay investors for the first four months if a loan is in forbearance.