Lender’s stance on MLS, house prices decline, GDP slow, Guaranty Bank closes a business unit

April 30th, 2008 · No Comments


“I’m so old, I stopped buying green bananas.” And I remember when they didn’t have the MLS! Often agents work with properties just off the multiple listing services. What are some of the policies of the larger investors? Astoria says that the property must be off the market for 3 months prior to the application date. AmTrust has no restrictions for rate/term, but requires a strong letter of explanation for cancelled MLS as wells as proof that it has been taken off MLS. For cash-out, they require a lag of 3 months, 6 for non-owner, with LTV restrictions. Chase and Taylor Bean want 30 days for rate/term, with a cancelled MLS agreement, or 90 days for cash out for non-owner. Citi also requires 90 days. This is better than Countrywide and Wells Fargo, who require 6 months. Flagstar & GMAC are similar: one day off of MLS, with proof of being de-listed and a letter of explanation, although jumbo loans for them may require 90-180 days depending on occupancy and cash out.

Yesterday it was reported that house prices are continuing to fall at a fast pace: 12.7% year-over-year. If one took the February price decline and translated to a yearly rate, it would be 25%! Granted, the S&P Case Shiller index only looks at twenty cities, but aside from Charlotte , prices are falling everywhere else, as previous pockets of strength in the Northwest and parts of the South have disappeared. Some cities showed extremely rapid price declines. The three month annualized changes for Las Vegas and San Francisco were -41% and -36% respectively, and the worst numbers were for cities that had tremendous price appreciation in prior years: San Francisco , Las Vegas , Los Angeles , Phoenix , San Diego , Tampa and Miami .

According to the Census Bureau, the share of vacant U.S. homes rose to a record level in the first quarter, with the percentage of owner-occupied homes now sitting empty at 2.9%, the third quarter in a row in which the vacancy rate increased.

Would you like more poor credit news? We all know that mortgage lending, and student loans, has gotten tight. We have not begun to see how tight it is going to get for business, car, and personal loans including potential credit card losses. Apparently banks are sitting on large amounts of cash, preparing for more loss provisions, and there is too little money for lending of any kind for now.  Fortunately the fear of counter-party risk has subsided since the Fed’s backing of the Bear Stearns/JP Morgan deal.

Guaranty Bank shuttered their correspondent division yesterday. “Elimination of the Correspondent Lending Unit allows Guaranty to increase its focus on consumer lending within the Retail Banking Franchise and continue as a significant lender in the Mortgage Warehouse Lending Market.”

The Commerce Department announced that GDP for the first quarter was +.6%. Analysts believe that although this is not recessionary in the strict sense of the word, the American economy is “in the slow lane” for the first three months of the year. But at this point most eyes are on the Fed, and more specifically the Fed’s verbiage, for their 11:15AM PST announcement. Will .250 move the market? If they do nothing will rates shoot up? If they lower a quarter, and then say that they’re comfortable, will rates get worse? Stay tuned…

In the Circle of Life, what is “Success”?

At the age of 3, success means not soiling one’s pants.

At the age of 12, success means having friends.

At the age of 18, success means having a driver’s license.

At the age of 20, success means sleeping with someone.

At the age of 35, success means having money.

At the age of 50, success means having money.

At the age of 60, success means sleeping with someone.

At the age of 70, success means having a driver’s license.

At the age of 75, success means still having friends.

At the age of 80, success means not soiling one’s pants.

Rob  Chrisman

Tags: Commentary · Mortgage Market

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