Morning Report: MBA urges tweaks to the CFPB

Vital Statistics:


Last Change
S&P futures 3199 3.25
Oil (WTI) 60.61 -0.34
10 year government bond yield 1.89%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.96%


Stocks are flattish this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are flat as well.


Mortgage Applications fell by 5% last wee as purchases fell 2% and refis fell 7%. Mortgage rates were mostly unchanged, even as a potential trade deal between the U.S. and China caused rates to inch forward at the end of last week,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “With rates showing little meaningful movement, both refinance and purchase activity took a step back. As we move into the slowest time of the year for home sales, purchase application volume is declining but continues to outperform year-ago levels, when rates were much higher. Purchase activity was 10 percent higher than a year ago.”


Job openings ticked up to 7.3 million at the end of October, according to the BLS. Retail, financial, and durable goods manufacturing saw the biggest increases. The quits rate was stuck at 2.3%, which is odd given that the labor market is strong and wages are increasing.


iBuying, which means buying or selling property via platforms like Zillow, Opendoor or Offerpad accounted for 10% of all sales in several MSAs. These platforms permit the buyer and seller to bypass the traditional realtor and sell their properties directly to the company sponsoring the exchange. Does this save the seller money, since they aren’t paying realtor commissions? Not really. Zillow charges a 7.5% fee on average, which is higher than the 6% in realtor commissions a seller typically pays. That extra 1.5% is a convenience fee – you don’t have to stage the property, you get a non-contingent offer within a few days, and can sew the process up in a week or two.


The MBA and NAR filed amicus briefs urging the Supreme Court to maintain the CFPB, but to remove the language that says a Director can only be removed for cause. “When determining how to remedy an unconstitutional statute, courts seek to give effect to congressional intent and to avoid unnecessary disruption,” the brief said. “Striking down the entirety of the CFPA, or declaring it unconstitutional without addressing severance, would eliminate or call into question the legitimacy of the detailed, technical regulations that govern past and future real estate finance transactions, not to mention the authority of a federal agency responsible for enforcing a host of consumer protection laws. Such an outcome would immediately cause significant disruption to the American economy, overturning regulatory guideposts, upsetting settled expectations, and creating substantial uncertainty in our housing markets, all in contravention of Congress’s clearly expressed intent to promote financial stability. The Court should avoid causing such harm. Accordingly, in the event that the Court finds the for-cause removal provision unconstitutional, it should sever that provision from the statute.”


After yesterday’s blockbuster housing starts data, Fannie Mae took up their estimates for homebuilding in 2020. They anticipate housing starts will increase by 10% and housing will be the sector that leads the economy going forward.

6 Responses

  1. Interesting:


  2. Taibbi’s latest heresy:

    “Five Questions Still Remaining After the Release of the Horowitz Report

    The inspector general report on the Russia investigation was thorough, but it also raised some head-scratching questions

    By Matt Taibbi”

    Liked by 1 person

    • JNC – that is food for thought. I was certainly one who thought the Steele memo was not central but on less outrageous details was largely proven accurate. I now wonder about both premises.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What was proven in the Steele dossier that was not available via the media prior the publishing of it?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not sure anything was, and also any good spook knows the way to lend credibility to your fictional narrative is to include datapoints generally known to be true. So you argue: this is true and this is true, so this is true, because it’s all in the same paragraph.

          I was never able to take the Steel Dossier seriously. If they had made stuff up about how Trump started Trump University to intentionally defraud people, I’d have just believed that. Or suggested Trump was involved in a bribery scandal with the mob on some real estate deal in New Jersey. I would have believed that. Innocent until proven guilty and all that, but I would have just believed it was true.

          All this “pee on a bed” and Russian collusion stuff was a lot harder to swallow. All the secret meetings to work with Russia to get, apparently, the treasure trove of damning evidence Russia had about Hillary Clinton . . . did not pass the smell test, I gotta say.

          That being said, I gotta think so many FISA warrants are done like this. That system needs to be revisited.


        • I don’t know.


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