Why Fannie Mae’s 50% DTI For Mortgages Won’t Get To 100,000 Loans

The mortgage giant Fannie Mae reecently raised their Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio from 45% to 50%. The Urban Institute, a left-wing think tank, claimed in a study by Ed Golding and Laurie Goodman that this increase in DTI will increase mortgage lending by 100,000 (mostly to minorities). fannie_mae_raises_dti_limit_0

While Golding and Goodman are very intelligent people, they have forgotten one economic rule: lower credit standards can’t compensate for lack of savings and lack of earnings.

Wage growth (average hourly earnings) and personal savings rate are lower today than they were pre-1980. And wage growth never quite recovered from The Great Recession, although the personal savings rate is higher.

Unfortunately, while homeownership has correlated with home prices from 1995 through 2005, home prices have been rising since 2012 while homeownership has declined.

According to the US Census, black alone homeownership in Q1 2017 is estimated to be 42.7% while white alone is 71.8%. Hispanic homeownership rate is 46.6%. A clear gap between races in homeownership.

With low wage growth and low personal savings rates, it will be hard to raise homeownership rates among minorities unless there is a corresponding increase in loan-to-value (LTV) ratios and/or a decline in required credit (FICO) scores.

The Abduction of the Sabine Women

sabinewomen

The Hangover: US Economy Still Suffers From The Housing Bubble Burst And Bad DC Policies

Bloomberg View has an interesting editorial entitled, “Yes, Financial Crises Do Bring Hangovers.”

In an essay making the rounds this week, four prominent academic economists and former government officials argue that something needs to be done to accelerate the pace of what they call “the weakest economic expansion since World War II.” Their recipe for speeding things up is lower taxes and less entitlement spending, and I’m not going to get into whether that’s really such a good idea, in part because I imagine lots of other people will take up that argument and in part because I just don’t know the answer.

But I was struck by the second paragraph of the piece, written by John F. Cogan, Glenn Hubbard, John B. Taylor and Kevin Warsh, 1 which goes like this:

We do not share the view that the recent period of weak economic growth was simply an inevitable result of the financial crisis. Economic recoveries tend to be stronger after deep recessions, and any residual headwinds from the crisis should have long been remedied had progrowth policies been adopted. Historically, some post-crisis periods are marked by lower economic growth, but we believe that the poor conduct of economic policy bears much of that burden.

It turns out both sides are correct. The housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis contributed to a weak recovery. And then economic policies following the housing bubble collapse focued on financial regulation and a terrible healthcare bill (aka, Obamacare) rather than creating economic growth.

The root cause of the financial crisis was the massive (and unsustainable) expansion of credit, particularly for real estate loans.  Thanks in part to 1) regulations such as Dodd-Frank and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 2) a hangover from too much credit, real estate lending growth continues to be lower than any other recovery since World War II.

Commercial and industrial lending YoY is approaching recession levels.

And M2 Money Velolcity (GDP/Money Stock) continues to decline to the lowest level in modern times reflecting the stagnant GDP growth coupled with massive expansion of money stock.

Two examples of “The Hangover” are the 1) historically low levels of new homes sold and 2) the worst wage recovery since 1965.

Add into that the repression of bank deposit rates courtesy of Greenspan, Bernanke and Yelle, and we have a dismal recovery.

And lest we forget, the GINI index of income inequality increases after every recession, regardless of President and Congressional majorities.

Yes, the poor recovery of the US economy is a product of 1) hangover from the housing bubble and financial crisis, and 2) poor economic policies eminating from Washington DC.

ECB’s Balance Sheet Almost The Size of Japan’s Entire GDP (While Japan’s Inflation Rate Is ZERO)

And you think Janet Yellen and The Fed have an inflation problem!

Japan is currently experiencing ZERO inflation.

But the European Central Bank’s balance sheet is nearly as large as Japan’s entire GDP!

20170718_gdp

Japan’s sovereign yield curve is negative for maturities of less than 8 years. And a yield on their 40 year bond of just above 1%??

Like Puerto Rico and the State of Illinois, Japan is experiencing a decline in their working age population while its share of population over 65 is over 25%.

 

Alarm! Sales At Full-service Restaurants Have Been Declining YoY Since 2014.

Retail sales at full-service restaurants have been generally declining YoY since the end of 2014.

Let’s hope that declining sales at full service restaurants isn’t a warning siren for an impending recession.

Chicago Illinois River North downtown Centro Ristorante restaurant is now closed.

Alarm!

 

Moody’s Down Grades Hartford CT As Wage-to-Cost Of Living Gap Drives Household Debt Growth

Despite what is touted by the Federal Reserve (debt is good!), states and municipalities are drowning in debt. As are US households.

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the City of Hartford, CT’s general obligation debt rating to B2 from Ba2. The outlook is negative.

The Hartford General Obligation bond is at 6.971% based on $82.768.

The rating was placed under review for possible downgrade on May 30, 2017. The par amount of debt affected totals approximately $550 million.

The downgrade reflects the increased likelihood that the city will pursue debt restructurings to address its fiscal challenges. Last week, the city hired a law firm to advise it on debt restructurings. City management has made public statements indicating they will need to have discussions with bondholders about restructuring its debt regardless of the outcome of the state’s biennial budget as debt service costs escalate sharply leading to budget deficits over the next five years.

The rating also reflects the city’s challenging liquidity outlook in the current fiscal year and weak prospects for achievement of sustainably balanced financial operations. The city currently projects a fiscal 2018 deficit of $50 million and is seeking incremental funding from the state to close that gap. The state has not yet adopted a budget specifying aid for the city for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Even if the state’s biennial budget allocates sufficient funds to address the current and following years deficits and create a fiscal oversight structure, the budget is still unlikely to provide a pathway to structural balance over the longer term. City deficits, partially attributable to escalating debt service costs, are projected to grow to $83 million by 2023, making the city’s weak financial position vulnerable to further deterioration.

Rating Outlook

The negative outlook reflects the possibility that the city will restructure its debt in a way that will impair bondholders. The outlook also incorporates uncertainty over state funding in the current fiscal year and beyond and the associated impact on reserves, liquidity and the ability to achieve sustainably balanced operations.

That is the City of Hartford that is in trouble due to excessive debt relative to tax receipts. But what about US households?

The rising cost of living relative to wage growth is leading to excessive debt use to maintain a standard of living.

 

Mortgage Applications Plunge As Rate-Hikes Tank Refis

Fed Chair Janet Yellen shot an arrow into the air,  It fell to earth, but now we know where!

Mortgage applications decreased 7.4 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 7, 2017. This week’s results include an adjustment for the Fourth of July holiday.

The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 22 percent compared with the previous week and was 3 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier.

The Refinance Index decreased 13 percent from the previous week to the lowest level since January 2017.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) increased to its highest level since May 2017, 4.20 percent, from 4.13 percent, with points decreasing to 0.31 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.