Holiday season boosted retail sales… and probably coronavirus infections
The promise of the vaccine means we may yet get to travel to MBA Annual in San Diego — planned to be held from October 17-20, 2021. What a party it will be and we are already getting prepared!
Let’s see, business cards? Check.
Breath mints? Check.
COVID-19 vaccine passport? Uhm, maybe.
The holidays brought a 3% bump in retail sales to the economy, mainly in the form of home furnishings.
However, online shopping sales also grew a whopping 49% between October 11 and December 24, further emphasizing how the Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped shopping habits.
The downside of this holiday season is that hospitals say they are bracing for an early 2021 surge in infections due to increased family gatherings. Stay safe out there, everyone! We’re not through this yet.
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FHFA is rethinking appraisal standards and wants to hear from you!
This year, as working from home became the norm, CNN Underscored tested a number of categories — from big purchases like standing desks to privacy-protecting password managers — that make setting up the ideal home office a bit easier.
And it’s probably safe to say that potential homebuyers are looking for properties with an obvious home office. So much so that whether or not a property has a home office may actually impact its valuation.
But that’s not the only thing evolving about appraisals. In fact, the FHFA is rethinking the WHOLE process and wants to hear what you think!
The FHFA today issued a Request for Input on appraisal-related policies, practices, and processes. The input received in response to the RFI will be used to determine the necessary modifications needed to ensure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operate in a safe and sound manner, the FHFA said in a statement.
The RFI covers four areas related to appraisals:
The Uniform Appraisal Dataset and the design of appraisal forms
Automated Valuation Models and appraisal waivers
Valuation differences by borrower and neighborhood ethnic makeup.
“Modernizing the appraisal process has the potential to create a more streamlined and accurate collateral valuation process. But if modernization is not properly adopted, it could have negative unintended consequences,” said Director Mark Calabria. “Today's RFI will improve FHFA's understanding of how the Enterprises can improve the appraisal process while at the same time ensuring they don't take on unintended or inappropriate levels of risk.”
Here’s where the FHFA invites feedback on any and all of their questions within 60 days.
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The second stimulus is signed, so now what? A mortgage servicing nightmare
The second stimulus package is signed, but Congress continues to work through particulars. As of late Monday the stimulus payment to Americans remained between $600 to $2000, with some floating the idea of $1200.
Good money is on the foreclosure moratoria being continued, which leads one market observer to predict an impending mortgage servicing nightmare.
According to 50-year mortgage banking veteran Pat Dalrymple, there are around 3 million residential mortgages that are in forbearance.
“Chaos could be imminent; that suspension is good for no more than a year, after which the debt must be serviced,” he warns, before going into an example of regulatory caution where Mr. Cooper servicing staff got overwhelmed and made bad decisions leading to millions in fines from the CFPB.
Here’s the good bit where he explains why he foresees a nightmare scenario:
“The 3 million in forbearance are with lenders who are probably solvent and committed to handling the resumption of payments. But the sheer volume will be daunting; even the best of systems gets overloaded. Also, the pandemic recession wasn’t the fault of mortgage lenders. Governmental and regulatory agencies know this and will almost certainly tender some assistance and forbearance of their own.”
It’s true that mortgage servicers are getting overloaded, but it’s not exactly landing Americans out on the streets, yet. So, we’ll hold off on joining the “nightmare scenario” chorus for now, but we appreciate the heads up, and respect your opinion, Pat!
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