Market Commentary 06/21/2024, Market Commentary 06/21/2024

Market Commentary 06/21/2024

Housing Inventory Remains Tight As Mortgage Rates Drift Lower

Existing Home Sales: Trends and Insights

Existing home sales data has confirmed what industry insiders already knew: home inventory is extremely tight in many parts of the country. California is no exception. Home valuations continue to rise despite increased interest rates. There is growing optimism that interest rates have leveled off. Should rates drift lower, there’s a possibility for an increase in existing home inventory. Additional inventory could pressure sellers, but it would provide potential buyers more options across affordable, mid, and luxury home spaces up to $5M, significantly boosting activity.

The Rise of Non-QM Loans

Non-QM loans, typically offered by smaller banks, credit unions, and mortgage banks, provide more favorable guidelines, higher debt-to-income ratios, and interest-only products for borrowers who can’t qualify through traditional means. These “individual lending” loans do not rely on rigid guidelines. Instead, they focus on bank reserves, bank statement cash flow, foreign income, or rental income to qualify borrowers. Despite concerns about a repeat of 2008, these loans go through robust underwriting and require significant borrower investment, contributing to their strong performance since their introduction about a decade ago. Insignia Mortgage has identified non-QM lenders that are now comfortable with larger loan sizes up to $10M. 

Economic Outlook and Mortgage Rates

The economy presents a mixture of good and bad data. Technological advancements have created efficiencies, which some forecasters believe will lead to lower rates. However, input costs, commodity costs, and service costs remain high, hurting small business owners. Government debt remains a worry and needs to be monitored as the deficit continues to balloon. However, recent Fed comments have given the all-clear for banks to gradually lower rates. A+ borrowers will start seeing offers under 6%, and non-QM borrowers will find rates in the high 6’s to low 7’s, benefiting the existing home sales market.

Indicators for Mortgage Rate Trends

Monitoring oil prices and the 2- and 10-year Treasuries provides insights into mortgage rate trends. Oil prices and interest rates are closely correlated, moving symbiotically. The 2-year Treasury is a good proxy for shorter-term jumbo ARM pricing, such as 5-year ARMs, while the 10-year Treasury serves as a proxy for jumbo 10-year ARMs. For instance, with the 10-year Treasury down about 35 basis points recently, many jumbo lenders have lowered rates on their 7- and 10-year ARM products by about 25 basis points, offering a reliable estimate of rate direction and potential decreases.

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These are the opinions of the author. For financial advice, please talk to your CPA or financial professional.