—Company announced its latest Fraud Risk Score Model for the LoanSafe product suite during the event—
CoreLogic shared details from its 2019 Mortgage Fraud Consortium, the leading event for mortgage fraud risk professionals. During the invitation-only event, open only to CoreLogic Fraud Consortium members, CoreLogic announced its newest version of the Fraud Risk Score Model— version 4.0. Delivered within the LoanSafe® product suite, the new model accounts for recent changes in mortgage fraud trends while leveraging new data assets. Drawing experts from more than 25 top financial institutions, this year’s exclusive event was held in San Diego, California, and featured speakers from the FBI, Fifth Third Bank, Cognizant, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and more. The event revolved around the theme of current fraud trends and what they mean for the future market. Program discussions ranged from procedures to improve fraud detection to the impact eroding housing affordability has on fraud risk to how law enforcement officials are working to identify and combat the latest fraud schemes. Additional insights included case studies and best practices to help improve mortgage fraud prevention practices. “This year’s Mortgage Fraud Consortium was another success, providing leading industry professionals with the opportunity to learn about the latest mortgage fraud trends while collaborating on ways to reduce future risk,” said Bridget Berg, principal, Fraud Solutions at CoreLogic. “According to our latest research, the United States has seen a 10% increase in fraud risk from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019. This continual increase reinforces the need for this annual event and we’re proud to continue helping mortgage loan providers mitigate risk and fight back against fraud.” During the event, CoreLogic shared details of the LoanSafe Fraud ManagerTM roadmap and announced version 4.0 of its Fraud Risk Score Model. Integrated into the LoanSafe solution, the updated model provides more transparency into how the Fraud Risk score is calculated through an integration of alerts predictive of fraud risk. The updated score was designed based on feedback from CoreLogic clients to help make lenders more efficient in their fraud detection practices, ultimately saving them time and money. The latest version of the Fraud Risk Score will be released in the summer of 2019.
US ending Iranian oil waivers sends crude oil prices soaring
The US announced Monday that it will not extend waivers to buy Iranian crude oil for five countries –Turkey, South Korea, China, India and Japan — when those waivers expire in early May. The announcement, made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reflects the White House goal of getting Iranian oil exports to zero and was couched as a way of supporting. “We want the Iranian people to know that we are listening to them and standing with them,” he said. Crude oil prices promptly jumped more than 2% to more than $65 per barrel for the first time since November on concerns about how the US termination of Iranian oil waivers will affect global supply. In early trading Monday, West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark American crude, climbed to $65.45, a 2.27% jump, its highest level since Oct. 31, 2018. “The United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, three of the world’s great energy producers, along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied,” the White House said Monday in a statement. “The Trump Administration and our allies are determined to sustain and expand the maximum economic pressure campaign against Iran to end the regime’s destabilizing activity threatening the United States, our partners and allies, and security in the Middle East.” President Trump tweeted that the US and other big oil producers will more than make up for any loss of Iranian oil. It was not immediately clear if any of the five nations would be given additional time to wind down their purchases or if they would be subject to US sanctions on May 3 if they do not immediately halt imports of Iranian oil, according to The Associated Press. The other two countries are China and India.
The US had previously granted eight nations a 180-day waiver to keep buying Iranian crude oil provided that they take steps to cut purchases and eventual end them altogether. Price increases are expected to continue. “I think it’s pretty clear that tightening supplies and receding fears of demand growth is a boost to the market to these 5-month highs,” Gene McGillian, Tradition Energy vice-president of market research in Stamford, Conn., told Reuters. Concerns about global oil supplies also stemmed from the effect of American sanctions against Venezuela and civil unrest in Libya. Rising crude oil prices are boosting the prices of petroleum products, which are refined from crude oil. The average US price of regular gasoline jumped 13 cents a gallon over the last two weeks to $2.91. California is being hit the hardest by the tightening supply: As of late last week, the average gasoline price in the state was about $4.02, according to AAA, compared with the national average of $2.83. Those are the highest prices California has seen since 2014. Prices have risen around 68 cents per gallon over the course of a month. According to Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, it’s a supply crunch resulting from refinery upsets in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
NAR – existing-home sales slide 4.9% in March
Existing-home sales retreated in March, following February’s surge of sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. Each of the four major US regions saw a drop-off in sales, with the Midwest enduring the largest decline last month. Total existing-home sales, https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 4.9% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million in March. Sales as a whole are down 5.4% from a year ago (5.51 million in March 2018). Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, anticipated waning in the numbers for March. “It is not surprising to see a retreat after a powerful surge in sales in the prior month. Still, current sales activity is underperforming in relation to the strength in the jobs markets. The impact of lower mortgage rates has not yet been fully realized.” The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $259,400, up 3.8% from March 2018 ($249,800). March’s price increase marks the 85th straight month of year-over-year gains. Total housing inventory at the end of March increased to 1.68 million, up from 1.63 million existing homes available for sale in February and a 2.4% increase from 1.64 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.6 months in February and up from 3.6 months in March 2018. “Further increases in inventory are highly desirable to keep home prices in check,” says Yun. “The sustained steady gains in home sales can occur when home price appreciation grows at roughly the same pace as wage growth.”
Properties remained on the market for an average of 36 days in March, down from 44 days in February but up from 30 days a year ago. Forty-seven% of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month. Yun says tax policy changes will likely add further complications to the housing sector. “The lower-end market is hot while the upper-end market is not. The expensive home market will experience challenges due to the curtailment of tax deductions of mortgage interest payments and property taxes.” Realtor.com’s Market Hotness Index, measuring time-on-the-market data and listing views per property, revealed that the hottest metro areas in March were Columbus, Ohio; Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.; Midland, Texas; Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif.; and Stockton-Lodi, Calif. According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 4.27% in March from 4.37% in February. The average commitment rate across all of 2018 was 4.54%. “We had been calling for additional inventory, so I am pleased to see that there has been a modest increase on that front,” said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty. “We’re also seeing very favorable mortgage rates, so now would be a great time for those buyers who may have been waiting to make a purchase.” First-time buyers were responsible for 33% of sales in March, up from last month and a year ago (32% and 30%). NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2018 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33%. All-cash sales accounted for 21% of transactions in March, down from February’s 23%, but up from a year ago (20%).
Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 18% of homes in March, up from February’s 16%, and up from a year ago (16%). Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented 3% of sales in March, down from 4% last month and down from 4% in March 2018. One% of March 2019 sales were short sales. Single-family home sales sit at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.67 million in March, down from 4.91 million in February and down 4.7% from 4.90 million a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $261,100 in March, up 3.8% from March 2018. Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 540,000 units in March, down 5.3% from last month and down 11.5% from a year ago. The median existing condo price was $244,400 in March, which is up 3.6% from a year ago. March existing-home sales numbers in the Northeast decreased 2.9% to an annual rate of 670,000, 1.5% below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $277,500, which is up 2.5% from March 2018. In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined 7.9% from last month to an annual rate of 1.17 million, 8.6% below March 2018 levels. The median price in the Midwest was $200,500, which is up 4.6% from last year. Existing-home sales in the South dropped 3.4% to an annual rate of 2.28 million in March, down 2.1% from last year. The median price in the South was $227,400, up 2.4% from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West fell 6.0% to an annual rate of 1.09 million in March, 10.7% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $389,300, up 3.1% from March 2018.
Elizabeth Warren wants to ‘cancel’ student debt for millions
Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced a proposal on Monday aimed at alleviating the student loan debt crisis by largely eliminating the obligations altogether. The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Opens a New Window. wrote in a blog post on Medium that she would like to cancel $50,000 in student debt for individuals with household incomes below $100,000 – or about 42 million people. American households with higher incomes, up to $250,000, would also see some of their debt written off as well. The $50,000 cancellation amount would phase out by $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000. Individuals with incomes of more than $250,000 would not have their debts reduced. Warren says the cancellation would take place automatically using data the government already has available to it. Outstanding student loan debt has doubled over the past decade to more than $1.5 trillion in 2018 and is now second only to the amount of mortgage debt held by Americans. It has been named as a contributor to declining home ownership rates among young adults. The Massachusetts lawmaker also wants to make college tuition free for all Americans, with the opportunity to attend either a two- or four-year course at a public institution at no cost. Warren’s office estimates her student debt cancellation proposal would cost $640 billion, while the Universal Free College program would bring the total up to $1.25 trillion over the course of the decade. Warren said that would be entirely covered through a tax proposal she announced earlier this year, which she calls the “ultra-millionaire tax.” The tax would be equal to 2% for those with more than $50 million in assets, but would rise to 3% for those who have assets valued at more than $1 billion. According to economists from the University of California, Berkeley, who helped write the proposal, the tax would raise $2.75 trillion over the course of a decade. It would only apply to less than 0.1% of the population or about 75,000 families.