Slideshow 7 key takeaways from MBA Secondary '17

  • May 03 2017, 5:48pm EDT

From housing finance reform to the latest economic projections, here's a look at the biggest stories and best insights from this week's Mortgage Bankers Association National Secondary Market Conference in New York.

Housing reform becomes urgent as GSEs' capital buffer nears zero

No matter what form government-sponsored enterprise reform takes, Federal Housing Finance Agency officials are stressing that it should account for the fact that the GSEs' capital buffer will soon hit zero.

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MBA's Stevens slams calls to 'recap and release' GSEs

MBA President David Stevens is confident that housing finance reform will move forward under the Trump administration, but criticized calls to simply let the government-sponsored enterprises recapitalize and be returned to shareholders without additional reforms.

GSEs want to do more single-family rental financing

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue to pursue opportunities for the government-sponsored enterprises to provide liquidity to the single-family rental market, despite opposition from mortgage and real estate industry groups.

Consensus on total origination volume…

The chief economists for the MBA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — Mike Fratantoni, Doug Duncan and Sean Becketti — have similar projections for 2017 volume: $1.58 trillion, $1.55 trillion and $1.59 trillion, respectively.

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…But not on purchase volume

But Freddie Mac projects $1.12 trillion in purchase volume this year, $4 billion more than the MBA and $6 billion more than Fannie Mae. Purchases could go higher if more supply came on the market, Becketti said.

A slower pace of purchase app growth

The MBA dialed back its purchase outlook based on its Weekly Application Survey, Fratantoni said. At this time last year, purchase application volume was 10% to 15% ahead of where it was in 2015. In 2017, purchases are just 1% to 6% ahead of the same week in 2016.

Consumers worried about price increases

Recent results in Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index survey showed "a movement upward in sales this year but not a strong movement upward," Duncan said. "People are now starting to register concerns about prices. It's becoming a factor towards the sentiment of buying a house."