Monday, January 07, 2013

Tuesday: Apartment Vacancy Rate

by Bill McBride on 1/07/2013 09:06:00 PM

From Alan Zibel and Nick Timiraos at the WSJ: Watchdog to Set Loan Rules

This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will define standards that all mortgage lenders are likely to follow when originating home loans. ...

The rules don't specify a minimum down payment and instead focus on ensuring that banks document borrowers' ability to make their monthly loan payments. Loans in which borrowers make only interest payments for a set period and those in which the principal balance can increase are excluded by law from being "qualified" mortgages. ...

CFPB is likely to offer two ways in which lenders can meet the regulator's standard ... Under the first approach, the regulator will consider as qualified mortgages all loans that receive an approval after being run through the automated underwriting engines maintained by [Fannie, Freddie, FHA], even if they aren't ultimately sold to or insured by those institutions.

Under the second approach, loans would be deemed qualified mortgages if borrowers are spending no more than 43% of their pretax income on monthly debt payments.
In the long run this is an important step. This will insure that most loans are made to a somewhat reasonable standard (43% of pretax income is pretty high) - and no stated income or Alt-A loans will meet these standards (Great news!).

Tuesday economic release:
• Early: Reis Q4 2012 Apartment survey of rents and vacancy rates. In Q3 Reis reported the apartment vacancy rate declined to 4.6%, from 4.7% in Q2. The vacancy rate peaked at 8.0% in Q4 2008 and Q1 2009. With a combination of more supply coming online, and the probable bottom for house prices (motivating some renters to buy), most of the decline in the vacancy rate is probably behind us.

• At 7:30 AM ET, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for December will be released. The consensus is for an increase to 87.9 from 87.5 in November.

• At 3:00 PM, Consumer Credit for November from the Federal Reserve. The consensus is for credit to increase $13.2 billion in November.

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