Morning Report: Q1 was tough for independent mortgage bankers

Vital Statistics:

Stocks are higher this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are down. Jerome Powell will be speaking at 10:00 am.

Bond yields have been climbing, much to the chagrin of mortgage bankers. Over the past week, the 10 year has tacked on 24 basis points in yield. Some of this is probably due to hawkish comments out of the Fed, but it appears to be global, with the German Bund, UK Gilt, and Japanese Government Bond all moving up in lockstep.

I suspect some people have been hoping that this increase was driven by debt ceiling theater and once we get a resolution yields will begin falling. That might not be in the cards unless the US hits a recession. Note the Atlanta Fed GDP Now model sees 2.9% growth in Q2, which is pretty robust. That said, the GDP Now model was consistently too high in Q1.

Independent Mortgage Banks lost $1,972 on each loan they originated in Q1, according to the MBA. This is an improvement from the $2,812 they lost in the fourth quarter.

“A net production loss of 68 basis points in the first quarter of the year is an improvement over the record 99-basis-point loss reported in the fourth quarter of 2022,” said Marina Walsh, CMB, MBA’s Vice President of Industry Analysis. “Conditions continue to be challenging for the industry, with now four consecutive quarters of production losses and nine consecutive quarters of volume declines.”

Added Walsh, “One silver lining from the first quarter is that production revenues improved by 40 basis points. However, costs continued to escalate with the further drop in volume and reached more than $13,000 per loan despite substantial personnel reductions.”

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators declined again in April, according to the Conference Board. “The LEI for the US declined for the thirteenth consecutive month in April, signaling a worsening economic outlook,” said Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, Senior Manager, Business Cycle Indicators, at The Conference Board. “Weaknesses among underlying components were widespread—but less so than in March’s reading, which resulted in a smaller decline. Only stock prices and manufacturers’ new orders for both capital and consumer goods improved in April. Importantly, the LEI continues to warn of an economic downturn this year. The Conference Board forecasts a contraction of economic activity starting in Q2 leading to a mild recession by mid-2023.”

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Author: Brent Nyitray

In the physical sciences, knowledge is cumulative. In the financial markets, it is cyclical

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