MBA national forbearance metrics; 2/8/21

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 8, 2021) – The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased by 3 basis points from 5.38% of servicers’ portfolio volume in the prior week to 5.35% as of January 31, 2021. According to MBA’s estimate, 2.7 million homeowners are in forbearance plans.

The share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in forbearance decreased to 3.07% – a 3-basis-point improvement. Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance decreased 5 basis points to 7.46%, while the forbearance share for portfolio loans and private-label securities (PLS) decreased by 2 basis points to 9.14%. The percentage of loans in forbearance for independent mortgage bank (IMB) servicers decreased 4 basis points to 5.73%, and the percentage of loans in forbearance for depository servicers decreased 1 basis point to 5.36%.  

“The share of loans in forbearance decreased at the end of January across all investor categories. Almost 14 percent of homeowners in forbearance were reported as current on their payments at the end of last month, but the share has declined nearly every month from 28 percent in May,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “While new forbearance requests increased slightly at the end of January, the rate of exits picked up somewhat but remained much lower than in recent months. We are anticipating a sharp increase in exits in March and April as borrowers hit the 12-month expiration of their forbearance plans.”  

Fratantoni added, “The job market rebounded slightly in January following a decline in December, but there are still 6.5 percent fewer jobs in the U.S. economy compared to February 2020. The proportion of long-term unemployed also remains troubling, with 4 million people who have been actively looking for work for 27 weeks or more. These are the homeowners who are likely to still be in forbearance and need additional support until the job market recovers to a greater extent.”

Key findings of MBA’s Forbearance and Call Volume Survey – January 25 to January 31, 2021

  • Total loans in forbearance decreased by 3 basis points relative to the prior week: from 5.38% to 5.35%.
    • By investor type, the share of Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance decreased relative to the prior week: from 7.51% to 7.46%.
    • The share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in forbearance decreased relative to the prior week: from 3.10% to 3.07%.
    • The share of other loans (e.g., portfolio and PLS loans) in forbearance decreased relative to the prior week: from 9.16% to 9.14%.
  • By stage, 16.52% of total loans in forbearance are in the initial forbearance plan stage, while 80.98% are in a forbearance extension. The remaining 2.50% are forbearance re-entries.
  • Total weekly forbearance requests as a percent of servicing portfolio volume (#) increased relative to the prior week: from 0.06% to 0.07%.
  • Of the cumulative forbearance exits for the period from June 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021:
    • 28.4% represented borrowers who continued to make their monthly payments during their forbearance period.
    • 25.5% resulted in a loan deferral/partial claim.
    • 15.6% resulted in reinstatements, in which past-due amounts are paid back when exiting forbearance.
    • 13.5% represented borrowers who did not make all of their monthly payments and exited forbearance without a loss mitigation plan in place yet.
    • 7.7% resulted in a loan modification or trial loan modification.
    •  7.5% resulted in loans paid off through either a refinance or by selling the home.
    • The remaining 1.8% resulted in repayment plans, short sales, deed-in-lieus or other reasons.
  • Weekly servicer call center volume:
    • As a percent of servicing portfolio volume (#), calls increased from the previous week from 7.2% to 8.4%.
    • Average speed to answer decreased from 2.4 minutes to 2.2 minutes.
    • Abandonment rates decreased from 6.7% to 6.2%.
    • Average call length remained unchanged relative to the prior two weeks at 8.0 minutes.
  • Loans in forbearance as a share of servicing portfolio volume (#) as of January 31, 2021:
    • Total: 5.35% (previous week: 5.38%)
    • IMBs: 5.73% (previous week: 5.77%)
    • Depositories: 5.36% (previous week: 5.37%)

MBA’s latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey covers the period from January 25 through January 31, 2021, and represents 74% of the first-mortgage servicing market (37.0 million loans). To subscribe to the full report, go to www.mba.org/fbsurvey. If you are a mortgage servicer interested in participating in the survey, email fbsurvey@mba.org.   NOTE: Due to the observance of President’s Day next Monday, February 15, 2021, the next Forbearance and Call Volume Survey will be released on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 4 p.m. ET. 

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Conference Board Employment Trends Index; January 2021

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) Increased in January

Uncertainty Remains, but a Stronger Labor Market Recovery May Occur by Late Spring

NEW YORK, February 8, 2021…The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) increased in January, the ninth consecutive monthly increase since May of last year. The index now stands at 99.27, up from 98.55 (a downward revision) in December. The index is currently down 10.0 percent from a year ago.

“The Employment Trends Index has been increasing in recent months, with the largest contributing component being the number of jobs in the temporary help industry. Over the next few months, expect some uncertainty around job growth, especially if some potentially adverse COVID-19 developments manifest – namely, the rapid spread of more aggressive virus strains. On the upside, however, by spring we expect strong job growth to resume and continue throughout the remainder of the year,” said Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute. “By late spring, we expect that the number of new infections will be significantly lower due to the rollout of vaccinations, possibly prompting businesses to start adding jobs again at an accelerated pace. Most of the job gains are expected in in-person services such as restaurants, hotels, recreation, passenger transportation, and childcare services. Between now and the end of the year, the unemployment rate could drop to about 5 percent.”

January’s increase was driven by positive contributions from five of the eight components. From the largest positive contributor to the smallest, the components were: Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry; Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers; Industrial Production; Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now; and Job Openings.

The Employment Trends Index is a leading composite index for employment. Turning points in the index indicate that a turning point in employment is about to occur in the coming months. The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight leading indicators of employment, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight leading indicators of employment aggregated into the Employment Trends Index include:

*Statistical imputation for the recent month

**Statistical imputation for two most recent months

The Conference Board publishes the Employment Trends Index monthly, at 10 a.m. ET, on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report. The technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: http://www.conference-board.org/data/eti.cfm.

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org.

Media Contact

Jonathan.Liu@tcb.org

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Conference Board commentary on BLS employment metrics

Commentary on today’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report

By Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Market Institute

After a decline in December, in January the number of jobs increased by just 49,000, undershooting economists’ expectations. The employment level is still nearly 9 million jobs lower relative to pre-pandemic levels. The published unemployment rate significantly dropped from 6.7 to 6.3 percent, and the true rate, after adjusting for the misclassification error, is 6.9 percent. The labor force participation rate slightly declined to 61.4 percent, and unlike the unemployment rate it is not showing signs of improvement in recent months.

In January, the number of jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector continued to decline, but much less rapidly than in December. Sectors that had been doing well, such as manufacturing, warehousing, and retail, were weak in January. On the positive side, the most notable increase, 80,900, was in the temporary help industry, one of the most reliable leading indicators of employment, suggesting that job growth may improve in the coming months.

The number of new infections in the US peaked in early January, after which it has been sharply declining. However, the labor market continues to be at risk of job losses. Over the next couple of months, there will be two competing forces that will determine how the labor market will expand: new strains of the coronarvirus, which may spread more rapidly, and the distribution of vaccines.

By late spring, however, we expect that the number of new cases will be significantly lower due to the rollout of vaccinations, and the economy could start adding jobs again at an accelerated pace. Between now and the end of the year, around 4 million jobs could be gained, and the unemployment rate could drop to about 5 percent. Larger-than-expected government stimulus could lead to even larger job gains.

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National residential new home sales; December, 2020

MONTHLY NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES, DECEMBER 2020
Release Number: CB21-12
January 28, 2021 – The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly
announced the following new residential sales statistics for December 2020:
NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES
DECEMBER 2020
New Houses Sold1
: 842,000
New Houses For Sale2
: 302,000
Median Sales Price: $355,900

New Home Sales
Sales of new single-family houses in December 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 842,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is 1.6 percent (±15.8 percent)* above the revised November rate of 829,000 and is 15.2 percent (±17.2 percent)* above the December 2019 estimate of 731,000.


An estimated 811,000 new homes were sold in 2020. This is 18.8 percent (±4.3 percent) above the 2019 figure of 683,000.


Sales Price
The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2020 was $355,900. The average sales price was $394,900.


For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply
The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 302,000. This represents a supply of 4.3 months at the current sales rate.

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Conference Board LEI index for December; 2020

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. Increased in December

This month’s release incorporates annual benchmark revisions to the composite economic indexes, which bring them up-to-date with revisions in the source data. These revisions do not change the cyclical properties of the indexes. The indexes are updated throughout the year, but only for the previous six months. Data revisions that fall outside of the moving six-month window are not incorporated until the benchmark revision is made and the entire histories of the indexes are recomputed. As a result, the revised indexes, in levels and month-on-month changes, will not be directly comparable to those issued prior to the benchmark revision. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.conference-board.org/data/bci.cfm or contact us at indicators@conference-board.org

NEW YORK, January 28, 2021The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI)for theU.S. increased 0.3 percent in December to 109.5 (2016 = 100), following a 0.7 percent increase in November and a 0.9 percent increase in October.

“The US LEI’s slowing pace of increase in December suggests that US economic growth continues to moderate in the first quarter of 2021. Improvements in the US LEI were very broad-based among the leading indicators, except for rising initial claims for unemployment insurance and a mixed consumer outlook on business and economic conditions,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. “While the resurgence of COVID-19 and weak labor markets remain barriers to growth, The Conference Board expects the economy to expand by at least 2.0 percent (annual rate) in Q1 and then gain momentum throughout the year.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in December to 103.3 (2016 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in November and a 0.6 percent increase in October.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. increased 0.1 percent in December to 107.6 (2016 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in November and a 0.2 percent increase in October.

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Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index; 1/21

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® Improved in January

New York, January 26, 2021…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® improved moderately in January, after decreasing in December. The Index now stands at 89.3 (1985=100), up from 87.1 in December. However, the Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased from 87.2 to 84.4. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions – increased from 87.0 in December to 92.5 this month.  

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was January 14.

“Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions weakened further in January, with COVID-19 still the major suppressor,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ expectations for the economy and jobs, however, advanced further, suggesting that consumers foresee conditions improving in the not-too-distant future. In addition, the percent of consumers who said they intend to purchase a home in the next six months improved, suggesting that the pace of home sales should remain robust in early 2021.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions weakened further in January. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 15.4 percent to 15.8 percent, but those claiming business conditions are “bad” also increased, from 39.7 percent to 42.8 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also less favorable. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” declined from 21.0 percent to 20.6 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose from 22.9 percent to 23.8 percent.

Consumers, however, have continued to grow more optimistic about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 29.5 percent to 33.7 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen decreased from 22.0 percent to 18.1 percent. Consumers’ outlook regarding the job market also improved. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 28.0 percent to 31.3 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 22.2 percent to 21.4 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an increase declined from 15.7 percent to 14.4 percent, however the proportion expecting a decrease also declined from 14.6 percent to 14.2 percent.

Source: January 2021 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #8015

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National residential construction metrics for December, 2020

Privately-owned housing starts in December 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,669,000. This is 5.8 percent (+/- 11.0%)* above the revised November 2020 estimate of 1,578,000.


December 2020: +5.8* % change
November 2020 (r): +3.1* % change

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Conference Board Employment Trends Index; December 2020

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) Remained Unchanged in December

The spread of COVID-19 and resulting policy restrictions halt labor market recovery

NEW YORK, January 11, 2021…The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) was virtually unchanged in December, after seven consecutive monthly increases that started in May. The index now stands at 99.01, down from 99.05 (an upward revision) in November. The index is currently down 9.2 percent from a year ago.

“The latest Employment Trends Index numbers signal that the labor market recovery has paused, and in the coming months employment will likely remain stagnant or even dip,” said Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute. “As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise and downside risks grow, it appears unlikely that the labor market will resume its recovery over the next few months. We expect in-person services such as restaurants, hotels, entertainment, passenger transportation, and personal and childcare services to take the biggest employment hit. The number of jobs in most other industries should continue to grow.”

December’s slight decrease was driven by negative contributions from three of the eight components. From the largest negative contributor to the smallest, the components were: Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance; Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; and Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now.

The Employment Trends Index is a leading composite index for employment. Turning points in the index indicate that a turning point in employment is about to occur. The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight leading indicators of employment, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight leading indicators of employment aggregated into the Employment Trends Index include:

*Statistical imputation for the recent month

**Statistical imputation for two most recent months

The Conference Board publishes the Employment Trends Index monthly, at 10 a.m. ET, on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report. The technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: http://www.conference-board.org/data/eti.cfm.

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National new home sales for November; 2020

New Home Sales


Sales of new single-family houses in November 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 841,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is 11.0 percent (±9.5 percent) below the revised October rate of 945,000, but is 20.8 percent (±19.5 percent) above the November 2019 estimate of 696,000.

Sales Price

The median sales price of new houses sold in November 2020 was $335,300. The average sales price was $390,100.

For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply
The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of November was 286,000.

This represents a supply of 4.1 months at the current sales rate.

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Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index; 12/20

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® Declined in December

New York, December 22, 2020…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® declined in December, after decreasing in November. The Index now stands at 88.6 (1985=100), down from 92.9 in November. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased sharply from 105.9 to 90.3. However, the Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions – increased from 84.3 in November to 87.5 this month.  

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was December 14.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions deteriorated sharply in December, as the resurgence of COVID-19 remains a drag on confidence,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “As a result, consumers’ vacation intentions, which had notably improved in October, have retreated. On the flip side, as consumers continue to hunker down at home, intentions to purchase appliances have risen. Overall, it appears that growth has weakened further in Q4, and consumers do not foresee the economy gaining any significant momentum in early 2021.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined in December. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” decreased from 18.8 percent to 16.0 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased from 34.9 percent to 39.5 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also less favorable. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” declined from 26.3 percent to 21.8 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose from 19.4 percent to 22.0 percent.

Consumers, however, were moderately more optimistic about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 26.5 percent to 29.0 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen decreased from 22.5 percent to 21.9 percent. Consumers’ outlook regarding the job market also improved. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 25.0 percent to 27.5 percent, however those anticipating fewer jobs increased marginally from 21.6 percent to 22.2 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an increase rose marginally from 16.0 percent to 16.8 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined marginally from 14.5 percent to 14.3 percent.

Source: December 2020 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #8001

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