Government-related players in the mortgage market this week announced new developments in automation as a key nomination reached an impasse, and higher rates dimmed lending estimates.

Collectively, these add to signs mortgage lenders will be heading down a rougher road this year as refinancing estimates have dropped following the unusual boom over the past 24 months. Forecasts now call for more notable reductions in rate-related incentives to get loans than previously. And while housing agencies are readying operational improvements that aim to support the purchase market, making up for some of the lost affordability homebuyers are facing, some of those efforts may take longer to gear up for than others.

Political deadlock related to filling housing-agency leadership vacancies will likely be a source of some of those delays. While progress has been made, with the recent confirmation of Ginnie Mae’s president, the latest week’s news suggests that due to broader political developments, getting consensus on the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s nominee, like the Federal Housing Administration’s, may not be as easy.

Nevertheless, the past week also has made it clear that Ginnie Mae and the FHFA’s government-sponsored enterprise charges, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will forge ahead with some new automation for lending even while the agency’s director remains an acting role and the GSEs remain undercapitalized. And while the FHA may move relatively slower, as it typically has, that agency is making progress as well.

Read on for more details in our recap of developments at the FHFA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae in the past week.





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