While the stock market hums along, GDP growth remains robust, and the economy is nearly at full employment, the housing and mortgage markets face significant challenges in 2018 and beyond. According to Freddie Mac, average monthly interest rates have risen by more than half a point since January, and continue to trend upwards. Meanwhile, the refi boom is a distant memory and the growth in the purchase loans hasn’t been nearly enough to compensate. Many lenders have lost money this year, and face stiff competition (for fewer loans) and the threat of consolidation. Read full article.