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FHFA Report Highlights Progress, Concerns at GSEs

Despite earning record incomes in 2013, neither Fannie nor Freddie are in the clear financially yet, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said in its latest review of the two GSEs. "The Enterprises remain exposed to credit, counterparty and operational risks. Credit risk management remains a key priority for both Enterprises given their substantial amount of remaining legacy distressed assets and ongoing stress in certain housing markets," FHFA said.

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Castro Tackles Hearing for HUD Nomination

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, the president's pick to replace Shaun Donovan as secretary of HUD, appeared to breeze through his first nomination challenge Tuesday as he fielded questions from the Senate Banking Committee. Facing questions from the group of senators, Castro addressed the current stability and role of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which had to take a $1.7 billion bailout last year for the first time in its history.

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May Home Inventory Up 15.4%

Examining multiple listing service data in 37 cities across the United States, real estate site Movoto.com reported 104,157 listings available on the market, a 15.4 percent jump from 90,264 a year prior. "By comparison, the total inventory index actually decreased by 22.9 percent between May 2012 and May 2013," wrote Randy Nelson, content manager at Movoto, in the company's blog.

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Single-Family Starts Decline in May; Permits Pick Up

According to figures released by the Census Bureau and HUD, privately owned housing starts last month were at an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of just more than 1 million, down 6.5 percent from April's slightly revised estimate of 1.07 million. The government's report presented mixed news on the single-family front: While starts were down nearly 6 percent to a rate of 625,000, April construction was stronger than originally reported.

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Treasury Undersecretary Discusses GSE Recapitalization

Speaking before an audience at the National Housing Conference Annual Policy Symposium in Washington, D.C., Mary Miller, the Department of the Treasury's undersecretary for domestic finance, painted a grim picture of housing finance as it stands, noting any perceived health at the GSEs has been the result of circumstances that wouldn't be matched in the private market.

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Survey: Young Buyers Driven Off By Down Payment Fears

A lot of first-time homebuyers overestimate the amount of money they need for a down payment, and that might be holding them back, says Freddie Mac VP Christina Boyle. In a blog post, Boyle cites a Zelman & Associates research study that found respondents, on average, believe lenders require a down payment of at least 11 to 15 percent, including a large population of people who are in their "prime homebuying years."

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Equity, Home Sales Show Promise in May Scorecard

The government released Friday its latest Housing Scorecard, once again showing cautious optimism as trends look more favorable. "May's Housing Scorecard shows that the housing market recovery is picking up after the harsh winter months," said HUD assistant secretary Katherine O'Regan. "More homeowners have positive equity, foreclosures continue their downward trend, and sales of new and existing homes are rebounding.

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Home Prices Up 0.6% in April; Annual Gains Keep Moderating

The latest Residential Price Index (RPI) report from FNC, Inc., shows home price appreciation continued in April at a monthly pace of 0.6 percent nationally, matching March's month-over-month increase. Though monthly increases picked up momentum in April, yearly returns continued to moderate for the second straight month—"a sign that the annual rate of home price appreciation has peaked," FNC said.

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