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Americans’ Feelings Mixed on Present, Future of Housing

Fannie Mae released Monday its most recent National Housing Survey, revealing a slight softening in the housing recovery as monthly indicators remain volatile. “The housing recovery continues to proceed in fits and starts,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Rising mortgage rates and a lack of supply have dampened housing market momentum.”

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Report: Credit Standards Show ‘Little Sign of Easing’

Black Knight Financial Service’s Mortgage Monitor Report shows the effective loan modification efforts have shown far fewer defaults, which helps those underwater already in homes. However, those looking to get a home that have had some trouble in the past may hit a brick wall as only 30 percent of loans last year went to borrowers with credit scores below 720, which isn’t even close to the subprime score of 620.

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41% of Homes Unaffordable on Two Median Incomes

In the nation’s largest cities, a median income is not sufficient to purchase a median-priced home. In fact, even households with two median incomes cannot afford median-priced homes in the 40 largest cities in the United States, according to a Redfin survey released last week. Redfin’s findings concur with data from Zillow revealing median-income earners in Southern California cannot afford more than half of homes for sale in their market.

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Vacation Home Sales Pick Up; Investor Interest Wanes

Vacation home sales rose in 2013 as investment purchases retreated from levels observed in previous years, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun commented that as market conditions return to normal, investors must now evaluate their purchases more carefully—and judiciously.

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Economy Adds 192K Jobs in March; Unemployment Steady at 6.7%

The Department of Labor reported 192,000 new jobs in March, down slightly from February’s revised growth of 197,000 (from 175,000 originally reported). January’s employment growth was also revised, receiving a bump up to 144,000 from 129,000 reported last month. Despite last month’s apparent strength, the overall unemployment rate stubbornly stayed at 6.7 percent.

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One-Third of For-Sale Homes Considered ‘Unaffordable’

Recovery in the housing market is not without its side effects, particularly in major metro markets on the West Coast and in Florida. A look into 35 major markets by Zillow reveals that buyers making the median income in Southern California, the Bay Area, Portland (Oregon), Denver, and Miami face markets where more than half the available homes are beyond their price range—which could mean the beginning of a new housing bubble.

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Report: Ellie Mae Attacks Show Industry Insight

In an interview with National Mortgage News, Ellie Mae president and COO Jonathan Corr revealed the company's suspicions that a recent cyber attack carried out on its servers may have been launched by people with knowledge of the industry. Ellie Mae has hired Stroz Friedberg, a cyber-security and digital forensics firm, to look into the attack as well as any possible data or security breaches.

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Realtors Urge FHA to Change Rules on Premiums

In a letter addressed Tuesday to FHA commissioner Carol Galante, National Association of Realtors (NAR) president Steve Brown says the administration’s decision to increase annual mortgage insurance premiums and to require mortgage insurance over a loan’s entire life are putting home purchases “increasingly out of reach for many qualified borrowers who rely on FHA financing.”

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