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Tag Archives: Home Sales

Obama Refi Proposal Takes Shape in HARP Changes

Federal regulators announced their intentions Monday to expand the Home Affordable Refinance Program available via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Among other modifications, the FHFA said it plans to eliminate a number of risk-based fees for short-term mortgage borrowers, take off the 125-percent loan-to-value ratio for loans guaranteed by the GSEs, and void requirements for new property appraisals in lieu of automated estimates. Market watchers around the industry offered reactions that ranged from skepticism to optimism.

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Lawmaker Questions the 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage

Lawmakers called into doubt the role of the historic 30-year fixed-rate mortgage Thursday, with Senate committee witnesses alternately arguing for and against it. At issue: whether the benchmark loan, available since the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, stabilizes the housing finance system or weakens it. Witnesses alternately upheld and criticized the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, with the former characterizing it a buttress of wealth for homeowners and the latter calling for more consumer choice and clarifying its role in the crisis.

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Housing Starts Leapfrog Forecasts by 15% in September

Beating forecasts for lower-than-expected housing starts, builders put up 15 percent more new homes on a seasonally adjusted basis than predicted in September, the most since April 2010. The hitch: Multifamily residential construction drove the numbers. The Commerce Department reported that housing starts in September rose above August estimates for 572,000 units, hitting an annual 658,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. Analysts speaking with MReport say the surge will not sustain itself in the months and years ahead.

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Freddie: Rental Housing Surges Past Homeownership Rates

Rising homebuilder confidence seen Tuesday coupled with news of a surge in multifamily housing development ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the sector typical for rental construction ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported Monday. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac offered up the data and analysis in an October 2011 Economic and Housing Market Outlook, with the consensus that tenant-occupied properties are on track to continue outpacing homeownership rates. New construction starts rose this year with a minimum 20 dwellings.

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Fannie: 50% Chance U.S. Economy Will Double-Dip by End of 2012

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae gives the U.S. economy equal chances for a second recession and recovery by the end of next year. Podcasting the 2011 October Economic Outlook, titled Economy at a Crossroads, the company forecasted that GDP will stay below 2 percent for the remainder of 2011 into next year. Among other reasons, the GSE's internal think tank cited trouble in the financial and labor markets, given the euro debt crisis, weak jobs reports, and low consumer confidence. The outlook follows several other similar reports.

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RE/MAX Report Shows Sales on the Rise

RE/MAX has released the results of its most recent housing survey, and the company's evaluation of 53 metropolitan areas demonstrates a 7.6 percent rise in home sales year-over-year in September. The findings represent the third consecutive month in which an increase in sales was shown year-over-year for comparable months, and generally, sales have been on the uptick for four of nine months during 2011 based on RE/MAX's report. September's data extends trends seen from data recorded in July and August, during which sales rose by18 percent and 13.1 percent respectively.

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MBA Speaker Portrays Changing Demographics in Homeownership

Minorities and seniors are growing their share of the national population more than ever, William H. Frey, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, told attendees at the Mortgage Bankers Association's annual convention and expo Chicago Wednesday. There is also a continuing population shift out of the heartland states to what Frey classifies as the new Sunbelt.

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MBA: Expect 2012 Originations to Hit $900B

Fewer refinance applications will drive mortgage originations substantially lower over 2012, with loan volume plunging from $1.2 trillion over 2011 to $900 billion over the new year, according to recent study by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group tied historically low mortgage rates, plodding existing-home sales and home prices, and a laggardly unemployment rate to the notion that the U.S. will continue to experience trouble ahead in mortgage originations.

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Homeownership Rates Lowest Since Great Depression

abandoned house

Homeownership rates remain at depths not seen since the Great Depression, according to new Census Bureau numbers. Market watchers chalk up the lows to tight lending conditions, concerns about the regulatory environment, and fears about a double-dip recession. Releasing Housing Characteristics: 2010 Thursday, the bureau found homeownership rates deflating by some 1.1 percent to 65.1 percent over the last decade ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the biggest decline since between the years 1930 and 1940.

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