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Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

Mortgage Insurance Costs Catch Home Shoppers Unaware

According to research results put out by TD Bank, 37 percent of homeowners who purchased within the last decade required MI. Looking at just the last two years, that number is up to 43 percent, reflecting the troubles buyers are having meeting normal down payment minimums as home prices march up. Of those who have had to go with insurance, 65 percent said the additional premium left them paying more than they had originally anticipated.

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Experts Split on Housing Affordability Concerns

In a survey of 106 experts in housing and investments, Zillow found a slight majority—28 percent—pinned the most blame for declining affordability on stagnant income growth across the country, even as the rest of the economy has moved in a generally positive direction. At the same time, the number of respondents pointing to "abnormally high rates of home price and rent appreciation" as the main problem was only slightly smaller at 27 percent.

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Home Prices and the Middle Class

In a recent blog post for the company, Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko notes that certain discrepancies do arise, specifically along the coasts, for middle-class homeownership. Kolko found that the middle class is getting priced out of California but finds more success in the Midwest. In fact, in 80 of the 100 largest U.S. metros, most of the homes for sale are within reach of the middle class.

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Housing Affordability Measure Improves in Q1

affordable housing

The National Association of Home Builders, working with Wells Fargo, recently published its Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), which found 65.5 percent of new and existing homes sold from January through March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $63,900. The figure from the first quarter was slightly higher than the 64.7 percent of homes sold that were considered affordable in the fourth quarter of last year.

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‘Favorable’ Price Trends Continue Throughout Q1

Median existing single-family home prices kept marching up in nearly 75 percent of measured markets in the first quarter, though at a slightly lower pace, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported. NAR found the national median existing-single family home price was $191,600 in the first quarter, up 8.6 percent from the previous year.

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Brakes Expected to Keep Pumping on Price Gains

After nearly two years of frenzied price appreciation, home price gains are expected to drop off, according to the latest report from Veros Real Estate Solutions, a provider of enterprise risk management, collateral valuation, and predictive analytics. However, Veros does not cast a negative outlook for the market. Rather, the firm anticipates a stable market with slow price appreciation. “The wave of appreciation may have crested, but it has been an impressive recovery in many respects,” said Eric Fox, VP of statistical an economic modeling at Veros.

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Report: Buying Trumps Renting in Half the Country

A recent break-even horizon analysis by Zillow finds buying a home remains a better longer-term financial decision than renting in half of U.S. metros. "Rents keep rising, and mortgage interest rates remain very low, which is helping to skew the rent vs. buy decision toward buying for those who can afford it," said Zillow chief economist Dr. Stan Humphries.

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Homeownership Rate Tumbles to 19-Year Low

According to figures released by the Census Bureau Tuesday, homeownership dropped last quarter to a rate of 64.8 percent, 0.4 percentage points lower than Q4 2013 and the lowest rate since the third quarter of 1995. Quarter-to-quarter, homeownership was down in all regions except the West, though at 59.4 percent, it remains lower in that region than in any other.

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Down Payment Percentages Continue to Trend Down

Average down payments for mortgages are on the decline, lending a little bit of relief for affordability-challenged homebuyers around the country. According to a report released this week by LendingTree, down payment percentages for 30-year fixed-rate purchase loans fell in the first quarter to an average of 15.78 percent, down from just higher than 16 percent in the last quarter of 2013.

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Home Values Up 5.7% in Q1

Zillow’s Q1 Real Estate Market Report, released Tuesday, shows that home values across the United States are up 5.7 percent (to a national median of $169,800) compared to Q1 2013. This marks the 21st consecutive month that prices, compared year-over-year, have gone up. Even more encouraging is that home values in 527 U.S. cities that saw declines of 10 percent or more during the recession are either at their peak or soon will be.

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