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Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

Freddie: 81% of Q2 Refis Upheld or Slashed Debt

Freddie Mac released the results of its second quarter refinance analysis Wednesday, revealing that homeowners who refinance continue to strengthen their housing situations. Freddie Mac's report showed that 81 percent of homeowners who refinanced their first-lien home mortgage either maintained the same loan amount or lowered their principal balance in the year's second quarter. Of these borrowers, 59 percent maintained about the same loan amount (the highest share ever recorded), while 23 percent reduced their principal balance.

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Price Appreciation Looms as Pending-Home Sales Rise in Miami

Following the recent month├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós change in the national Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales declined month-over-month in June in Miami-Dade County, but went up year-over-year. While the national index moved down 1.4 percent from May to June, Miami's pending home sales declined 13 percent, according to the association and Miami├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Multiple Listing Services system. Miami├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós change in pending sales year-over-year was also more exaggerated than the change reported in the national index.

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As Asking Prices Rise, Foreign Buyer Activity Falls

Higher asking prices drove off foreign homebuyers and investors over the last year, with real estate firm citing a 10 percent decline in foreign interest for the U.S. housing market. Releasing its International House Hunter Report Thursday, Trulia found that asking prices rose 0.3 percent year-over-year, nixing helpful influence from still-falling home prices. The housing bust attracted a number of foreign and cash buyers interested in low prices and the safe haven of U.S. real estate investment, according to Trulia.

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Sources: Low Sales Reveal Recovery ‘Lost a Little Momentum’

Compared to the two-year high for new home sales in May, June's figures were met with disappointment. On Wednesday, the Census Bureau reported new home sales dropped 8.4 percent month-over-month to 350,000 in June compared to an upwardly revised 382,000 for May. In an IHS Global Insight commentary, economists Patrick Newport and Michele Valverde pointed out that figures for March, April, and May were all revised up, and that sales were up in the Midwest and West, but down in the Northeast and South.

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CFPB Director Talks Mortgage Lending Reform

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, laid out the agency├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós aims to reform mortgage lending standards before a congressional subcommittee Monday. Speaking before House lawmakers, Cordray acknowledged that although the Dodd-Frank Act has had a hand in improving most consumer lending markets, tight mortgage lending standards have kept creditworthy borrowers out of homes. In an effort to fix these issues, Cordray said that CFPB is proposing ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£clear rules of the road├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø to address each stage of the mortgage process and to rebuild consumer and investor confidence.

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Home Values Bump Up for First Time Since 2007

For the first time since 2007, home values saw a year-over-year gain in the second quarter of 2012, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. The index showed homes increased in value by 0.2 percent to $149,300 from last year├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós second quarter. Additionally, values have increased for the fourth month in a row. Out of 167 metros covered by Zillow, 53 posted increases from the second quarter of 2011 to the same quarter this year. Values in Phoenix rose by 12.1 percent, the highest among other metros during the same time period.

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Growth Estimates Point South for Fannie Mae

A weakened second quarter may indicate a slowdown in economic activity for the rest of the year, Fannie Mae reported Monday. According to a report from the GSE, its Economic & Strategic Research Group may have been too optimistic in its original 2012 GDP growth projection of 2.2 percent. Its revised growth rate estimate is 2.0 percent. Despite the downgrade in anticipated economic growth, Fannie Mae found a silver lining in the housing market. Year-over-year, home sales increased by 9 percent, and single-family housing starts are nearly 20 percent higher (although still below healthy norms).

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Two Years in Review for the CFPB and Dodd-Frank

Financial reform advocates have two birthdays to celebrate on Saturday. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the two-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act, the sweeping financial reform law that spawned it. Their stories run parallel to each other ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and rightly so. The consumer bureau squeaked past partisan gridlock this time last year, just one year after Democrats, then in the majority of both houses of Congress, cleared Dodd-Frank for the president├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós signature.

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Economy Likely to Stay on Path of Recovery: Barclays

The housing recovery is strengthening and turning onto a sustainable path, Barclays said in a report Wednesday. According to the firm's U.S. Housing report, single-family housing starts are expected to trend upward, matching the strength of multi-family starts that has driven the housing recovery over the past year. Barclays also anticipates that home price indices will close out the year strong, suggesting a broadening and lasting recovery. The rising supply and steady sales pace of single-family starts apparently encouraged homebuilders.

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Housing Gains Foothold as Mortgage Rates Dip

The third week of July brought news of more mortgage rate lows, according to Freddie Mac. The GSE found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 3.53 percent (0.7 point), down from 3.56 percent from the past week and 4.52 percent from the year before. In all of 2012, the average 30-year home loan has only scaled to 4 percent or higher for one week. The average 15-year mortgage for the week was 2.83 percent (0.6 point), down from 2.86 percent the week before and 3.66 percent at the same time in 2011.

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