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Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

Affordability, Inventory Improve, Still Shy of Full Recovery

The U.S. housing market continues to trudge down the slow, bumpy road to recovery with a few positive indicators lighting the way. However, a full recovery continues to linger listlessly on the horizon. Obama's Housing Scorecard for April, released jointly by HUD and the Treasury Department, reveals some positive movement in home sales, though prices continue to languish in many markets. Another piece of good news for the market: Housing inventory is now at a sustainable level. The market currently holds a 5.3-month supply of new homes.

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Wells Fargo Takes Top Spot for Commercial, Multifamily Originations

The Mortgage Bankers Association released a report Friday that ranked mortgage giant Wells Fargo last year's top commercial and multifamily mortgage originator. The trade group offered a set of comprehensive listings responsible for tracking originations by different investor groups. Wells Fargo snagged mentions in several listings, including those for commercial banks, savings institutions, Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration, Real Estate Investment Trusts, and other investors.

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Asking Prices for For-Sale Homes Up in April

Homes for sale saw their asking prices tick up 0.5 percent in April, more than in March, according to Trulia. Asking prices climbed quarter-over-quarter by 1.9 percent, while price increases unadjusted for seasonality went up 4.8 percent. Prices for for-sale homes also went up 0.2 percent nationally. Miami and Phoenix saw the biggest increases among asking prices, with figures up by more than 15 percent year-over-year. Forty-four of the 100 largest metro areas observed year-over-year price increases, while pickups took place in 92.

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Mortgage Rates Zip Past All-Time Lows, Setting New Records

Concerns about the economy, European debt, and Chinese growth led mortgage rates to fall for the fourth straight week, according to Bankrate.com. The finance Web site found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.05 percent, down from 4.09 percent last week, according to Bankrate.com's weekly survey. Bankrate.com also said that the 15-year loan set a new record low by falling to 3.25 percent, down from 3.28 percent, while 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages each fell from 3.03 percent to 3.02 percent.

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Green Homes Could Account for Nearly 40% of Construction by 2016

The residential construction market could tilt toward green homes if today's preferences persist, with one recent study estimating that energy-efficient residences could account for anywhere from 29 percent to 38 percent of the playing field by 2016. Unveiling the report at a homebuilders' conference Tuesday, McGraw-Hill Construction estimated that green homes amounted to 17 percent of the construction market last year. The study said that green homes could represent anywhere from $87 billion to $114 billion in gains to be had by the construction industry.

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Mortgage Rates Hover Near Record Lows . . . Still

Debt crises in Europe once more left interest rates for mortgage loans near record lows. Finance Web site Bankrate.com found 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaging 4.09 percent, down from 4.10 percent last week, alongside a 15-year loan that hit 3.28 percent this week, down from 3.32 percent. Bankrate.com found said that 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages meanwhile fell from 3.05 percent last week to 3.03 percent this week. News out of Britain this week found that the bulwark economy slipped into a double-dip recession during the first quarter.

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Budget Hearing Spotlights Concerns With FHA, GSEs

Talk of reform for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration featured prominently at a hearing convened by the Senate Banking Committee Thursday to address HUD├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós budget for the next fiscal year. The FHA has fallen under scrutiny in recent years over an inability to meet the 2 percent capital ratio buffer required by law. GSE also reform remains a dead issue this election year, despite numerous proposals for reform from lawmakers and public outcry over more than $180 billion in taxpayer funds sunken into conservatorship.

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Senate Hearing Fields Praise, Criticisms About New HARP

Lawmakers seated on the Senate Banking Committee convened a hearing Wednesday to determine just how radically draft legislation should lift barriers to refinance opportunities for homeowners and lenders. The message from those testifying: More refinance modifications would help, but beware of the impact for investors and lenders. The Obama administration moved on expansions to HARP last fall by working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency to sign off on lower loan-to-value ratio requirements and remove obstacles for lenders and servicers.

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Mortgage Applications Fell 3.8% Last Week: MBA

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Mortgage applications fell 3.8 percent from the week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group found that application volume waned by 3.3 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis from the week before. Purchases went up 2.7 percent from one week earlier, climbing by a seasonally unadjusted 3.6 percent in the same vein. Refinance applications declined on the whole. The Refinance Index dipped by 5.6 percent from the week before, as conventional refis slipped by 6.1 percent and government refis climbed down by 2.1 percent.

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Home Prices Fall to Lowest Level Since 2002

The Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes fell for the sixth straight month in February, with the 10- and 20-city indices each dropping 0.8 percent from January, according to Standard & Poor's. The 10-city index slid to its lowest level since May 2003 and the 20-city index dropped to its lowest level since October 2002. Prices fell in 16 of the 20 cities surveyed, improving month-over-month in only Miami, Phoenix, and San Diego. Prices were down year-over-year in 15 of the 20 cities, improving only in cities like Denver, Detroit, and Minneapolis.

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