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Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

Economic Worries Trample on New-Home Sales Over August

Despite the lure of record-low mortgage rates, fewer consumers stepped out from behind the fear of a global economic slowdown to purchase new homes, curtailing new sales by 2.3 percent month-over-month in August. Market watchers chalked up a six-month dearth to consumers wary about their job security, stock markets, and the threat of a new recession. The Census Bureau signaled a fallback to 295,000 housing units on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from 302,000 from July.

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Fed: Lower Jumbo Loan Limits Unlikely to Crimp Markets

Ahead of lower limits for conforming jumbo loans, nearly assured in October as Congress disagrees even over stopgap spending bills, the Federal Reserve offered a revealing look at the market Friday by releasing a report on the health of the housing market. The consensus: falling limits will likely only nudge the jumbo loan market, not tip it over, as some critics claim. The Fed found that the current criteria for a jumbo fences in only 1.3 percent of all loans backed by GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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Lawmaker: $34B in U.S. Assets Exposed to Europe Debt

With the European debt crisis underway, lawmakers convened a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday to address fears about systemic risks to the U.S. banking system as more euro zone markets falter. The verdict: billions of dollars in liquidity may face exposure to the European debt contagion ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a reality that U.S. authorities should continue to monitor without overreacting. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) said that some $34 billion in U.S. liquidity may be in potential exposure to a wave of euro zone troubled assets.

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Analysts: Mortgage Rates Stay Low, Likely to Fall Further

Debt crises and stimulus measures stole the mortgage-rates show as more investors flee to U.S. Treasury debt, with mortgage giant Freddie Mac holding that rates dithered by a few percentage rates and finance Web site Bankrate.com finding a fifth-consecutive week for record lows. Homebuyers nonetheless remain on the sidelines despite all-time highs for affordability, reflecting a dearth in demand, confidence, and jobs. Analysts fault a dismal economy and suggest that mortgage rates will remain low.

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Multifamily Debt Outstanding Goes Up, Alongside Renter Interest

With single-family home sales lagging and more households struggling with debt issues, the Mortgage Bankers Association alleviated few concerns about the industry with news Thursday that mortgage debt outstanding for commercial and multifamily properties rose half a percentage point to hit $2.4 trillion over the second quarter this year. Multifamily mortgage originations are typically those used to finance new rental purchases. The trade group signaled a roughly $4-billion thrust upward in debt outstanding for both loans.

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Economists: Fed Buy-Up Will Do Little for Housing

Fed

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke again made waves Wednesday with an announcement that the central bank plans to sell $400 billion in short-term Treasuries to keep a heel on still-low interest rates and offset widespread fears that the U.S. economy may soon enter a downturn. The move follows successive efforts from the Fed, which more recently pledged to keep interest rates low until 2013. Speaking with MReport, economists largely panned the effort.

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Mortgage Applications Tick Up 0.6% on Low Rates

application

Mortgage application volume crept up from last week, with refinancing activity leaping ahead of purchases, according to a weekly survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Stacks of applications around the nation thickened by less than 1 percent from the previous week, largely as a result of climbing mortgage rates. The Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, a measure of total application volume by the trade group, pulled together several indices that reflect volume.

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After Irene, Housing Starts Fall 5% from July

Fewer-than-expected housing starts fell in line Tuesday with dismal forecasts threatening a global economic slowdown, with the Commerce Department and HUD jointly revealing a 5-percent slide back for single-family home construction over August. Market watchers slapped severe weather with the blame for a slump in new home starts across New England, while a nudge up in building starts framed the dark recession cloud with a silver lining. Housing starts plunged to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 over August.

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Fannie: U.S. Economic Recovery ‘Flirting’ with New Downturn

Fannie Mae cast the U.S. economic recovery as on the rocks Monday with a report suggesting that events at home and abroad primed the country for a return to recession. The GSE cited restlessness in European financial markets, sluggish growth in emerging economies, and upheaval in the Middle East as reasons why America may be bordering on a double-dip. According to the GSE, third-quarter data suggests that U.S. GDP will chug below 2 percent over the remainder of 2011 and 2012.

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Mortgage Rates Smash New Records on Europe Debt Fears

A rush by overseas investors to the safe haven of U.S. Treasury debt helped whittle away at yields and force mortgage rates to all-time lows, a short-term boon to creditworthy homebuyers. With the 30-year benchmark loan smashing new records, analysts for mortgage giant Freddie Mac and finance Web site Bankrate.com chalked up the favorable rates to a wobbly Greece and unsettled concerns over euro zone markets. Bankrate.com and Freddie Mac report the latest mortgage rates each week.

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