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Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

HUD Scorecard Touts Initiatives Despite Housing Health

Housing market conditions remained fragile despite numerous initiatives put forward by the Obama administration, according to a recent scorecard released Thursday by HUD and the Treasury Department. The administration cited numerous industry-respected analytics sources and painted a helpful portrait of the homeownership and refinance endeavors it has made possible. Sources polled for the government gauge of housing and economic health included CoreLogic and Standard & Poor's, among others.

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Appraisers Get New Standards

As of Thursday, appraisers and realtors must now use a new universal grading rubric when it comes to their assessments for properties with government-backed mortgages. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently revised their appraisal guidelines to streamline a sometimes unclear process, but some warn of the potential for fallout among appraisers, realtors, and homeowners unfamiliar with the new standards. Appraisers will need to weigh property values against new codes and abbreviations.

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Mortgage Rates Offer More Mixed News

Mortgage rates either stayed the same or plunged to record lows, depending on where market watchers obtained their news Thursday. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac and personal finance Web site Bankrate.com released separate figures, with the former seeing a static 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and the latter finding a new bottom for the benchmark loan. The 30-year loan went bottoms up, according to Bankrate.com, which posted a 4.37-percent low, down from 4.41 percent from the week earlier.

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FOMC Minutes Portray a Pessimisstic Fed

Fed

Minutes released by the Federal Reserve Tuesday portrayed the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting as one given to doubts about the health of the U.S. economy, housing recovery, and global markets. Discussions between the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós central bank presidents reveal concern over the state of the economy and the Fed├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós ability to promote positive capital movements. The minutes also shed light on the controversial the Fed's decision to keep interest rates low until 2013.

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Pending Home Sales Dip by 1.3% in July

Fewer homebuyers signed contracts for home purchases over July, casting the housing recovery as one still in flux for pending home sales. The National Association of Realtors released an index Monday that found signed contracts falling off from June, with a 1.3-percent decline from 90.9 recorded that month. According to the index, overall signed contracts dipped to 89.7 in July, remaining 14.4 percent over a weak 78.4 recorded by the index for the same month last year. Regionally, only the West showed signs of health.

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NYT: Obama Administration Floating Refi Proposal

On Wednesday the New York Times broke a story suggesting that Obama administration officials are floating proposals to inject the ailing housing industry with needed relief, encourage the markets, and potentially energize the broader economy. If it passed with recommendations from a Columbia Business School proposal, the refinance plan could potentially infuse the economy with $118 billion in savings and add to historic highs for mortgage applications.

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FHFA: Q2 Home Prices Decline by 0.6%

Home prices for the second quarter dropped 0.6 percent beneath figures reported during the first quarter this year, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which released a price index for seasonally adjusted home purchases Thursday. Quarterly declines in prices amounted to 5.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. Seasonally adjusted prices plunged by 5.9 percent over the past year, according to the FHFA, with a quarterly decline occurring despite an uptick in seasonally adjusted house prices month-over-month.

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Mortgage Applications Hit 15-Year Bottom Despite Low Rates

Cresting on low tides in credit supply and buyer confidence, fewer first-time and repeat homebuyers filed mortgage applications last week, according to a weekly survey released by the Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday. The MBA said that overall mortgage loan application volume dropped 2.4 percent, with purchases slamming into a 15-year low. The Market Composite Index, which the MBA uses to gauge loan application activity, showed a seasonally adjusted squeeze in loan volume.

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FHA Multifamily Rental Loans Hit New Highs

Despite all-time highs for home affordability, homebuilders are seeing less demand for home construction and more for multifamily rentals, with the Federal Housing Administration recently releasing a report that signals new highs for rental properties across the country. The FHA said that it has endorsed some $10.5 billion in multifamily rental housing loans ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô seven times the number of loans made three years ago and the only second time that the FHA has lent so much.

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