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Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

Existing-Home Sales Plunge by 3.5% in July

Dashing hopes for a more moderate fall, existing-home sales rolled downhill by 3.5 percent in July, with single-family sales hitting a seasonally adjusted 4.67-million annual rate. The National Association of Realtors ascribed the new numbers to tight underwriting practices, a crimped credit supply, and sluggish job creation. The NAR, which released an existing-home sales report Thursday, held that single-family townhomes, condominiums, and coops dropped from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.84 million units over June.

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Jittery Markets Send Mortgage Rates to 50-Year Lows

Mortgage rates slammed into a 50-plus-year low Thursday, reflecting continuing concerns over European sovereign debt crises, the potential for defaults overseas, and an overall economic slowdown. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac posted a 4.15-percent average for 30-year fixed-rate loans, racing past the record 4.17-percent drop it registered in 2010. Citing the same reasons for new lows, Bankrate followed suit by revealing declines in fixed-rate mortgages for a third straight week. The rates continue on fears of a recession.

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Columbia Professors Propose Refi Boom for Recovery

If two professors at Columbia Business School have anything to say about it, 30 million homeowners across the country would refinance their mortgages and stabilize the lagging housing market in the process. The duo recently proposed the refi boom in a paper that aimed to prop up sagging home prices and accelerate job growth nationally. The academes, R. Glenn Hubbard and Chris Mayer, propose reducing mortgage rates by about one percent to encourage a boost in home prices and the housing recovery.

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What’s Killing the American Dream of Homeownership?

Once the star of the American Dream, homeownership has fallen on hard times, a victim of the financial crisis and wary homeowners. With home sales at record lows despite rock-bottom mortgage rates and home prices, some say a country once beholden to the mortgage note is now a nation at the behest of landlords. The story sets up a classic whodunit, begging the question: Who set up homeownership to take the fall? Apartment vacancies continue to plummet alongside home prices around the country.

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Freddie’s Outlook Portrays a Roller Coaster Housing Market

Freddie

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac released an economic outlook Tuesday that portrays the housing economy as one cramped by recent turmoil, with less-than-favorable signs for a recovery despite historically low interest rates and home prices. Comparing the economy to a roller coaster, the outlook forecasts a long ride ahead for a gasping recovery, with interest rates and home prices sure to remain low. The outlook cites employment numbers, economic growth, mortgage rates, and home prices.

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Trulia: Home Affordability Outpaces Rental Costs

Volatile markets and low home sales are colluding to force mortgage rates to historic lows and sellers to mark off home prices, making actual home purchases less expensive than renting in cities across the United States. Buying a home fell below renting costs in 74 percent of the country's 50 largest cities over July, with 12 percent of cities seeing higher price tags for apartments than for houses, according to real estate Web site Trulia. Bottom line: Peak numbers for home affordability make closing on rates a better deal.

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Closing Will Cost You in New York

The numbers are in, and New York tops the list of states boasting the highest mortgage closing costs nationwide. The results of the Bankrate, Inc. survey demonstrate New York├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós dubious dominance in closing fees for the second straight year. Other high-cost areas rounding out the top five? Texas, Utah, San Francisco, and Idaho. Nationally, the total cost of origination and title fees has risen since last year by 8.8 percent, to an average cost of $4,070 on a $200,000 mortgage.

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Survey: Low Job Growth Hampers Homebuilding

Financial analysis firm Zelman & Associates released a survey signaling mixed results in the homebuilding industry, with new home orders grinding to a halt in May despite 20 percent year-over-year increases. The survey reported that builder sentiment gravitated towards stability, with an industry score topping off at 32.3 on a 0-100 scale, up from 29.6 in May. The Washington, D.C., builders' market remained top dog, while other regions rose only incrementally. Homebuilding starts hovered at 613,000.

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