Category: Industry News

New home sizes continue to shrink

Americans seem to be more interested in smaller homes at the start of 2017 as the median and average square footage of new builds continues to decrease, according to a note from Robert Dietz for the National Association of Home Builders.

During the housing recovery, builders focused on higher end homes, however that is now beginning to change. The entry-level market continues to expand, including an increasing interest in townhomes, and new home sizes continue to shrink.

Median single-family square floor area decreased to 2,389 square feet, according to first-quarter data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis. This is down from 2,440 square feet last quarter and 2,465 square feet last year.

Similarly, the average square footage also decreased slightly from 2,652 square feet in the fourth quarter and 2,658 square feet last year to 2,628 square feet.

Read the source article at U.S. Housing Finance News

Housing Sentiment Springs Back from March Loss

After moving along a nearly flat track for several years, consumer sentiment regarding whether “now” is a good time to buy a home started to rise and fall like the tides in late 2016. April saw increasing positives sentiment; the net share of those saying it was a good time gain 5 percentage points to 35 percent after rising and then falling by ten points in February and March.

The results of Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey (NHS) also included a shift in the “good time to sell” sentiment, which has always lagged well behind the “buy” responses.  Its net percentage began to increase in November and hit a survey high of 31 percent in March but it dropped five points in April.

These two questions are among the six from the survey that make up Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) which rose 2.2 percentage points in April to 86.7.  The index was rebounding from a March dip and gained 3.0 points over its level in April 2016.  The “good time to sell” component was the only one of the six to lose ground during the month.

Read the source article at Mortgage News Daily

It’s a Good Time to Trade Your Student Debt for Home Debt

Fannie Mae, the government-controlled mortgage giant, is taking steps to make it easier for millions of student loan borrowers to own a home or refinance a mortgage. Student debt has become an increasing concern, amid worries that borrowers burdened by education loans are postponing home buying , causing a drag on the economy. The average undergraduate now leaves college with more than $30,000 in student debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

Fannie Mae, which buys home loans originated by lenders that meet its standards, said Tuesday that it was easing the path for student loan borrowers — and those who may have co-signed such loans — in three ways, said Jonathan Lawless, vice president for customer solutions at Fannie Mae.


Read the source article at The New York Times

American Society of Appraisers, National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers to merge

A shift in the appraiser world is underway, as the American Society of Appraisers and the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers announced Wednesday that the groups plan to merge.

Here are the particulars.

The American Society of Appraisers, which bills itself as “the original multidisciplinary valuation society,” and the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers, which calls itself “the leading voice for independent professional real estate appraisers,” announced that the groups reached a “Memorandum of Understanding” that will eventually lead to NAIFA merging into ASA.

According to the groups, the merger will add to ASA’s nearly 5,000 multi-discipline credentialed valuation professionals in over 75 countries and create “one of the largest networks of U.S. professional real estate appraisers.”

Read the source article at U.S. Housing Finance News

Mortgage rates tumble to fresh 2017 low

Yesterday, interest rates fell to the lowest they’ve been all year! This is great news for those who are ready to purchase a home or are considering refinancing.

Mortgage rates can change at any moment; that’s why it’s so important to strike while the iron is hot.

Rates for home loans fell in line with Treasury yields, nudging mortgage rates to the lowest level of the year, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.08%, down 2 basis points during the week. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.34%, down from 3.36%. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.18%, down one basis point.

Those rates don’t include fees associated with obtaining mortgage loans.

The 10-year Treasury yield fell five basis points during the week as investors continue to re-assess the expectations for fiscal stimulus and economic growth that followed the November election even as fresh geopolitical worries flared. The benchmark government bond breached a key technical level, 2.30%, twice during the week.

Read the source article at MarketWatch

Vacation Home Sales Drop, Investment Home Sales Rise

Vacation home sales took a serious fall in 2016 while investment home sales were on the rise, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

There were approximately 721,000 vacation home purchases last year, a 21.6 percent plummet from the 920,000 sales level in 2015. Last year’s level was the lowest for this sector since the 717,000 mark set in 2013. However, the median vacation home price in 2016 was $200,000, up 4.2 percent from 2015 ($192,000) and the highest since 2006 (also $200,000). Vacation sales accounted for 12 percent of all transactions in 2016, down from 16 percent in 2015 and the lowest level since 2012 (11 percent).

Read the source article at National Mortgage Professional Magazine

Demand for houses still grows despite interest rates increasing

Potential existing-home sales decreased in February as interest rates continue to rise, according to the Potential Home Sales model from First American Financial Corp., a provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions.

Potential home sales increased to a 5.7 million seasonally-adjusted, annualized rate. While this is down 0.5% from January, or 28,000 sales, it is up 2.4% over the past 12 months.

Potential home sales measures existing-homes sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate based on the historical relationship between existing-home sales and U.S. population demographic data, income and labor market conditions in the U.S. economy, price trends in the U.S. housing market, and conditions in the financial market.

Read the source article at U.S. Housing Finance News