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Mortgage Rates Mostly Calm Last Week

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates were mostly calm last week, after two consecutive weeks of declines. There was only slight movement among different loan types. For example, rates increased for 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances but were down for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged from the week before. Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, says mortgage applications were mostly flat as a result. “Mortgage applications were relatively flat, with a decline in purchase activity offset by an increase in refinance applications,” Kan said. “The purchase market continues to experience a slowdown, despite the strong job market. Activity has now fallen in five of the last six weeks.” Demand for loans to buy homes fell 1 percent from the week before. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. (source)

Mortgage Rates Fall To Four-Week Low

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates fell to a four-week low last week. Rates were down for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with both conforming and jumbo balances. The decline helped push refinance activity up 2 percent from the week before. But while refinancing homeowners were more active, home buyers weren’t. In fact, demand for loans to buy homes fell 3 percent from one week earlier. Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, says the high end of the market is seeing more activity these days. “The average purchase loan increased for the second straight week to $416,200 – the second highest amount ever,” Kan said. “The elevated loan size is an indication that activity is more on the higher end of the market.” The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. (source)

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Mortgage Rates Hit Lowest Level Since 2016

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates fell last week across all loan categories, including 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate loans. The decline brought rates to their lowest level since October 2016. Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said rates fell further due to concern about the coronavirus. “The 10-year Treasury yield fell around 20 basis points over the course of last week, driven mainly by growing concerns over a likely slowdown in Chinese economic growth from the spread of the coronavirus,” Kan said. “This drove mortgage rates lower, with the 30-year fixed-rate decreasing for the fifth time in six weeks … Refinance activity jumped as a result, with an increase in the number of applications and a spike in the average loan amount.” Purchase activity, on the other hand, fell week-over-week, though it remains 11 percent higher than last year. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. (source)

 

Mortgage Rate Rise May Be Spurring Buyer Activity

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates were up last week, with rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances at their highest level in more than seven years. But, despite the increase, mortgage application volume – which includes both buyers requesting loans to buy homes and refinance activity – actually increased from the week before. Could it be that buyers are looking to get into the market before mortgage rates move any higher? Well, purchase loan demand was virtually flat from one week earlier and is now only four percent higher than at the same time last year, when rates were lower. However, the fact that application demand didn’t fall as rates hit a multi-year high indicates that Americans may be hoping to take advantage while they’re still lower than historically normal. Joel Kan, an MBA economist, says rates, once again last week, were driven by positive economic data. “As markets received various pieces of data indicating economic strength such as wage growth, inflation, and jobless claims, Treasury rates were up over the week,” Kan told CNBC. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.

Are Waterfront Homes Selling For Less?

There are two reasons home buyers typically have to pay more for a house on the water. The first is that people want to live on the water. It’s a desirable location. Secondly, there are a limited number of houses with water access. And when you combine high demand and low supply, you usually have a recipe for higher prices. But new research shows that waterfront property isn’t selling at as high a premium this year. In fact, waterfront homes in the first quarter sold for a 36 percent premium, which is the lowest level since 2002. By comparison, the average premium since 1996 is 41 percent and in 2012 the premium was as high as 54 percent. In other words, the difference in price between homes on the water and those further inland is lower than normal. But since having an ocean or lake view hasn’t become any less desirable, what might be behind this trend? Well one explanation is that a lower overall number of homes for sale has helped raise prices for homes all over, which has narrowed the price gap between waterfront and inland homes. More here.

Homeowners See Big Gains On Home Sales

Home prices have been climbing for the past few years. And while that has presented affordability challenges for buyers in some markets, it’s also produced big gains for homeowners who’ve sold a home recently. Take, for example, new estimates showing that, nationally, the typical home seller, after living somewhere for eight years, made nearly $40,000 on their home sale. That’s good news for homeowners. And, in some markets, the sales gain is even higher. Homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area saw a median sales gain of $56,297 after just 7.4 years and, in San Jose, sellers’ median price gain was nearly $300,000. But while that may be encouraging for anyone who hopes to sell soon, there is a flip side. Because many home sellers hope to use any money they make on their home sale as a down payment for their next home, the amount gained on a sale may not seem as significant, especially if you’re buying a home in the same market and price range. More here.

New Home Sales Surge To 10-Year High

Sales of newly built single-family homes surged unexpectedly last month, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In fact, sales were up nearly 19 percent from the month before and 17 percent over the same time last year. The increase was a surprise and far surpassed economists’ expectations, which called for a slight decline from August’s pace. All in all, any improvement in new home sales is encouraging news for the housing market. That’s because, demand for new homes spurs new residential construction, which helps alleviate upward pressure on prices by adding to the number of homes available for sale. In a competitive market, where there are more buyers than homes to buy, new home construction is among the quickest remedies for inventory shortages. However, though the gains are encouraging, new home sales data tends to be volatile from month-to-month and isn’t always reflective of the overall trend. Also in the report, the median sales price of new houses sold in September was $319,700. The average sales price was $385,200. More here.

Is Buying A Home Still An Affordable Choice?

These days, determining the affordability of buying a home isn’t such a simple calculation. There are always a lot of variables to consider – including prices, mortgage rates, wages, and local factors – but today’s housing market contains a number of contradictions that may make it even more difficult for potential buyers to figure out. For example, home prices have recently been making a lot of news, mostly because they’ve regained much or all of the value lost following the housing crash. At the same time, though, mortgage rates have remained just above historic lows for the past several years. In other words, if you live in an area where home prices have been slower to rebound, low mortgage rates likely mean homes are still a good deal in your neighborhood. On the other hand, in some areas – where home prices have pushed beyond previous highs and low inventory is limiting available choices – favorable mortgage rates make less of an impact. Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says buying is affordable for the average household, though challenges remain. “Thanks to very low mortgage rates, monthly mortgage payments are affordable for the average household despite currently high house prices,” Becketti said. “Nevertheless, hurdles to homeownership arise from the difficulty of finding a house.” More here.

Rates Fall To Lowest Level Since November

Just after last year’s election, average mortgage rates began increasing. The rise was largely seen as a sign of things to come. However, rates have now begun dropping from their post-election highs. In fact, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans with conforming loan balances are now at their lowest level since last November. Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, told CNBC last week’s drop was largely related to the French election. “The drop was driven by continued investor concerns about the French election, though Sunday’s first-round voting results apparently have alleviated some investor fears,” Fisher said. Whatever the case, falling mortgage rates boosted the number of homeowners seeking to refinance. The MBA’s refinance index rose 7 percent from the previous week. The purchase index, which measures the number of prospective borrowers applying for loans to buy homes, was unchanged from the week before. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.

What Home Buyers Want Most This Spring

Home buyers, through the years, tend to value the same things. It makes sense. Though styles may vary and specific preferences may change, at the end of the day, we all want the same things out of our homes. Generally speaking, it all comes down to storage, space, and a sense of security. This year is no different. For example, a newly released survey of hopeful spring home buyers found that privacy was the top goal cited when asked what they valued most. Privacy even beat out family needs, which came in a close second. As for storage and space, garages and backyards were also near the top of the priorities list for most buyers. Demographically, younger buyers were more likely to want a large yard, while garages were particularly popular with buyers over the age of 55. Either way, it’s clear that this year’s house hunters have common needs. There is one need, however, that buyers share more than any other. When asked which room was most important to them, 80 percent of respondents named the kitchen. For obvious reasons, the kitchen is consistently ranked high atop buyers’ wish lists. After all, no matter how young or old a buyer is, they need to eat – which is why a good kitchen is always a draw for home shoppers. More here.

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