White House Details Plan to Bolster Affordable Housing

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a major initiative to bolster affordable housing in the face of a surge in home prices that is preventing some Americans from becoming homeowners. “The large and long-standing gap between the supply and demand of affordable homes for both renters and homeowners make it harder for families to buy their first home and drives up the cost of rent. Higher housing costs also crowd out other investments families can and should make to improve their lives, such as investments in education,” the White House said in a statement. “President Biden is committed to using every tool available in government to produce more affordable housing supply as quickly as possible, and to make supply available to…

Mortgage Applications Down 2.4% Last Week

Despite no change in historically low mortgage rates, mortgage applications dropped 2.4% last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Application Survey. The MBA said the decline in its seasonally adjusted market composite index tracking mortgage applications was influenced by a 3.8% decline in applications to refinance existing loans. “There was little change in mortgage rates last week, with the 30-year fixed remaining at 3.03 percent. Despite low rates, refinance applications declined, with some borrowers still waiting for rates to drop even lower,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting.  “Recent uncertainty around the economy and pandemic have kept rates low over the past month, which is why the refinance index has oscillated…

Number Of Mortgage Loans In Forbearance Holds At 3.25%

The  number of mortgage loans in forbearance remains unchanged from last week, holding at 3.25%, according to the latest numbers from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The report, released yesterday, estimates that 1.6 million homeowners are in forbearance plans. The share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in forbearance remained the same relative to the prior week at 1.66%. Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance also remained the same at 3.92%, while the forbearance share for portfolio loans and private-label securities (PLS) increased 3 basis points to 7.18%.  The percentage of loans in forbearance for independent mortgage bank (IMB) servicers increased 2 basis points to 3.50%, and the percentage of loans in forbearance for depository servicers was unchanged at 3.35%. But…

RHPI: Home Buyers Had 129% More House-Buying Power In June Than 2006

Homebuyers in June 2021 had 129 percent more house-buying power than in 2006, according to the June 2021 First American Real House Price Index (RHPI), released today. “House-buying power, how much one can buy based on changes in income and interest rates, increased by 6.8 percent in June compared with a year ago, propelled by lower mortgage rates and higher household income,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American Financial Corporation, which releases the RHPI. First American is a leading global provider of title insurance, settlement services, and risk solutions for real estate transactions. “The affordability gain from increased house-buying power, however, was offset by the third component of the RHPI, nominal house price appreciation, which reached a record…

Evictions Could Lead To Homes For Sale, Squeezing Rental Market

A wave of evictions could mean more options for homebuyers, but fewer rental properties on the market. Today, the Supreme Court lifted the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium, declaring that it is almost certain the Centers for Disease Control exceeded their authority by imposing it.  The ruling exposes millions of Americans who are late on their rent to the possibility of eviction, and could impact an estimated 3.6 million households. It is unclear exactly how many evictions will take place. Many local governments have their own eviction moratoriums in place. Some landlords may decide instead to work out repayment plans with their tenants rather than risk their property sitting empty.  But if evictions do happen, the booming housing market could be…

Experts Question UWM’s Decision to Accept ‘Volatile’ Bitcoin for Mortgage Payments

United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia made headlines with the announcement his company—one of the largest lenders in the U.S.—plans to start accepting Bitcoin as payment for mortgages later this year. “That’s something that we’ve been working on,” Ishbia said, “and we’re excited that hopefully, in Q3, we can actually execute on that before anyone in the country because we are a leader in technology and innovation.” Ishbia’s announcement puts his company on the front line of the debate over the potential dangers of novel techno-currencies like Bitcoin. Bitcoin is among the class of financial products known as “cryptocurrencies,” digital currency systems developed and traded using a variety of computational and security networks. The process of developing and obtaining cryptocurrencies can…

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady at 2.87%

Mortgage rates held steady despite a tug-of-war between economic recovery and the fiscal impact of rising Covid-19 cases, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS®). The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.87 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending August 26, 2021, up slightly from last week’s 2.86 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.91 percent. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.17 percent with an average 0.6 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 2.16 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM was 2.46 percent. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.42 percent with an average 0.2 point, down slightly from last week when…

Mortgage Refinancing Sees a Boost After FHFA Fee Repeal

Mortgage refinancing exploded in July, according to mortgage data analyst Black Knight.  The report shows rate lock volume, the number of borrowers who locked in their mortgage rate, jumped by 5.5% in July. Rate/term refinance grew 24% month-over-month, while cash-out refinance grew 20%. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) decided in mid-July to remove the adverse market refinance fee put in place in 2020. The 0.5% fee was intended to alleviate any future financial burden placed on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by the effects of the pandemic. Instead of a downturn, the housing market soared. The boom in refinancing is directly linked to the FHFA’s decision to reverse course. And now “[r]efinance volumes were undoubtedly boosted” by its repeal, Black Knight…

Texas and Arizona Dominate 2021’s Best Real-Estate Markets

Texas and Arizona dominated top spots in WalletHub’s report on 2021’s best real-estate markets. Half of the top ten markets were in Texas, with Frisco, TX taking the number one spot. Five of the top thirty cities are in Arizona. WalletHub used two dimensions for the ranking: real-estate market data, such as median home prices, median days on the market, and number of seriously underwater mortgages; and economic environment data, such as job growth rate and housing affordability. The number of pending sales in Frisco, a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth, rose by 42% from May 2020 to May 2021. High demand and low inventory forced Frisco’s median sale up by nearly 24% in the same time. The fourth, fifth, and sixth-ranked cities are also…

Existing Home Sales Up 2% in July

Existing-home sales rose 2% on a seasonally adjusted annual rate from June to July, with first-time buyers accounting for 30% of sales, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors®. This marks two consecutive months of increases in home prices. There were no sales declines in any region, with two of the four major U.S. regions seeing gains, while one declined and one was unchanged. Existing home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 1.5% from July 2020, up from 5.90 million to 5.99 million. Another sign it’s a sellers market: 89% of homes sold within a month of being put on the market. NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun acknowledged that many of the sales remain…