Mortgage Applications Fall As Inventory Tightens

Mortgage applications for home purchases and refinances dipped slightly last week, according to a report released Wednesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Total applications decreased 1.8 percent for the week ending June 26, the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey found. The Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week, though remained 74 percent higher than a year ago. The Purchase Index dropped 2 percent for the week but was 15 percent higher than the same week a year ago. “After two months of strong growth, purchase applications declined for the second week in a row,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The weakening in activity is potentially a signal that pent-up demand is starting…

Multifamily Mortgage Debt Rises By $28B In Q1

Total commercial and multifamily mortgage debt increased by $61 billion to $3.72 trillion in the first quarter of the year, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The latest Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Debt Outstanding quarterly report showed that multifamily mortgage debt increased by $28 billion to $1.6 trillion from the fourth quarter of 2019. “The rise in commercial and multifamily mortgage debt in the first three months of the year carried forward the strong level of activity during 2019. Rising property values, strong incomes and low interest rates supported increased borrowing and lending,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research. “With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, borrowing and lending has slowed,…

Mixed Reports On Forbearance Increases, Decreases

By Jim Perskie The number of mortgage loans in forbearance decreased slightly in the latest Mortgage Bankers Association weekly report – though there are other indications that the number may begin to climb again. The MBA report released Monday found that 8.47 percent of mortgages in the United States were in forbearance as of June 21, down from 8.48 percent the week before. That works out to about 4.2 million homeowners in forbearance – the third weekly drop in a row. “The overall share of loans in forbearance declined for the second week in a row, led by the third straight drop in GSE loans,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Many borrowers initially received a three-month…

Pending Home Sales Rebound In May

After the largest drop in history in April, pending home sales mounted a record comeback in May. Funny how that works. The Pending Home Sales Index increased by 44.3 percent to 99.6 in May, the highest month-over-month gain since the National Association of Realtors started the index in 2001. That comes a month after back-to-back decreases, including a 21.8 percent drop in April. “This has been a spectacular recovery for contract signings and goes to show the resiliency of American consumers and their evergreen desire for homeownership,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said. “This bounce back also speaks to how the housing sector could lead the way for a broader economic recovery.” NAR said every major region recorded an increase…

Lowest Black Homeownership Rate: Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Salt Lake City have the lowest Black homeownership rates of any major metropolitan areas in the United States, according to an analysis released Monday by Redin. Overall, 44 percent of Black families owned the home they live in at the end of the first quarter – up from 41.1 percent a year earlier. By contract, the national homeownership rate for white families is 73.7 percent. That gap is even more pronounced in Minneapolis, where 25 percent of Black families own their own – compared to 76 percent of white families. Grand Rapids, Michigan, has the second biggest gap (78 percent to 33 percent), followed by Salt Lake City (72 percent to 28 percent) and Milwaukee (70 percent…

Houston Realtors Ban “Master” From Home Listings

Houston homes will no longer have master bedrooms or master bathrooms. Instead, the Houston Association of Realtors will use the phrases “primary bedroom” and “primary bathrooms,” the Houston Chronicle reported. The change comes after some realtors said the word “master” has a stigma associated with it. The Chronicle reported that HAR agreed to change the phrases on its Multiple Listing Service and its website on June 15. “This topic is currently being debated across the real estate industry, and the national standards organization for MLSs will be considering a similar change that could make ‘primary’ the new standard nationally,” HAR said in a statement shared with the Chronicle. Don’t expect the changes to go nationwide just yet. The National Association…

Prices Increasing Quickly For Most Affordable Homes

Affordable homes are getting a less affordable. A report released Friday by Redfin found that the most affordable third of homes in the United States were 5.5 percent more expensive at the end of May than they were a year ago – while the price of the most expensive third of homes increased just 2 percent. “The severe shortage of affordable homes that we’ve been grappling with for years is now being exacerbated by an increase in the number of  buyers who are in search of lower-cost houses,” Redfin lead economist Taylor Marr said. “Many Americans—especially millennials—were already toying with the idea of buying their first house before the pandemic. Now they’re actually taking the plunge because mortgage rates are so…

Time On Market Drops As Housing Recovery Continues

By Jim Perskie The housing recovery is continuing, even as the coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of letting up across the United States. The realtor.com Weekly Housing Recovery Index released Thursday increased two points for the week ending June 20 – climbing to 92 points, just eight points short of the pre-pandemic baseline. This week’s data shows the housing market is continuing to warm up as economies reopen and more buyers return to the streets, but with COVID cases increasing in some regions uncertainty still remains,” said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com.  The report found: Time on market dropped by three days last week, though remains 13 days slower than last year.New listings are down 19…

Mortgage Rates Remain At Record Lows

No news is good news for borrowers. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.13 percent for the second week in a row, remaining at a record low, Freddie Mac announced Thursday in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. “After the Great Recession, it took more than 10 years for purchase demand to rebound to pre-recession levels, but in this crisis, it took less than 10 weeks,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The rebound in purchase demand partly reflects deferred sales as well as continued interest from prospective buyers looking to take advantage of the low mortgage rate environment.” The survey found: 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.13 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending June 25, unchanged from…

Realtors Nix In-Person New Orleans Conference

Realtors: Get your online meeting backgrounds ready. The National Association of Realtors announced Wednesday that its REALTORS Conference & Expo – scheduled for Nov. 13-16 in New Orleans – will be held virtually due to “health and safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.”  “While positive indicators begin to show our economy is rebounding and treatment options for COVID-19 are proving more effective, so much remains unknown about this virus and the circumstances we will face as a nation come this fall,” NAR President Vince Malta said. “In order to prioritize the health and safety of our members, staff and sponsors, NAR looks forward to hosting a fully virtual REALTORS Conference & Expo this November.” NAR conducted a survey in…