Mortgage Roundup (2/18/20) – Millennials, Affordable Markets & Coronavirus

As coronavirus fears spread, the more common flu has already hit 22 million people in the United States, health officials said. Meanwhile in mortgage news …

The New York Times details how a millennial generation of aggressive savers could leave central bankers with less room to cut interest rates, which they have long done to boost growth in times of economic trouble.

Millennials don’t trust lenders or the housing industry, leaving realtors and lenders struggling to connect with a huge demographic. A Housing Wire columnist outlines an approach to building trust.

Less than 12 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to households earning the area’s median income, according to the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index. According to the data, Los Angeles is the least affordable housing market.

The Trump administration has taken a long-awaited stance on the future of the nation’s housing finance system, urging Congress to take up reform of the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. National Mortgage News breaks down the key recommendations and their likelihood of passage in an election year. As the FHFA takes steps to free GSE’s from government conservatorship, Fannie Mae posted $14.2 billion in profit in 2019.

A lawsuit filed against the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco reveals details of a plan to buy mortgage company Freddie Mac. First proposed in 2016 as a way to get the enterprise out of U.S. government control, the initiative sputtered between then and 2018, according to a Bloomberg report.

U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly for the first time in a month, according to figures released by Freddie Mac. Thirty-year fixed rates increased by 2 basis points to 3.47 percent. Rates are still low – down from 4.37 percent from a year ago.

A supply crunch spurs a rise in January home prices and intensifies bidding wars. According to Housing Wire, there haven’t been this few homes on the market since 2013.

The coronavirus epidemic that has China nearly paralyzed likely will hurt U.S. home sales to Chinese buyers, the No. 1 foreign purchasers of American property for the last seven years.