Philadelphia Caught In Balancing Act Between Affordable Living, Green Space

By ERIN FLYNN JAY The city of Philadelphia, like many other communities in the country, is caught in a balancing act. High rents and a lack of affordable housing are a problem, but at the same time, building reduces much-needed green spaces for residents. What are city leaders doing to tackle these issues? Vern Anastasio, Esq. with Anastasio Law, LLC who runs Philly Zoning, online resources for property owners and investors, said two city council districts now have affordable housing mandates through zoning overlays for any new multi-family building with 10 or more units. “What we are seeing, however, in at least one of those districts, is a sharp decline in permits being applied for that would qualify for this…

Entry-Level Home Prices Still Hot As Competition Sizzles

First-time buyers are still living in last year’s housing market thanks to limited affordable inventory, leading to tight competition and soaring prices. A new report from Zillow found that typical home values for the least-expensive one-third of houses rose by 8% YOY, or $13,000. In comparison, mid-level homes saw a 3% YOY increase, and the most expensive one-third of houses lost value, experiencing a 1% drop. This is the first loss of value for the top tier since at least 2012. “Buyers shopping for the least-expensive homes this spring aren’t noticing much difference from the pandemic-era market heat,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s chief economist. “Competition is fierce, but there aren’t many homes for sale, so buyers should be patient but…

Affordability Improved In July

Affordability improved in July, with the national median payment applied for by applicants falling to $1,844 from $1,893 in June, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported. MBA’s Purchase Applications Payment Index (PAPI) fell for a second consecutive month, down 3.8% to a reading of 157.7.  PAPI measures monthly payments across time and relative to income, so this reading indicates that payments on new mortgages accounted for a smaller share of a typical person’s income. The improvement can be attributed to lower mortgage rates and less competition as more potential buyers are priced out of the market. Rates dipped to 5.13% last week, though they are back up this week. Additionally, purchase demand has declined sharply this year. Overall loan application…

Housing Affordability Down In May Across The Nation

Housing affordability fell across the country in May, with the monthly mortgage payment up 6.2% month-over-month and 51% year-over-year. The National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) Housing Affordability Index showed that in contrast to rapidly rising prices, the median family increase rose only 0.7% from April and 4.5% YOY. Housing affordability fell the most in the South, which saw a 33.8% decline, followed by the West (30%), the Midwest (27.6%), and the Northeast (25%). All of NAR’s Indices but the West posted readings above 100, meaning a family with the median income had more than the income required to afford a median-priced home. The Midwest was the most affordable region, with a reading of 140.5. The South was the second most…

Builder Confidence Falls, Signaling A Market Slowdown

Builder confidence fell eight points in May, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). The HMI registered a reading of 69 in May, a significant drop from April. This is the fifth consecutive month of decline and the lowest reading since June 2020. The low reading suggests that the housing market is slowing thanks to affordability challenges. “The housing market is facing growing challenges. Building material costs are up 19% from a year ago, in less than three months mortgage rates have surged to a 12-year high and, based on current affordability conditions, less than 50% of new and existing home sales are affordable for a typical family,”  said NAHB Chief Economist Robert…

Fannie Mae Commits $5M To 2022 Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge

Fannie Mae has committed $5 million to its second annual Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge (IC22), the GSE announced. The challenge seeks to “attract innovative ideas that will help advance racial equity in housing,” according to the press release. Fannie Mae will receive proposals from the public, private, and non-profit sectors, as well as from individuals and teams.  Proposals should address supply, funding, and credit barriers. IC22 is part of the GSE’s Sustainable Communities Partnership and Innovation Initiative, which helps to develop collaborative, cross-sector approaches to advancing sustainable communities. “Fannie Mae is proud to launch the next iteration of the Innovation Challenge and support innovative projects that promote racial equity in housing in the United States,” said Maria Evans, Vice President…

Existing Home Sales Fall For Second Month

Existing home sales fell for a second month in March, down 2.7% from February and 4.5% YOY, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Existing home sales are now down to an annualized rate of 5.77 million. March sales dropped in three of the four major regions but stayed stable in the West. But all four regions saw YOY declines. “The housing market is starting to feel the impact of sharply rising mortgage rates and higher inflation taking a hit on purchasing power,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.  “Still, homes are selling rapidly, and home price gains remain in the double-digits.” Properties remained on the market for an average of 17 days, down from 18 days both in…

March Home Sales Dropped 4% From Feb, Sign Of A Potential Slowdown

Home sales dropped by 4% last month and 8% YOY, closing out a fast-paced March with signs of a potential cooldown, Redfin reported. Homes sold at their fastest pace ever and for more above list price than any other March in history. The median home-sale price rose 6.2% to $412,700, a record high and the fastest month-over-month gain for this time of year since 2013. But seasonally adjusted home sales fell 4% thanks to severe inventory shortages, rising rates, and accelerating home prices. Seasonally adjusted active listings—the count of all homes that were for sale at any time during the month—fell 13% YOY to an all-time low. “Although pricey coastal markets began showing early signs of a slowdown in late…

Bidding Wars Hit Highest Level Since April 2020

Bidding wars hit their highest level since at least April 2020, with 70% of home offers from Redfin agents facing competition in January, a new Redfin report found. This is up from 67.7% in December and 61% in January 2021. The report chalks up the increased bidding to a combination of rising interest rates, high demand, and low inventory. January marked the first time rates hit 3.5% since the beginning of the pandemic, and have jumped to nearly 4% in the first weeks of February. New listings continue dropping, hitting record lows. “Rising mortgage rates are intensifying an already-severe shortage of homes for sale because buyers are feeling more urgency to buy while homeowners are feeling less urgency to sell—an…

Morning Roundup (12/06/2021)– Omicron Fears, Zillow Recovery

Good Morning! Today is Monday, December 6. Former Senate Majority Leader and Republican Presidential Nominee Bob Dole died yesterday. He was 98 years old. Bitcoin recovered from a weekend crash that brought its value below $50,000. Omicron may have been spreading at a New York anime convention before cases were officially confirmed in the US. And in mortgage and housing news… Market-Crash Flashback?: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have raised their loan limits to nearly $1 million in some communities. Does that mean lenders are repeating the same mistakes which led to the 2008 crash? Analysts React To Omicron: How will Omicron impact the housing market? Analysts are optimistic it won’t cause significant damage. Zillow Bouncing Back: Zillow is recovering…