Young Americans Are Settling In Their Hometowns

By CHUCK GREEN While many Millennials and some Gen Zers have flown the coop, a number of them don’t have to save up their frequent flyer miles to get back home. As it turns out, a hefty portion of both groups aren’t straying far. In a survey of nearly 2,000 U.S. Millennials and Gen Zers to determine how close they live to their parents and why, LendingTree found that the majority of them are choosing to lay down a welcome mat of their own in their hometown. 57% of Millennials and Gen Zers have settled in their hometowns. 42% of those who never uprooted felt it was incumbent upon them to remain close to family, while convenience compelled 36% to…

Is Investing In Real Estate Or The Stock Market Better In 2024?

By CHUCK GREEN Where should you stow at least some of your hard-earned cash this year? Under the mattress? Hmm…. you might want to consult your financial advisor first. Of course, there are lots of options. Despite a landscape rife with unpredictability, perhaps real estate’s your cup of Java. Or maybe the stock market, for all its maddening ups and downs, floats your boat. The choice isn’t exactly as simple as deciding on one or two Splendas with your Latte, so The Mortgage Note set out to find out where experts expect to see the most returns in 2024. Taylor Kovar, CEO and founder of Kovar Wealth Management in Lufkin, Texas, doesn’t think people can go wrong investing in both. …

Value Of Realtors Hot Topic In Wake Of Legal Actions

By CHUCK GREEN and KIMBERLEY HAAS The full impacts of legal actions being taken against the National Association of Realtors are still not clear, but industry leaders are advocating for agents, saying they offer valuable expertise. In October, a Missouri jury ordered the association and two of the nation’s biggest real estate brokerages to pay almost $1.8 billion in damages after they found that commissions were artificially inflated to pay agents. Fresh off winning the verdict, attorneys for the plaintiffs filed a new lawsuit seeking class-action status covering anyone in the country who sold a home in the last five years. NAR’s President Tracy Kasper said in a statement at the time that they will appeal the liability finding, and…

Hallmark Heaven: These Sought-After Towns Have Holiday Names

By CHUCK GREEN Curled up in front of the television watching a Christmas movie, one might romanticize the notion of laying down roots in a holiday-themed town or city. Believe it or not, there are a number of municipalities in America that have names people might associate with this time of year. Stacker, based on information from the Census Bureau, found 29 of them, including North Pole, New York; Rudolph, Wisconsin; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Santa Claus, Arizona; and Christmas, Florida. Snowflake, located in Navajo County in Arizona, has one of these novel names. Jay Eckhardt, the 2023 president-elect of the White Mountain Association of Realtors, told The Mortgage Note that the name is a talking point but buyers move there for…

How Much Home People Are Getting For Their Money Compared To The Past

By CHUCK GREEN Home affordability has been a popular topic for the past few years as prices rose and interest rates shot up. First-time homebuyers have complained that they need to spend more to get less than their parents did and industry leaders say they are somewhat right. Andrew Lokenauth, publisher of BeFluentInFinance.com, said that last year the median home price was $428,700 and that with a 20% down payment of $85,740, the mortgage amount would be $342,960. This would require 34.2% of the median household income of $79,900 to cover the monthly principal and interest payments, he said. Lokenauth noted that in 1950, the median home price was $7,400. With 20% down, the mortgage amount would be $5,920, requiring…

Is America’s Obsession With Homeownership A Good Thing?

By CHUCK GREEN As Americans remain determined to climb the homeownership ladder despite affordability challenges and a lack of inventory, the link between buying a house and success is strengthening, but that may not be benefitting society or the people who have to sacrifice to compete in the current market. Roger Valdez, director at the Center for Housing Economics, told The Mortgage Note that life in the United States has been profoundly shaped by the 30-year mortgage, and as a result, mobility and entrepreneurship have likely suffered. “There’s been a sort of desperation to get into a home and a mortgage over the last three years. The pandemic shifted people’s work and life habits in such a way that, for…

Feds Consider One More Rate Hike Despite Impacts On Housing Market

By CHUCK GREEN The housing market has been slowing down due to interest rate hikes, but that likely won’t stop officials from pushing further in their fight against inflation. And average American homebuyers and sellers will be affected by their decisions as affordability continues to be a concern nationwide. Last week, the Federal Reserve Board voted to hold interest rates steady at their monthly policy meeting, keeping the federal funds rate target range between 5.25% and 5.5%. Chairman Jerome Powell said in his remarks that despite the pause, “We are prepared to raise rates further if appropriate, and we intend to hold policy at a restrictive level until we are confident that inflation is moving down sustainably toward our objective.”…

It’s Been 15 Years Since Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Conservatorship

By CHUCK GREEN Back in 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in trouble. In fact, without government intervention, they faced imminent collapse, and on Sept. 6 of that year, both were placed in conservatorship by the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. With those conservatorships hitting their 15th anniversary, William Emmons, an adjunct lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis, said the takeover was historically significant because they were the first large-scale government interventions in what came to be known as the Global Financial Crisis. “In other words, their collapse was a bellwether of things to come. Lehman Brothers failed one week later, which triggered the chain reaction of collapsing banks, AIG, and market confidence,” Emmons told The…

Feeling The Pain: Fed’s Hikes Affect Housing Market

By CHUCK GREEN Mortgage rates are hovering around 7% as the summer winds down and with potential homebuyers facing high monthly payments for the few properties for sale, people are wondering when the Federal Reserve will loosen its grip on monetary policy so the housing market can free up again. Last month, Chairman Jerome Powell announced the key interest rate would be lifted to 5.25% to 5.5% — the upper figure representing a level not seen since 2001, according to the Associated Press. Powell said that they don’t expect to reach their goal of 2% inflation until 2025, and they do not intend to cut rates until next year. “The Fed’s rate hikes attempt to combat inflation, increasing mortgage interest…

What Does Today’s Mortgage Professional Look Like?

By CHUCK GREEN Mirror, mirror, on the wall, show us a reflection of who we are. American homebuyers are getting older. The typical first-time homebuyer is now 36, while the repeat buyer’s age climbed to 59 last year. So what about the mortgage professionals that cater to these consumers? Are they older, industry veterans, or are they young and eager businessmen and women inspired to get into their career paths by the pandemic housing boom? Based on information from Zippia, a career planning site, the average mortgage broker is 44 years old, and 67.5% of brokers are male. The average mortgage originator is also 44 years old. Zippia estimates that 56.2% are men. Beth Rosenbaum, principal of WOSG, a mortgage…