Nearly 40% Of Renters Believe They’ll Never Own A Home

The number of renters who believe they’ll never afford a home has skyrocketed in the last year as rates rose and stock shortages lifted home prices out of their late-2023 spiral. A recent Redfin survey found that close to 38% of renters believe they are unlikely to become homeowners, up from 27% at the same time last year. Lack of affordability is the most cited reason for their pessimism, with almost half of respondents saying houses are simply too expensive. Trouble saving for down payments (35%), inability to afford mortgage payments (33%) and high mortgage rates (32%) accounted for the rest. Just 14% said they don’t want to own a home. The combination of price appreciation and near-7% rates has…

Rates Fall To 6.60%

Mortgage rates have slipped to their lowest levels since May. Officials at Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.60%, down from the week prior’s 6.66%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.15%. The 15-year fixed fell to 5.76% from 5.87%. A year ago, it averaged 5.28%. “This is an encouraging development for the housing market and in particular for first-time homebuyers who are sensitive to changes in housing affordability,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “However, as purchase demand continues to thaw, it will put more pressure on already depleted inventory for sale.” Rates are the primary concern of most potential buyers, but the market remains crippled by ongoing stock shortages…

Mortgage Applications Slip As Americans Return To Cautious Buying Outlook

Mortgage applications slipped as the initial shock of falling rates wore off and buyers once again approached the market carefully. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey shows the adjusted Market Composite Index – a measure of mortgage loan application volume – fell 1.5%, coming down from the week prior’s 7.4% boost. Adjusted purchase applications dropped by 1%, while the unadjusted index fell 4% from the week before and was 18% lower YOY. Americans appear to be losing interest in falling rates, which initially sparked some activity in the market. The 30-year fixed fell to its lowest level since June last week and hit 6.83%. “At least as of last week, borrowers’ response to this rate move was rather tepid. VA…

HUD Takes Aim At Rental Housing Fees

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is taking aim at transparency in rental housing fees in a bid to make life more affordable for the average American. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge announced commitments by some of the biggest rental search platforms to address unexpected and junk fees. Zillow, Apartments.com, and AffordableHousing.com all said they will provide tools renters can use to calculate exactly how much their rental will cost. Zillow is adding a Cost of Renting Summary to its active apartment listings, while Apartments.com is launched a new calculator that includes these fees on its website. AffordableHousing.com will require listings to disclose all fees and charges upfront.  “[M]any renters today face fees that are hidden, duplicative, or unnecessary as…

Housing Starts Exceed Expectations

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Privately-owned housing starts surpassed estimates in May, beating expectations as the housing market remains tight. The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the latest residential construction statistics on Tuesday morning. “Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,631,000. This is 21.7% (±14.8%) above the revised April estimate of 1,340,000 and is 5.7% (±10.8%) above the May 2022 rate of 1,543,000. Single‐family housing starts in May were at a rate of 997,000; this is 18.5% (±14.1%) above the revised April figure of 841,000,” a press release says. Principal Kelly Mangold of RCLCO Real Estate Consulting in Maryland said this is the second month in a…

California Apartment Building Owner Charged With Discriminating Against A Growing Family

By KIMBERLEY HAAS A California apartment building owner who suggested a couple move into a bigger unit to accommodate their growing family is being charged with discrimination by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development officials. Melinda Teruel is accused of making repeated efforts to convince the couple to move into a larger apartment in the city of Burlingame even though they told her they could not afford it. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against families with children under the age of 18. “As HUD prepares to commemorate Fair Housing Month during April 2023, this charge of discrimination is a reminder that the fight for fair housing must continue,” Demetria McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing…

HUD Assisting Local Governments Bringing Housing And Transportation Together

Officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have opened a portal for local government leaders to request technical assistance so housing needs are considered as part of their larger infrastructure investment plans. The Thriving Communities technical assistance program was designed to help local government leaders identify land for housing development near transportation projects, develop preservation and anti-displacement strategies, reduce barriers to location-efficient housing, improve intergovernmental coordination, and support a holistic approach to housing and transportation. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said they are working with local government leaders, transit authorities, metropolitan planning organizations, the private sector, and community-based organizations. “A thriving community is intentional about building and preserving affordable housing near public transportation and leveraging infrastructure investments to…

Housing Starts Slid Again In December, But Builders Are Optimistic

Housing construction slid again in December to its lowest point since July, but an increase in single-family starts may signal improvement to come. Residential starts fell 1.4% from November to an annualized rate of 1.38 million, down 21.8% from the same time last year, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the fourth consecutive decline for these data. It was driven largely by a dip in multifamily construction, which is volatile month to month. The picture for all of 2022 was fairly bleak. In the entire year, only 1 million homes were started, down 10.6% from 2021 and the largest drop since 2009. Permits for new homes fell 1.6% to a rate of 1.33 million. Single-family permits…

Compass Cuts More Jobs As 2023 Outlook Dims

New York-based real estate brokerage Compass Inc. announced a third round of layoffs Thursday as part of its ongoing cost-cutting strategy in the face of a housing slowdown. Compass CEO Robert Reffkin has made major investments in technology as part of its business strategy in the competitive residential brokerage industry. According to reports, the cuts will leave the tech side of the company largely untouched. The layoffs, which began last June, are part of what Reffkin has said will be a $320 million cost-cutting plan. Compass is a major player in some large urban markets like New York and Los Angeles, with more than $250 billion in sales in 2021, according to RealTrends. However, over the past six weeks, the…

Keyes Company, Revive Team Up To Push Presale Renovation

The Keyes Company is partnering with presale renovation company Revive to help sellers boost the value of their home before listing, the companies announced in a press release. Revive and Keyes plan to maximize home equity by guiding sellers through pre-sale renovations. These changes may boost the equity by 15-20%. Revive will front the costs of renovations, as well as provide guidance, contractor support, and other expertise. Keyes Company agents will then be able to ensure sellers are getting the best return on investment they can. Renovated homes bring in $186,000 more in net profit than those sold “as is,” and sell faster, according to leaders at Revive. “Home sellers who want to maximize their returns can no longer list…