Many Want A Home But Debt, Costs Keep Them Renting

By GREGORY BRESIGER High inflation and the economic impacts of COVID are destroying the dreams of Americans who want to have a home, mortgage and credit card experts warn. That’s because the pandemic has driven many people deeper into credit card debt since 2020 and that, along with rising interest rates and inadequate housing stock, are reducing the number of new mortgages. “Overall, I would say they are declining,” Linda McCoy, Board President of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, told The Mortgage Note. U.S. mortgage applications declined 8.1% in the week ended March 18th, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That followed a 1.2% decline in the previous week. This happened, MBA officials noted, as mortgage rates were the…

Consumer Sentiment Down To Its Lowest Point Since 2011

March brought another dip in consumer sentiment, with the University of Michigan’s index registering its lowest level since August 2011. The March index was revised down to 59.4 from a reading of 59.7 two weeks ago. An index of 100 is equal to sentiment in Q1 1966. A year ago at this time, the index was 84.9. Consumer sentiment is now down 41.6 points from its peak in February 2020 and is even below the lows seen in four of the last six recessions.  “When asked to explain changes in their finances in their own words, more consumers mentioned reduced living standards due to rising inflation than any other time except during the two worst recessions in the past fifty…

New Home Sales Decline For Second Month Straight

New home sales dropped by 2% in February, declining for a second consecutive month, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Purchase of new single-family homes fell to a 772,000 annualized rate, down from a revised rate of 788,000 in January and 6.2% lower than the expected rate of 823,000. These declines suggest American house hunters are taking a step back as interest rates and inflation rise. The South and West, two regions that have been quite popular with homebuyers in the last year, saw sales decline, while the less popular Northeast and Midwest saw an increase in sales. At month’s end, an estimated 407,000 new homes remained on the market,…

Invasion Of Ukraine, Inflation To Take Toll On U.S. Housing Sector

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its implications for the global economy have some experts saying the housing market in the United States will be impacted because of growing inflation pressures and supply chain difficulties. The Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group now projects full-year 2022 real gross domestic product growth of 2.3%, down from last month’s projection of 2.8%. They have also increased their 30-year fixed mortgage rate forecast to 3.8% in 2022 and 3.9% in 2023. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Just before the war began, inflation hit a 40-year high and the Federal Reserve was poised to begin a course of significant money tightening. According to the ESR Group, the task of enacting…

Loan Applications Down

Mortgage loan application volume fell 1.2% last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly survey shows. The adjusted Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, dropped 1.2%. The adjusted purchase index fell 1%, while the unadjusted purchase index fell 2% and was 8% lower YOY. The refinance index fell 3% and was down 49% YOY. Refinances made up 48.4% of total applications. Rising mortgage rates continue to impact application activity. Rates reached 4.27% last week, their highest since May 2019, and are adding to investor uncertainty. They’re also having an outsized impact on refis, which declined for both conventional and government loans. Refinances bounced up last week due to a brief drop in rates, though it was…

Broker Confidence Dropped In February

Broker confidence fell for the second straight month in February, though brokers are “cautiously optimistic” about the future, according to RISMedia’s February Broker Confidence Index (BCI). The index, which is scaled 1 to 10, fell to 7.5 from January’s 7.9 and December 2021’s 8.2. For the 3,000 brokers surveyed, rising interest rates were not a big cause for concern. They felt that rising rates won’t hurt demand considering current market conditions. Brokers’ biggest worries were inflation and inventory, with a nod to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. “The continued lack of supply has really created a bubble,” Quincy Smith, a broker with ERA Matt Fischer in Yuma, Arizona, told RISMedia.  “With the equity market starting what appears to be a…

Fed’s Bowman Suggests Half-Point Rate Hike In March

Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman said the Fed could hike rates by half a percentage point in March, suggesting the move is necessary to fight inflation. Inflation is currently at a four-decade high, with the Consumer Price Index up 7.5% year-over-year in January 2022. “The nation is dealing with inflation at its highest level in decades, much of it driven by corporate greed and anticompetitive behavior, and the federal government must use every tool available to prevent price gouging and reduce prices for Americans,” Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote in a letter to the Department of Justice, asking it to take action against companies violating antitrust laws to hike prices for consumers.  Bowman said Monday that inflation is “much too high” and suggested…

Impact Of Labor Numbers On Housing Market Remains Unclear

Despite an uptick in job numbers and an increase in personal incomes, there is still uncertainty about how the latest Labor Statistics Report will impact the housing market. The latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows payroll employment growth as 467,000 in January and an increase of job growth at 1.8 million in the last three months of 2021. The report also shows an income increase of 5.7% since this time last year. In short, more people have jobs and nearly everyone is at least making a little more money. Elizabeth Rose is a Financial Planner and Lender with Mortgage 300 based in Dallas, Texas. She says the numbers show a lot of positive growth, but maybe not…

Inflation Rising In High-Migration Cities

The Great Migration is driving up inflation in the most popular destinations, a new Redfin report reveals. Looking at the correlation between inflation and migration in the metros, Redfin users are looking to move. Their analysis showed that high migration rates are linked to rising inflation. The tenth most popular destination in Q4 2021, Atlanta, saw inflation rise by 8.9% year-over-year in the same period, the highest inflation rate of all metros in their analysis. “Migration is one reason among many why the cost of everything from food to fuel is rising,” said Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr. “An influx of people moving to a popular, relatively affordable place like Atlanta increases demand for housing and transportation, pushing up…

Freddie Mac Forecast: Purchases Up, ReFi’s Down in 2022

Mortgage lenders should expect a small uptick in home purchases, while refi’s fall off the fiscal cliff. That’s the finding of the latest Freddie Mac’s latest Quarterly Forecast. Housing demand is expected to remain high, with home sales forecast to reach 6.9 million in 2022, then 7 million in 2023. “As mortgage rates rise, we do expect some moderation in housing demand, causing house price growth to temper. However, the combination of a large number of entry-level homebuyers facing a shortage of entry-level inventory of homes for sale should keep the housing market competitive,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.  “In 2022, we expect purchase originations to grow from $1.9 trillion in 2021 to $2.1 trillion in 2022 while…