Are You Ready To Sell Your House And Move To A Retirement Community?

By CHUCK GREEN As Baby Boomers age, they are making tough decisions about their living arrangements. Familiar with every creak in their home’s floorboards and often a friendly face for neighbors, they are coming to grips with the fact that moving on from the place where they raised their kids might be the right thing for them to do. According to the 2024 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends report by the National Association of Realtors, Baby Boomers accounted for 45% of sellers in 2023. “Baby Boomers continue to dominate the home-selling market as they make pivotal decisions regarding their retirement living situations, whether it’s right-sizing or moving closer to loved ones,” Jessica Lautz, NAR deputy chief economist and vice…

Homebuyer Credit Scores Hit Multi-Year High

Average homebuyer credit scores soared to their highest point since 2018 in March, according to Optimal Blue’s March 2024 Originations Market Report. The average score hit 737, an all-time high in Optimal Blue’s data, which dates back to January 2018. Scores for FHA borrowers also hit 6-year highs, clocking in at 677 in February and 676 in March. VA and conforming loan scores soared to highs not seen since 2021. “Driven by rising interest rates and home prices, we’re witnessing the highest average homebuyer credit scores in years,” said Brennan O’Connell, director of data solutions at Optimal Blue.  “This unprecedented level of creditworthiness among purchasers is largely a result of the affordability issues borrowers face in today’s housing market, with…

How Cities Can Help Increase Black American Homeownership

By ERIN FLYNN JAY Homeownership rates for Black Americans are lagging and leaders in some cities are taking action to turn that around. According to a report released by the National Association of Realtors last month, minority groups saw increased homeownership rates in 2022. While Asian and Hispanic homeownership rates registered all-time highs at 63.3% and 51.1%, the Black homeownership rate was 44.1%. The homeownership rate for white Americans was at 72.3% in 2022. Jessica Lautz, NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research, said in a statement that the impacts of overall housing affordability affect minority buyers more than white buyers. Minority buyers often pay more of their monthly income in rent, making it harder to save for…

Will Profits Continue To Drop For Sellers?

By ERIN FLYNN JAY Gross profits and profit margins remained near record levels for sellers last year but they decreased for the first time since 2011 in what could be seen as a sign of a cooling housing market. ATTOM released its Year-End 2023 U.S. Home Sales Report on Jan. 24, which shows that home sellers made a $121,000 profit on the typical sale in 2023, generating a 56.5% return on investment. Compare that to 2022, when the gross profit on median-priced single-family homes was $122,600 and the profit margin was 59.8%. This drop in profits happened as the median nationwide home price rose at the smallest annual pace in more than a decade, according to ATTOM. So is this…

Year In Review: Highs And Lows Of 2023

By ERIN FLYNN JAY As 2023 comes to a close, industry leaders say there were some highs, but leaving this year behind won’t be a problem for many mortgage professionals. ATTOM CEO Rob Barber said in the spring, as the peak homebuying season heated up, lenders nationwide enjoyed their first quarterly increase in mortgage activity after eight consecutive declines dating back to early 2021. “The second-quarter rebound was huge as total loans shot up 22%. The spike was powered by across-the-board, double-digit gains in purchase, refinance, and home-equity credit line deals,” said Barber. But the turnaround was quick lived, he said, as the numbers went back down in the third quarter, with overall activity decreasing by 3%. Only refinance lending…

Mortgage Rates Make Biggest One-Week Drop In More Than A Year

U.S. mortgage rates took their biggest one-week drop in more than a year last week. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported the contract rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell 25 basis points to 7.61%. That’s the lowest level since the end of September. Market watchers point to the Federal Reserve’s decision last week to hold interest rates steady as one reason for the slide in mortgage rates, adding to hopes the housing sector will improve in the coming months. The MBA also reported mortgage applications for home sales rose 3%. Mortgage brokers say it’s no surprise that with a tight market and plenty of frustrated would-be buyers, there was a surge in demand. Refinancing activity ticked up as the refinance…

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.”…

In-Person Work, Quality Of Life Affects Americans On The Move

By ERIN FLYNN JAY Return to the office mandates and the continued desire for a better quality of life are affecting Americans as they decide where to move in 2023. Companies that allowed employees to work remotely during and immediately after the Covid pandemic are reversing course this year. On Sept. 5, Meta’s requirement that employees assigned to an office show up at least three days a week went into effect. With the policy change, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company joined Google and other major employers that are pulling the plug on remote work despite advances in technology that allow people to log in from anywhere. Some analysts argue that it is a leadership preference, while others point out that…

How The Housing Market Is Affected By Inflation

By ERIN FLYNN JAY Inflation has affected the housing market as higher costs of living puts more stress on the average person’s finances. The average American household spent $709 more in July than they did two years ago to buy the same goods and services, according to Moody’s Analytics. “High inflation of the past 2+ years has done lots of economic damage,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, wrote in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Rick Sharga, President & CEO of CJ Patrick Company, said among other things, inflation makes it harder for renters to save money for a down payment, and as home prices tend to go up over time, the amount of…

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…