What The Top Republican Presidential Candidates Are Saying About The Housing Market

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Home affordability is expected to be a pressing issue for American families again this year and although it is not a top priority for Republican presidential candidates yet, they are talking about it. At a rally last month in Durham, New Hampshire, former President Donald Trump said mortgages have become unattainable to the average person and promised to go after banks if he wins back the White House. “After three years of Bidenomics, they call it Bidenomics, from hell, the average monthly mortgage payment has gone from $1,746 under my administration to $3,322 today, but you can’t get the money, so it doesn’t matter,” Trump told the crowd. Trump claimed that “Biden’s handlers are making the banks…

Election 2024: Biden’s Housing Problem

By KIMBERLEY HAAS With just weeks left before the Iowa caucus and the presidential primary in New Hampshire, home affordability is weighing on the minds of voters and at least one leading economist says the issue could take center stage as the race for the White House heats up. Daryl Fairweather, chief economist for Redfin, has said that President Joe Biden will be forced to make home affordability a cornerstone of his reelection bid. “Even though the overall economy is strong, high housing costs are making many Americans feel poor,” Fairweather said in her recent release on housing predictions for 2024. “Home prices are up more than 20% since President Biden took office. That’s a problem for his re-election bid:…

FHFA: Encouraging Trend Seen In Efforts To Reduce Valuation Gaps

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Officials at the Federal Housing Finance Agency say racial and ethnic valuation gaps in home appraisals are being reduced in a majority of states. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​According to a blog published Tuesday, “Although an appraisal valuation gap continues to exist between white and minority population tracts, data indicate a reduced gap following actions by stakeholders and federal, state, and local agencies, including the release of the PAVE Action Plan.” The federal Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity was created in June of 2021 to tackle the problem of racial and ethnic bias in home valuations. It is comprised of 13 federal agencies and offices and is co-led by officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and…

Fitch Downgrade, Economic Highs Push Rates Up

Mortgage rates rose once again last week, elevated by economic news that took investors and analysts by surprise. Officials at Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.90%, up from 6.81%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.30%. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also increased, up to 6.25% from 6.11%. A year ago, it averaged 4.26%. “The combination of upbeat economic data and the U.S. government credit rating downgrade caused mortgage rates to rise this week,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Despite higher rates and lower purchase demand, home prices have increased due to very low unsold inventory.” On Tuesday, leaders at Fitch announced they had downgraded the United States of America’s…

New Manufactured Housing Office Highlights Affordability Concerns

A new independent office has been created for manufactured housing programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Employees at the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs will report to Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner Julia Gordon, according to a press release. The office was previously organized under the Office of Housing’s Office of Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs. Support of manufactured housing is a part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to increase the overall supply of affordable housing. “This organizational change represents a recognition of the critically important role that manufactured housing plays in our country’s housing market,” Gordon said. During the last two years, HUD has supported the continued production of manufactured homes as…

Leaders React To Mortgage Fee Changes As Debate Continues

By CHUCK GREEN Industry leaders and economists are sharing their opinions about changes to fees for loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after reports that homebuyers with good credit scores and substantial down payments will pay more so fees for borrowers limited by income or wealth can be reduced. The changes to the loan-level price adjustment matrix by officials at the Federal Housing Finance Agency went into effect on May 1 and are the target of two bills in Congress. Rep. Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma, vice chairwoman of the Republican Main Street Caucus, introduced the Free Market Mortgage Act. She said the changes will force homebuyers with good credit to pay more for their mortgages to subsidize loans…

Industry Concerns Shared At MBA Conference In Washington, DC

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Attendees at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Advocacy Conference shared concerns about housing affordability, trigger leads, and changes to the loan-level price adjustment matrix. The conference was held last week at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC. MBA members learned about the political and market landscapes on Tuesday before speaking with their elected state representatives on Wednesday. Over 300 members from 39 states participated in those Capitol Hill meetings. Kellie Allen, vice president of production at Synergy One Lending, was at the conference representing Idaho Mortgage Lenders Association. She was looking forward to talking about the challenges members of her association are facing. “Affordable housing is a huge one, of course, and then one of the big…

Mortgage Fee Changes Under Fire As Critics Cite Fairness

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Changes to fees for loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are under scrutiny after recent reports that homebuyers with good credit scores and substantial down payments will pay more starting May 1. Last week, The Washington Times published an article with the headline “Biden to hike payments for good-credit homebuyers to subsidize high-risk mortgages.” Author Dave Boyer, a White House correspondent, wrote that although the changes are part of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s push to make housing more affordable, they will negatively impact traditional borrowers. “Mortgage industry specialists say homebuyers with credit scores of 680 or higher will pay, for example, about $40 per month more on a home loan of $400,000. Homebuyers who…

Focused On Housing Crisis, HUD Unveils 2024 Fiscal Year Proposed Budget

By SCOTT KIMBLER Leaders at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have unveiled their proposed budget for FY 2024 and say funds will be directed at solving the nation’s housing crisis. Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a statement that the proposed budget will help ensure every American has access to housing. “The budget invests in Americans at every station in life – from those seeking to purchase a home to those who receive HUD rental assistance – and will ensure families across the country can live in communities that are safe, affordable, and resilient,” Fudge said. HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman said during a press call that the budget reflects the Biden administration’s values and provides a blueprint…

Officials Try To Reassure Depositors After Closures Of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The administration worked to assure consumers that the banking system was safe on Monday following the sudden collapse of two financial institutions. Officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced on Friday that Silicon Valley Bank was closed by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. It was the biggest bank failure since Washington Mutual in 2008. All insured deposits were transferred to the newly-created Deposit Insurance National Bank of Santa Clara. Silicon Valley Bank had 17 branches in California and Massachusetts. As of December 31, 2022, it held approximately $209 billion in total assets and about $175.4 billion in total deposits, according to officials. On Sunday, FDIC officials announced a similar fate for New York-based…