Builder Confidence Dips As Costs Rise

Builder confidence dropped slightly in January, disrupting a four-month trend of rising builder sentiment despite high consumer demand, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Builder confidence in the markets for newly-built, single-family homes dropped one point to 83. Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. Notably, the HMI has remained at 83 or 84 for the past three months, the same level as the spring of 2021. The drop was attributed to inflation concerns and ongoing supply chain disruptions. “Higher material costs and lack of availability are adding weeks to typical single-family construction times,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke, a custom home builder from Tampa,…

Morning Roundup (1/14/2022)– Forbearance Exits Remain High, Rates Hit 3.45%

Good Morning! Today is Friday, January 14. The Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers. Australia canceled Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time, days before the Australian Open. The leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia was charged with seditious conspiracy in the Capitol riot investigation. And in mortgage and housing news… Forbearance Exits Remain High: Of single-family homeowners who entered Covid-19 related forbearance, 89% have now exited their plans, according to Black Knight. Rates Climb Again: Mortgage rates jumped significantly this week, up to an average of 3.45% from 3.22%, Freddie Mac reported. Vice Chairwoman: President Biden will nominate Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former top Treasury Department official, to serve as…

Industry Responds To Thompson Nomination

President Biden will nominate Sandra Thompson to become the permanent director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the White House announced in a statement on Tuesday. Thompson is the current acting head of the FHFA, having taken over the position in June when Biden replaced Mark Calabria. She would serve a five-year term after her approval by the Senate. Though Thompson has held the position since June, her nomination was at one point in question. Biden faced criticism in September when rumors spread that he was considering nominating Center for Responsible Lending President Michael Calhoun. Thompson maintained support among Democratic politicians focused on housing, especially House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters, which may have solidified her position. “We will…

Morning Roundup (11/29/2021)– BBB Housing Plan Explained, Forbearance Starts Up

Good Morning! Today is Monday, November 29. The new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, may be more contagious among vaccinated people but less deadly overall. Japan, Israel, and Morocco have closed their borders to foreign travelers. Mark Esper is suing the DOD for not clearing his book manuscript for publication due to sections detailing his time working under Donald Trump. And in mortgage and housing news… Build Back Better’s Implications On Housing Prices: The House version of President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan includes about $170 billion for affordable housing and people are asking what that means. CRA Changes: As the Fed weighs making the Community Reinvestment Act race-specific, what do the data say about CRA loans? Not much. Forbearance Starts Jump: …

Why Wait Until Spring To Sell Your Home?

By KIMBERLEY HAAS When the holiday season starts, people are typically reluctant to put their homes on the market due to a lack of potential buyers. But this could be the year when that changes. In a recent article at Realtor.com, the company’s Chief Economist Danielle Hale said sellers can expect to see plenty of buyers this winter. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, agreed. He expects there will be more home sales this winter than there were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. That is good news for sellers, especially since CNN Business reported last week that the median price of single-family existing homes rose in 99% of the 183 markets tracked by employees at the…

DOJ, FTC Investigate Real Estate Commission Policies

Home sale commissions are under investigation by the Biden administration, which has asked the Federal Trade Commission to adopt rules to address any unfair practices it sees in the real estate industry, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Justice Department is investigating commissions after several civil lawsuits challenging industry rules passed muster in procedural challenges. Critics of traditional broker fees say rising home prices have highlighted an epidemic of excessive fees. Real estate agent fees are typically 5%-6% of the sale price. Homebuyers end up paying part of these fees through the purchase price but have little control over fees because they are set by the seller. Consumer advocates have specifically pointed to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) rules…