Million-Dollar Cities Surge In The U.S.

“Million-Dollar Cities” took even more share in the U.S. as inventory keeps home prices moving up. There are 550 cities where the typical home value is $1 million or more, up from 491 last year, according to a new Zillow report. Home prices were depressed some last year as Americans adjusted to rising rates but have rebounded since the beginning of the year, with many metros clocking new record highs. Most of these affluent areas are in California, which boasts 210 cities, more than the next five states combined.  New York and New Jersey took second and third place, but the NYC metro area – which includes parts of Jersey and Pennsylvania – would take first for most additions. There…

No Day At The Beach: Coastal Homes Are At Risk From Flooding

By CHUCK GREEN In upcoming decades, U.S. homeowners in areas along coastlines could be up the proverbial creek. Sea level rise, along with changing storm patterns, could result in flooding that severely damages homes in many coastal areas. Especially vulnerable, according to estimates, are the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, the Carolinas, and the Washington, DC, area. In 2018, the Union of Concerned Scientists hoisted warning flags when it released an interactive map that showed the estimated number of homes at risk for chronic flooding in the coming decades due to sea level rise. That year, the group reported that burgeoning sea level rise – fueled mainly by climate change – was projected to exacerbate tidal flooding in the country. Within…

Q4 2023 Brought Fewer Underwater Homes

The number of underwater homes in the U.S. dropped in Q4 2023 as home prices continued soaring, adding to the property wealth of American homeowners. Equity rose by approximately $24,000 YOY for the average borrower, according to new data from CoreLogic. A home is underwater if it has negative equity – that is, if it’s worth less than the homeowners owe. Quarter-over-quarter, the number of homes with negative equity slipped by 1.1%, accounting for just 1.8% of all mortgaged properties, the lowest number ever recorded by CoreLogic.  Annually, underwater mortgages were down by 15%. “Rising home prices continue to fuel growing home equity, which, at $298,000 per average borrower remained near historic highs at the end of 2023,” said Dr.…

Cheap Southern States Netted Migrants Post-Pandemic

Location influenced interstate migration after the pandemic, but price moved people the most. According to a new report from LendingTree, the states that netted the most new residents from 2021 to 2022 were cheaper Southern states. Florida and Texas led the pack, netting 249,000 and 174,000 new residents, respectively.  “Florida is an often affordable state where there’s typically a lot to do, plenty of places to eat, and year-round warm weather,” LendingTree senior economist Jacob Channel noted. He also noted that popular Southern states aren’t migration hotspots because they’re perfect. “Florida isn’t some sort of perfect utopia where everyone should live. The state has plenty of problems, and if it doesn’t start putting more effort toward supporting lower-wage workers and…

Texas Lender Colony Ridge Sued By CFPB, DOJ

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of Justice are suing developer and lender Colony Ridge, alleging it targeted Hispanic borrowers with “bait-and-switch” land sales and predatory loans. The lawsuit claims Colony Ridge gave borrowers inaccurate information about homesites and coerced them into loans they could not afford, according to the CFPB’s press release. “Our investigation uncovered that Colony Ridge is baiting borrowers with lies, saddling families with predatory loans for homesites that the company knows have repeatedly flooded with raw sewage and lacked basic utility infrastructure,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. Colony Ridge allegedly sold families flood-prone land without water, sewer, or electrical infrastructure. They are being charged with violating the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act. …

How Much Home People Are Getting For Their Money Compared To The Past

By CHUCK GREEN Home affordability has been a popular topic for the past few years as prices rose and interest rates shot up. First-time homebuyers have complained that they need to spend more to get less than their parents did and industry leaders say they are somewhat right. Andrew Lokenauth, publisher of BeFluentInFinance.com, said that last year the median home price was $428,700 and that with a 20% down payment of $85,740, the mortgage amount would be $342,960. This would require 34.2% of the median household income of $79,900 to cover the monthly principal and interest payments, he said. Lokenauth noted that in 1950, the median home price was $7,400. With 20% down, the mortgage amount would be $5,920, requiring…

Delinquencies Rise But Loss Mitigation Efforts Prevent Foreclosure

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Distressed homeowners who get behind on their mortgage bills are avoiding foreclosure. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Delinquency Survey was released last week and it showed that delinquencies increased in the third quarter to a rate of 3.62%, up 25 basis points from the second quarter and 17 basis points from a year ago. Marina Walsh, MBA’s vice president of industry analysis, said that despite the increase, later-stage delinquencies – those 90 days or more past due – declined to the lowest level since the first quarter of 2020. “The decline in later-stage delinquencies, along with a foreclosure starts rate of 0.14% – which is well below the historical quarterly average of 0.40% – suggest that distressed…

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.”…

Historic Texas Castle Up For Auction This Week

By NICOLE MURRAY Bidding begins this week on a historic castle in Waco, Texas, that was renovated by “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. Back in 2019, the dynamic duo began renovations on Cottonland Castle and documented their progress on their show “Fixer Upper: The Castle,” which aired in 2022. “This castle is one of the most impressive properties in the entire Waco, Central Texas, area, and I’ve wanted it for two decades now. The plan for the castle is to bring this beautiful property back to its original state,” Chip Gaines said in a trailer for the program. The show highlights the couple’s successes and struggles. “One of the biggest things is, ‘How do we make this feel…

Forecasting The Future: When Will People Start Moving Again?

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Although the market is slow now, there will eventually be a point when homeowners let go of their low interest rates and move. Selma Hepp, chief economist at CoreLogic, said it is just a matter of time. Hepp was speaking during an economic forecast panel at the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Las Vegas last week. During her presentation, she said although the housing market varies throughout the country, it has been a disappointing spring season. “Most all markets at this point are showing declines in home sales, but some markets are showing much larger declines in home sales than others,” Hepp said. She said part of the reason for that is homeowners feel…