Home Ownership Market Survey

Low mortgage rates are fueling more favorable opinions on home buying. Nearly two-thirds of Americans—or 63%—believe now is a good time to buy a home, shows the National Association of REALTORS®’ newly released Housing Opportunities and Market Experience Survey, reflecting more than 2,700 consumer responses from the third quarter. Thirty-four percent in the third quarter said they “strongly” believe now is a good time to buy, which is down slightly from the previous quarter.

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun offers a cautionary response to the favorable findings. “The fact that slightly fewer are expressing strong intensity compared to recent prior quarters is implying some would-be buyers have concerns about the direction of the economy,” Yun says. Fewer of the respondents—52%—believe the U.S. economy is improving. Millennials tended to be the most pessimistic about the direction over the economy.

Older consumers with higher incomes tended to be the most optimistic over the prospects of homebuying. The silent generation (those born between 1925 and 1945) were the most upbeat about buying at 75%, followed closely by older baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1954) at 72%, the study showed. Further, 72% of consumers with incomes of $100,000 felt now is a good time to buy compared to 54% of consumers with incomes under $50,000.

Source: “2019 Q3 Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey,” National Association of REALTORS® (Sept. 23, 2019)

Home Loan Rates Increase

Mortgage rates jumped dramatically this week but stand to dip some in the near future after the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates Wednesday. However, despite the uptick, rates remain historically low, Freddie Mac reports.

“Home buyers flocked to lenders with purchase applications, which were up 15 percent from a year ago, and residential construction permits increased 12 percent from a year ago to 1.4 million—the highest level in 12 years. While there was initially a slow response to the overall lower mortgage rate environment this year, it is clear that the housing market is finally improving due to the strong labor market and low mortgage rates,” says Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater.

Freddie Mac reported the following national averages for the week ending Sept. 19:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.73%, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.56% average. Last year at this time, they averaged 4.65%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.21%, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.09% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.11%.
Source: Freddie Mac

 

 

Latest Fed Rate Cut Benefit

The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate by another quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday to a range of 1.75% to 2%, citing concerns over a global economic slowdown. Mortgage rates aren’t directly tied to the Fed’s interest rate, but they do tend to be influenced by them.

Still, while mortgage rates remain low, the Fed’s actions Wednesday will likely have little impact, at least initially, in directly bringing rates down more, several economists said after the Fed’s announcement.

Following its meeting, the Fed said that the U.S. economy is in “strong shape and unemployment remains low.” “If the economy does turn down, a more extensive series of rate cuts could be warranted,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference following the Fed’s meeting.

Flood Insurance Extension Likely

Congress is expected to extend the National Flood Insurance Program before it expires Sept. 30, but less clear is when Congress will turn to meaningful program reforms the National Association of REALTORS® and other housing groups have advocated for years.

Outdated federal flood maps—some of which haven’t been updated in more than 40 years, housing experts warn—may be influencing homeowners not to seek proper flood insurance if they falsely believe they don’t live in a high risk floodplain. NAR has long called on reforming the maps, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency uses to assess flood risk and crisis response.

Source: ‘Too Many People Are in Denial.’ FEMA Urges Homeowners to Buy Flood Insurance,” McClatchy Company (Sept. 12, 2019)

Mortgage Rates Increase

“Purchase mortgage applications up nine percent from a year ago. The improved demand reflects the still healthy underlying consumer economic fundamentals such as a low unemployment rate, solid wage growth and low mortgage rates. While there has been a material weakness in manufacturing and consistent trade uncertainty, so far, the American consumer has proved to be resilient with solid home purchase demand,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Sept. 12:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.56 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending September 12, 2019, up from last week when it averaged 3.49 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.6 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.09 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.0 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.06 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Record Rates by Year’s End?

By the end of this year, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage could drop to 3.3%, which would put this popular loan product near its lowest average since Freddie Mac began tracking back data 48 years.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, made the prediction after seeing the latest Labor Department report last week, showing a slowing job market. “The economy is clearly weakening, and the employment conditions show a lagging indicator,” Yun says. “The soft job gains in August assures that the Federal Reserve will be cutting interest rates.”

 

Home Loan Rates Remain Low!

“Mortgage rates continued the summer swoon due to weaker economic data,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “While economic growth is clearly slowing due to rising manufacturing and trade headwinds, economic fundamentals are still solid for U.S. consumers. The unemployment rate is low, housing affordability is improving, home buyer demand is rising, and home price growth is stable.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Sept. 5:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.49%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.58% average. Last year at this time, they averaged 4.54%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3%, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 3.06% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.99%.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.30%, with an average 0.4 point, dropping from last week’s 3.31% average. A year ago, averaged 3.93%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady

“Mortgage rates inched up slightly this week, closing the month with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate averaging 3.6 percent – almost a full percent from the same time last year. Low mortgage rates along with a strong labor market are fueling the consumer-driven economy by boosting their purchasing power, which will certainly support housing market activity in the coming months,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Aug. 29:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.58 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending Aug 29, 2019, up from last week when it averaged 3.55 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.52 percent.
  • 15-year FRM averaged 3.06 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.03 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.97 percent.

Smartphones Are Guiding Buyers

Mobile devices are what buyers turn to for finding properties and real estate agents. This has put increasing importance on real estate pros to make sure their websites are mobile friendly and they’re connecting in a way that clients most desire.

The typical home buyer used a mobile device to search for properties online, looking at websites with photos, home listings, and information about the homebuying process, according to the newly released “Real Estate in a Digital Age 2019 Report” published by the National Association of REALTORS® that looks at technology use within transactions.

Overall, 76% of all buyers say they found their home on a mobile device. Seventeen percent of buyers surveyed said they also found their agent on a mobile device, too.

Source: “Real Estate in a Digital Age,” National Association of REALTORS® (8/2019)

Mortgage Rates at 2016 Territory

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.55% this week, the lowest average since November 2016, Freddie Mac reports. The lower mortgage rates are boding well for the housing market.

“The drop in mortgage rates continues to stimulate the real estate market and the economy,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Home purchase demand is up five percent from a year ago and has noticeably strengthened since the early summer months, while refinances surged to their highest share in three and a half years.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Aug. 22:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.55%, dropping from last week’s 3.60% average. Last year at this time, they averaged 4.51%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.03%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.07% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.98%.
Source: Freddie Mac