Mortgage Applications Surge

Home buyer demand hit its highest level in 11 years, as January continues to shape up to be a hot month for the housing market. Weekly mortgage applications jumped 30% for the week ending Jan. 10, a sign that home buyers are emerging, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index shows. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased to its lowest level since September, averaging 3.87%, the MBA reports.

Applications for home purchases, a gauge of home buying activity, jumped 16% last week, reaching the highest level since 2009.

Source: “Weekly Mortgage Applications Soar 30% as Homebuyer Demand Hits the Highest Level in 11 Years,” CNBC (Jan. 15, 2020) and “Falling Mortgage Rates Set Off a Stampede of Borrowing,” MoneyWise (Jan. 15, 2020)

Are Your Neighbors Copycats?

Seventy percent of homeowners admit that they’ve copied their next-door neighbor’s decor. The most common similarity was to their neighbor’s indoor furniture, according to a new international survey from the U.K. of 2,275 homeowners from My Job Quote, a job network resource.

And while imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery, most homeowners say—65%–say that they’re uncomfortable when they learn a neighbor has copied them. Yet, when homeowners were asked whether they’ve ever imitated aspects of their neighbor’s house, 70% admit yes.

Interesting USA data at source: My Job Quote

Mortgage Rates Drop

“Mortgage rates fell to the lowest level in thirteen weeks, as investors sought the quality and safety of the U.S. Treasury fixed income markets,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The drop in mortgage rates, combined with the strong labor market, should propel a continued rise in homebuyer demand.”

News Facts:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.64 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending January 9, 2020, down from last week when it averaged 3.72 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.45 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.07 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.16 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.89 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Home Loan Interest Rates Drop

What a difference a year makes. Home shoppers are being greeted with much lower mortgage rates to kick off 2020 than they were a year ago. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.72% this week, compared to 4.51% at the beginning of 2019.

“The stability is welcome news after the interest rate turbulence of the last year, which caused a slowdown in the housing market and other interest rate-sensitive sectors,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The low mortgage rate environment combined with the red-hot labor market is setting the stage for a continued rise in home sales and home prices.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Jan. 2:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.72%, with an average 0.7 point, falling slightly from a 3.74% average a week ago. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.51%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.16%, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 3.19% average. A year ago, they averaged 3.99%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Pending Home Sales Jump

Pending home sales rose 1.2% in November after slipping the prior month, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report, which was just released. Year-over-year contract signings were up 7.4% nationally, according to the report. The West region of the country reported the highest monthly growth in pending home sales at 5.5%

“Despite the insufficient level of inventory, pending home contracts still increased in November,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, noting that housing inventory has been in decline for six straight months. “Favorable conditions are expected throughout 2020 as well, but supply is not yet meeting the healthy demand.”

Source: magazine.realtor/daily-news/2019/12/30

 

Universities Want Senior Housing?

Seniors are increasingly heading back to college, and many universities believe they’ll want to buy a home nearby too.

State government subsidies for higher education are below prerecession levels and traditional students are saddled with college debt—causing universities to look at retired baby boomers as a promising source of income, The Wall Street Journal reports. As such, several colleges are taking advantage of their extra land to develop upscale senior housing, looking to generate extra profits.

Senior living facilities on or near campus cater to baby boomers who may wish to take an occasional class or pursue their academic interests. Some baby boomers also view it as an opportunity to mentor younger students.

Source: “Seniors Want to Go Back to Class. Universities Want to Sell Them Real Estate,” The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 19, 2019) [Log-in required.]

Mortgage Rates Remain Stagnant

This week, the average U.S. fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage held steady at 3.73%. Although this rate remains the same as last week’s percentage, it’s still more than a percentage point below the 4.55% of the year-earlier week, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The 15-year FRM averaged 3.19% this week, remaining unchanged from last week’s rate. This time last year, the 15-year FRM came in at 4.01%.

Although rates continue to hover near historic lows, Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, warns a lack of housing supply is likely to dampen home sales in 2020.

Source: Freddie Mac

Mortgage Rates Tick Up

“With Federal Reserve policy on cruise control and the economy continuing to grow at a steady pace, mortgage rates have stabilized as the market searches for direction,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The risk of an economic downturn has receded and, combined with the very strong job market, it should lead to a slightly higher rate environment.”

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.73 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending December 12, 2019, up from last week when it averaged 3.68 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.63 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.19 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.14 percent. A year ago they averaged 4.07 %.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.36 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.39 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.04 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

5.4% Jolt for Home Prices for 2020

More home appreciation is likely to come in the new year. In a new report released by CoreLogic, economists predict home prices will spike by 5.4% from October 2019 to October 2020. That is even higher than the 3.5% annual appreciation in national home prices posted this October, the real estate data firm notes.

“We expect home prices to rise at least another 5% over the next 12 months,” says Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Interestingly, this persistent increase in home prices isn’t deterring older millennials. In fact, 25% of those surveyed anticipate purchasing a home over the next six to eight months.”

The CoreLogic Home Price Index is a projection of home prices that is calculated using a variety of economic variables and state-level forecasts.

Home price increases by state is shown in ‘Table 2’ at article source: CoreLogic

2020 Conforming Loan Limits

The Federal Housing Finance Agency approved a higher conforming loan limit that will take effect Jan. 1, 2020. The cap on loans purchased or acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during 2020 will increase to $510,400, the FHFA said Tuesday. That marks an increase over the $484,350 limit for 2019.

Higher limits are available for properties that contain two, three, or four units. The limits for multiunit properties range from $653,550 to $981,700.

View a map showing the 2020 maximum loan limits nationwide. (Note: El Dorado County, CA. is $530,001 to $765,599 for 1 – 4 units)

Source: FHFA and “Conforming Loan Limit Increased to $510,400,” Mortgage News Daily (Nov. 26, 2019)