Older Americans Face Challenges When Aging

Freddie Mac released today its Insight for February, which outlines challenges, costs and potential solutions of addressing the desire of older Americans to age in place. Survey data shows half of all 55+ Americans and three quarters of 75+ Americans are impacted by at least one physical functional limitation, heightening the growing demand for retrofitting.

Insight Highlights: 1)The Freddie Mac survey of the 55+ population indicates almost two-thirds of homeowners — 43 million people — wish to age in place. 2)Two-thirds of survey participants report their homes are not accessible for someone with arthritis, limited mobility, or in a wheelchair. 3)About 1.5 million older households today need some retrofitting, and that number rises to 2.0 million per year by 2030. 4)If a major retrofit is required, it can be 40 times more expensive than a simple retrofit such as adding some grab bars and new drawer handles. Retrofitting may be too expensive for many of those who wish to age in place.

Are Home Owners Looking for a Rescue Plan?

Half of Americans say they currently have a dispute with a neighbor, according to a new survey from North American Van Lines.

In fact, 13 percent of Americans say they have moved just to get away from their next-door neighbor.

Take a look at these interesting infographics to see the conflicts home owners are having with their neighbors at: North American Moving Services

How Much Space Home Buyers Really Crave

The amount of desired square footage can vary quite a bit among the different age groups, according to findings from the National Association of Home Builders’ “Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation: How They Compare to Other Home Buyers.” For example, millennial and Gen X buyers desire the most space, at more than 2,300 square feet. Baby boomers and seniors, on the other hand, mostly would be happy with homes that are under 1,900 square feet.

NAHB’s study also found that more than half of all home buyers across all age groups would like to have a home with three bedrooms. Thirty percent of respondents say they’d prefer four bedrooms or more. Millennials and Gen X’ers are most likely to want a home with at least four bedrooms.

Take a look at the NAHB chart that shows the gap between current and desired home sizes among the various ages at:
“Housing Preferences Across Generations (Part II),” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing (March 17, 2016)

Home Loan ‘Interest Rates’ Edge Higher Again

Mortgage rates inched higher for the third consecutive week, but potential home buyers shouldn’t sweat it too much. Mortgage rates are still hovering below levels from a year ago.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending March 17:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.73 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.68 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.78 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.99 percent, with an average 0.4 point, increasing from last week’s 2.96 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.06 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.93 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 2.92 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.97 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Mortgage Rates Reverse Course, Inch Higher

For the first time in two months, mortgage rates edged higher this week.

“Treasury yields approached their highest level in a month, boosting the 30-year mortgage 2 basis points this week to 3.64 percent,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Despite this welcome breather, Fed officials have been highlighting the downside risks to the economic outlook, and the market expects the Fed to refrain from any further short-term rate increases for now.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national mortgage rate averages for the week ending March 3:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.64 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.62 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.75 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.94 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 2.93 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.03 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Top Community Features for Baby Boomer Home Buying

While many are focused on the wants and needs of millennial buyers, older generations of home buyers still have a lot of purchasing power. Baby boomers actually make up 31 percent of the home buying population, and real estate pros need to be familiar with their housing and neighborhood preferences.

According to NAHB’s new Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation report, this generation seeks out single-family detached homes in low-traffic communities.

This study collected information from 4,326 recent and prospective buyers of all demographics. NAHB asked respondents to label 19 community features as essential/must-have, desirable, indifferent, and do not want.

Full report at: “Boomers Prefer Suburbs and Cul de Sacs,” Eye on Housing Blog (2/11/16)

Home Loan Inrerest Rates Retreat for 4th Week

“The yield on the 10-year Treasury stabilized around 2 percent this week, and the 30-year mortgage rate dipped 2 basis points to 3.79 percent,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The recent market turmoil has given the Fed pause. As was universally expected, the Fed stood pat this week but kept its options open for a rate increase in March. … A hesitant Fed, sub-4-percent mortgage rates, at least for a little while longer, and strong housing fundamentals should generate a three percent increase in home sales this year.”

Freddie Mac reports the following mortgage rates for the week ending Jan. 28:

Source: Freddie Mac

5 California Markets End 2015 on a High Note

Residential real estate overall may have cooled as 2015 comes to a close, but the slowdown wasn’t evident everywhere.

Realtor.com®’s research team identified the top 20 medium-to-large markets where homes are selling the fastest and demand remains high (based on the site’s listing views). Topping the list for the second consecutive month in California is San Francisco, San Jose, Vallejo, Sacramento and San Diego.

“While California closed out our latest ranking still firmly in control of the hottest markets, the Midwest and Florida are both seeing substantial improvement,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Pent-up demand and robust economic growth combined with limited supply will keep California tight in 2016, but more markets will challenge them as demand improves elsewhere.”

Source: “The Hottest U.S. Housing Markets in December 2015,” realtor.com(R) (Dec. 28, 2015)

New Rules For Housing ‘Counseling Guidelines’

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued guidance on how to provide mortgage applicants with a list of local home ownership counseling organizations. The new guidelines, which overwrite ones originally issued in 2013, offer guidance to lenders on how to provide applicants abroad with home ownership counseling lists; permissible geolocation tools; disclosures; and high-cost mortgage counseling qualifications.

“Buying a home is often the largest financial decision in a consumer’s lifetime, and we want to ensure that consumers can access the independent and informed advice they deserve before making that decision,” says CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Housing counselors are a crucial source of that helpful advice. We will continue to work to improve the home-buying experience for customers, and today’s interpretive rule will help industry comply with these important protections.”  Your comments?

View CFPB’s full interpretive rule issued at the agency’s website.

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

More Proof Home-Buyer Demand Is Rising

Mortgage applications for home purchases rose last week for the third consecutive week, a fresh sign that home-buyer demand is increasing. Applications, which are viewed as a leading gauge of home-buying activity, were up 7 percent and are now 12 percent higher than the same week one year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“Purchase mortgage application volume last week increased to its highest level since July 2013, spurred on by still-low mortgage rates and strengthening housing markets,” says Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist.

MBA reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.86 percent last week, dropping from 3.89 percent the previous week.

Source: “Mortgage Applications Rise Points to More Homebuyers,” CNBC.com (April 8, 2015)