“I Want to Buy a Home” Report

Many non-owners—those renting or living with someone else—are eager to buy a home. But their current financial situation is what is mostly holding them back.

The newly released “2019 Profile of Buyers and Sellers” report contained a new section this year, including a survey about non-owners and their views on home ownership. NAR released the report during the 2019 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco this week.

But the main reason they aren’t buying yet is because they can’t afford to make the jump into ownership. “Making the largest financial purchase in one’s life relies on the financial strength to do so,” the report notes. Seventy-five percent of non-owners surveyed say they believe home ownership is part of the American dream. Eighty-one percent of non-owners say they want to own a home in the future.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®’

Re-Acceleration in Home Prices

Good news for sellers: Home prices are on the rise. But buyers should brace for higher prices.

Nearly all—93%—of the largest metros in the U.S. saw home prices rise in the third quarter over the past year. A shortage of homes for sale, combined with higher demand, continues to push home prices higher, according to the latest quarterly report from the National Association of REALTORS®, released Thursday.

While the majority of metros saw higher prices in the third quarter, a few markets did register lower prices, notably in areas long-known for high costs. Single-family median home prices moderated in the third quarter in markets such as San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (–4.6%); San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. (–2.5%); and San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif. (–0.8%).

Mortgage Rates Rise This Week

For the third consecutive week, the interest rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased. The rise came despite the Federal Reserve cutting its key benchmark rate for the third time this year.

“Purchase activity continues to show strength, indicating obvious homebuyer demand,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “However, the lack of housing supply remains a major barrier to not just the housing market but the overall economic recovery.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national rates for the week ending Oct. 31:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.78%, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.75% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.83%.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.19%, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 3.18% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.23%..

Source: Freddie Mac

Home Loan Rates Increased

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was on the rise last week, leaping to a 12-week high. But rates are still well below year-ago levels.

“The outlook for a favorable resolution to the trade dispute between the U.S. and China is still unclear, introducing some volatility into financial markets and the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Mortgage rates are following suit but are near historic lows, while mortgage applications to purchase a home remain higher year over year.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Oct. 24:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.75%, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.69% average. Last year at this time, they averaged 4.86%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.18%, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.15% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.29%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Rates Increased, But Don’t Worry

No reason for home shoppers to get nervous: Economists largely predict mortgage rates will dip in the weeks ahead. Also, rates are still more than a percentage point lower than a year ago.

“Despite this week’s uptick in mortgage rates, the housing market remains on the upswing, with improvement in construction and home sales,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “While there has been a material weakness in manufacturing and consistent trade uncertainty, other economic trends like employment and homebuilder sentiment are encouraging.”

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

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.69%, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 3.57% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.85%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.15%, with an average 0.5 point, rising from a 3.05% average last week. A year ago, they averaged 4.26%..
Source: Freddie Mac

Mortgage Rates ‘Are Dropping’

The 30-year fixed-mortgage fell 8 basis points this week, averaging 3.57%, Freddie Mac reports. The lower rates are drawing out more home buyers in the fall market.

“The 50-year low in the unemployment rate combined with low mortgage rates has led to increased home buyer demand this year. Much of this strength is coming from entry-level buyers—the first-time home buyer share of the loans Freddie Mac purchased in 2019 is 46%, a two-decade high,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Oct. 10:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.57%, with an average 0.6 point, falling from last week’s 3.65% average. Last year the 30-year rates averaged 4.90%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.05%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.14% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.29%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Housing Market Forecast is Bright

Freddie Mac economists predict that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will remain below 4% for the remainder of this year, which could continue to bode well for the housing market to ease affordability concerns somewhat for potential buyers.

With lower mortgage rates, economists are predicting that home prices will also moderate, appreciating at 3.4% in 2019, which is in line with long-term growth. Plus, Home Sales Up for Second Consecutive Month and More New Homes Are Entering the Pipeline)

Much of the high demand in the housing market lately has been coming from young adults. “The millennial cohort has now entered the housing market in force and is already driving major changes in buying and selling patterns,” Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic, said in a statement about its latest housing index that showed home prices moderating.

Source: Freddie Mac

Qualify for a Appraisal Exemption?

For the first time in 25 years, federal regulators are increasing the property value limit under which buyers of certain homes must obtain an appraisal as part of selling. Federal banking agencies have approved a plan enabling certain homes worth $400,000 or less to be subject to an evaluation rather than an appraisal.

For nearly a year, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., office of the comptroller of the currency, and board of governors of the Federal Reserve deliberated on the proposed rule change, reviewing hundreds of comments from the public. Regulators finally approved the rule last Friday. The new rule doesn’t apply to transactions in which the buyer is purchasing the home with financing wholly or partially insured by a government-run or government-sponsored agency, including the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. As a result, the majority of residential transactions in the U.S. will not be affected by this new rule.

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.

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