Affordability Will Push Buyers to Suburbs


As affordability worsens near city centers, first-time homebuyers will move to the suburbs in greater numbers, according to 2016 predictions from Zillow.

The Seattle-based real estate and rental marketplace predicts that affordable housing will continue to dry up closer to city centers. Consequently, first-time homebuyers will increasingly turn to suburbs, particularly those with an urban feel and easy access to cities.

Further on the point of affordability, rents will continue to rise in 2016, which Zillow said will create the least affordable median rents recorded. Home values are also expected to rise roughly 3.5% in 2016, meaning that those whose income falls in the bottom third of all incomes will find themselves priced out of homeownership.

“Many potential first-time buyers are living in hot markets where buying a home is really expensive,” Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell said in a Nov. 30 news release. “In […]

U.S. existing home sales plunge; new rules seen as drag

U.S. home resales posted their sharpest drop in five years in November, a potential warning sign for the health of the U.S. economy although new regulations on paperwork for home purchases may have driven the decline.
The National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday existing home sales plunged 10.5 percent to an annual rate of4.76 million units. That was the sharpest decline since July 2010. October’s sales pace was revised slightly lower to 5.32 million units.
Housing has been providing a sizable boost to U.S. economic growth this year as a strengthening labor market and low interest rates have helped young adults to leave their parents’ homes.
Economists had forecast sales rising to a rate of 5.35 million units last month.

NAR economist Lawrence Yun said most of November’s decline was likely due to regulations that came into effect in October […]

Residential Delinquency Rate Improves in 3Q: MBA


Delinquencies on residential mortgages in the third quarter declined on a national recovery in housing prices and other factors, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one- to four-unit residential properties fell 86 basis points to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.99%, as of Sept. 30, compared to a year earlier, the MBA said. That’s the lowest level since the first quarter of 2007.

The rate includes loans that are at least one payment late, but are not in the foreclosure process. The percentage of loans in foreclosure, at the end of the third quarter, fell 51 basis points to 1.88%.

The serious delinquency rate — loans that are at least 90 days past due or in the process of foreclosure — fell 108 basis points to 3.57%.

The improvements in delinquency rates were a result of “a nationwide housing market […]

How the Fed Could Revive the Market for ARMs

December marks seven years since the Federal Open Market Committee cut the target for its benchmark federal funds rate to nearly zero.

The Great Recession technically ended six months after the Federal Reserve’s dramatic interest rate cut, though to say the subsequent recovery has moved at a glacial pace would be an understatement.

But as a meaningful economic recovery appears to be finally taking hold, all eyes are on the FOMC amid speculation that it may soon raise rates. That watershed moment, whenever it comes, will necessitate a re-evaluation of many aspects of the “new normal” that have taken hold since the Great Recession.

Case in point: the adjustable-rate mortgage. The product, popular during periods of rising interest rates and home prices — and vilified for contributing to excesses that precipitated the housing crisis — has fallen out of favor among lenders and consumers.

But ARMs may soon be […]

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