Last week’s economic reports included Existing and New Home Sales and Consumer Confidence along with regularly scheduled weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
Sales of Pre-owned Homes Exceed Expectations
More about each report:
January sales of previously owned homes rose to an annual level of 5.47 million sales against expectations of 5.30 million sales and December’s reading of 5.45 million sales. Existing home sales rose by 0.40 percent month-to-month, which was the second-highest month-to-month reading since existing home sales were first tracked. Sales of existing homes had a strong showing with sales 11 percent higher year-over-year.
Real estate markets continue to face challenges as a severe shortage of available homes reached a four-month supply; real estate pros typically consider a six-month supply of available homes a normal reading. The shortage of homes for sale has caused home prices to escalate quickly in many markets; this creates affordability issues for would-be buyers. National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun expressed concerns that rapidly rising home prices may not be good for the economy, but there was some positive news.
Nearly 32 percent of existing homes were bought by first-time buyers in January according to the National Association of Realtors. This is good news as first-time and moderate income buyers accommodate homeowners’ ability to move up to larger homes.
New home sales dipped in January to 494,000 sales as compared to expectations of 520,000 new home sales and the prior annual rate of 544,000 new homes sold. As the shortage of available homes continued, analysts said that the market is unbalanced in favor of sellers as offers from cash buyers make it difficult for offers from less qualified buyers to compete. Analysts said that low supplies of pre-owned homes drive buyers to purchase new homes. The number of homes purchased but not yet built is near a ten-year high.
Mortgage Rates Lower And Jobless Claims Rise
Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points lower at 3.62 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell by two basis points to 2.93 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped by six basis points to 2.79 percent. Average discount points were 0.60, 0.50 and.50 percent respectively.
Weekly jobless claims rose to 272,000 new claims as compared to expectations of 270,000 new claims and the prior reading of 262,000 new claims. The four-week rolling average of new claims also posted a reading of 272,000 new claims, which was lower by 1250 new claims. In spite of the higher week-to-week reading, new jobless claims remain near historical lows. Low readings for new jobless claims indicate a low rate of layoffs, which analysts said indicates that employers are maintaining staff levels in spite of conditions suggesting a slower economy.
Consumer confidence dropped more than five points in February. The Conference Board reported an index reading of 92.20 percent as compared to an expected reading of 97.20 and the prior month’s reading of 97.80. Consumers indicated growing concerns about business, personal finances and the labor market.
What’s Ahead This Week
This week’s scheduled economic news includes reports on pending home sales, construction spending, ADP Payrolls, federal Non-Farm Payrolls and the national unemployment rate.
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Traditionally, getting a mortgage requires you to have a level of income appropriate to the size of home that you’re buying.
But for a lot of low-income and minority borrowers, a simple measure of one person’s income isn’t an accurate measure of whether or not that person can afford a home.
Now, with the Home Ready mortgage from Fannie Mae, multi generational and extended households can have easy access to mortgage funds.
How does the Home Ready mortgage work? Here’s what you need to know.
Flexible Down Payment Requirements Make Home Ownership More Accessible
Traditional mortgages require you to pay 20% of the home price upfront in the form of a down payment, or 5% if you register for Private Mortgage Insurance. And although 5% is a small down payment, it’s still a significant sum of money for a lot of low-income borrowers. But now, with the Home Ready mortgage, qualified borrowers can access financing with as little as 3% down, making it easier to become a homeowner.
Non-Borrower Household Income Is Now Counted As Income
Another big change that the Home Ready mortgage introduces is that lenders may now count all household income when determining affordability criteria (but not qualifying income). There’s no minimum requirement for funds to come directly from the primary borrower, which means that non-borrower members of the household can have their income counted when determining whether a mortgage is affordable. It’s also possible to use non-occupant borrower income – for instance, the income of a borrower’s parent – to be counted as income.
For extended and multi generational households, this means mortgages are much more affordable as all household income can now be counted as eligible.
Eligibility Requirements: Who Can Qualify For A Home Ready Mortgage?
Home Ready mortgages come with certain eligibility criteria attached that homeowners will need to meet. In order to be eligible, a household must be below a certain percentage level of area median income (AMI) – that is, a household must fall somewhere in the lower half of their area’s income scale.
For properties that are located in “low-income census tracts”, there is no income limit. For properties in high-minority areas and designated disaster areas, borrowers at or below 100% of AMI can access Home Ready financing. And in all other census areas, borrowers can access financing if their annual household income is no greater than 80% of AMI.
Call me direct at 303.668.3350 with any and all questions!
You can also apply now by clicking here for a link to my secure, online loan application.
Last week’s economic events included S&P Case-Shiller’s home price indexes, reports on new and pending home sales and the Fed’s FOMC statement. The details:
Case-Shiller Reports Fast Paced Home Price Growth
According to S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, U.S. home prices grew at their fastest pace in 16 months in November.
Portland, Oregon led the charge with home prices increasing 11.10 percent year-over-year followed by San Francisco, California at 11.0 percent; Denver, Colorado posted a year-over-year gain of 10.90 percent. 14 cities posted home price gains while four cities posted declines in home prices and two cities posted no change on a month-to-month basis.
David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Index Committee, noted that slumping oil prices and a strong dollar were posing challenges to domestic and international homebuyers. In spite of high demand, the supply of available homes continued to drive home prices up in most cities in the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index.
In related news, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes jumped to a year-over-year reading of 544,000 new home sales as compared to November’s upwardly revised reading of 491,000 new homes sold and expectations of a year-over-year reading of 506,000 new homes sold as of December. The December 2015 reading was 9.90 percent higher than for December 2014.
Analysts cited a shortage of new homes for driving sales; builders are facing obstacles in hiring and finding suitable land for development. Some builders were said to be targeting high-end buyers which leaves a shortage of homes available for first-time and mid-range home buyers.
The National Association of Realtors® reported a minor gain in pending home sales in December. Pending home sales gauge future closings and mortgage activity. December’s pending sales reading was higher by 0.10 percent month-to-month and posted a year-over-year gain of 4.50 percent. December’s gain represented the 16th consecutive monthly gain for pending home sales. Analysts had expected a month-to-month gain of 1 percent, but high demand and a slim supply of affordable homes are leaving would-be buyers on the sidelines.
Fed Holds Off on Raising Rate; Mortgage Rates Lower
The Federal Reserve announced its decision not to raise its target federal funds rate on Wednesday; Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates on Thursday. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped by two basis points to 3.79 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell 3 basis points to 3.07 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage were lower by one basis point at 2.90 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.6, 0.5 and 0.5 percent respectively.
This week’s scheduled economic news includes reports on construction spending, ADP payrolls, Non-Farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate.
Contact me direct if you have any questions! 303.668.3350.
Click here for a link to my secure online loan application
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