Are record-low interest rates masking high-cost mortgage lending?

Are record-low interest rates masking high-cost mortgage lending?

Five leading economists weigh in and the answer may surprise you

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The weather is improving but housing conditions are not — here's why

Is the housing recovery stalling?

Sunset

Housing, by nature, is more susceptible to weather distortion than activity in other parts of the economy, a recent report from Capital Economics said.  

However, this is no surprise. It's hard to build a home when the ground is frozen and covered in snow.

But that isn't the only factor inhibiting housing. Mortgage rates continue to rise after hitting a low last spring.  

So which is it: mortgage rates or weather? Or is it a conglomeration of factors pushing down the recovery?

Here are four factors at the top of the housing market pile.

flood

1. Weather:

If you look at the weather regionally, single-family housing starts fell sharply in both the Midwest and South, where the weather has been particularly bad, and they rose in the West, where temperatures have been unusually high, the Capital Economics report explained.

Trey Garrison noted on Tuesday that Trulia (TRLA) found January weather probably contributed to a small decline in all five housing activities. 

“Housing activity tends to bounce partway back the month after bad weather (unless that next month is unusually bad, too). Rain and cold don’t last forever, and neither do their effects on housing,” the article stated. 

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