New single-family homes recorded a sharp uptick in January, running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 543,000, following reports of homebuilder sentiment that show strength in the market for new homes.
Mortgages processed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture came to a halt when the government shut down last week. The closing thwarted the processing of new USDA loans, creating another potential drag on the housing market.
Here's a troubling anecdote for you, via the Wall Street Journal:
When Erick Moore first read about the USDA's Rural Development Guaranteed Loan program, he says he imagined it would be "restricted to some little farmhouse." Instead, the 33-year-old computer programmer moved last month into a four-bedroom, three-bath home in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., 17 miles outside Raleigh. The house sits on nearly one acre and features a brick facade, 10-foot ceilings and hardwood floors.
The Federal Home Loan Banks' Mortgage Partnership Finance Program announced a new partnership with the USDA Rural Development program on Tuesday.
Under this new arrangement, approved Home Loan Banks participating in the MPF Program can now purchase RHS Section 502 government-guaranteed loans from qualified members, including commercial banks, thrifts, credit unions, and insurance companies.
Melvin Luther Watt quietly slid into his office as the first appointed director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. It was the end of last year, in mid-December. Christmas was coming and the markets were in the middle of the harshest winter in years. As he took over the office of Acting Director Ed DeMarco — himself the unassuming lightning rod for the nation’s housing policy — Watt gave no indication of what he intended to do with his new position; arguably the most powerful job in mortgage finance..
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