Mortgage rates, loan limits and forbearance

We cover the increase in conforming loan limits for Fannie and Freddie and what forbearance numbers and record-low rates could mean for the housing market.

Untying business growth from the housing market cycle

Lenders need business growth that is not linear and is not tied to the market cycles – leveraging automation technology can help.

The practical use of AI for LOs

The combination of tightly-packed schedules and intensive oversight means augmenting loan officer’s efforts with intelligent systems is more relevant than ever.

HousingWire's 2020 Tech Trendsetters

This year’s list of Tech Trendsetters certainly earned their status as the industry was met with incredible challenges and new opportunities.

Real Estate

Home-price index gains the most since 2018

S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city index gained 3.9% from a year ago

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 U.S. cities gained 3.9% in July from a year ago, the biggest advance since 2018, as rock-bottom mortgage rates made it possible for people to bid higher for properties.

The increase was bigger than the 3.5% advance in the prior month, and it was the largest annual gain since December 2018.

Home-loan rates, measured as a weekly average by Freddie Mac, have set new lows nine times since March when the Federal Reserve began buying mortgage-backed securities to keep credit from freezing amid the worst pandemic in more than a century. The rate was 2.9% last week, Freddie Mac said on Thursday. It was the ninth consecutive week the rate was under 3%.

“An unprecedented lack of for-sale homes combined with persistently low mortgage rates have stoked a competition for housing in recent months that will not relent,” said Matthew Speakman, a Zillow economist. “With mortgage rates poised to remain low for the near future, barring a sudden surge in inventory, it appears that upward price pressures should endure into the fall.”

Phoenix posted the biggest price gain, up 9.2% from a year ago, followed by Seattle, at 7%, and Charlotte at 6%, the report said. The smallest gain was in Chicago, up 0.8%, followed by New York, at 1.3%, and San Francisco, at 2.5%.

Home sales in the U.S. surged to a 14-year high of 6 million at an annualized pace in August, the National Association of Realtors said in a report last week.

The number of properties on the market at the end of August totaled 1.49 million, down 18.6% from the year-ago month, the report said.

Unsold inventory measured as a “months supply” number that gauges how long it would take to sell all the homes if nothing else came on the market, was three months, NAR said. Economists typically consider a four- to six-month supply to be a balanced market, with equal demand from buyers and sellers.

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The downside of the hot 2020 housing market: rapid home-price growth

The mismatch in the COVID deflationary impact toward the economy overall and the strength of the housing market due to demographics makes for a troubling formula for home-price growth, which we are seeing. The recent NAR existing home sales report showed 15.5% year-over-year growth in prices. HW+ Premium Content

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