FICO Scores

The average credit score of borrowers who refinanced mortgages in July with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose to a six-year high, according to an Ellie Mae report. The score was 750, up from 742 in June. The average FICO score of people getting purchase mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was 754. That matched the average rate of the prior two months that was the highest since mid-2017, according to Black Knight data. Looking at all mortgage borrowers, the average FICO score was 731, matching the prior month’s almost three-year high.

Pool premium

In the summertime the living is easy, especially if you own a swimming pool in your backyard. According to a recent LendingTree study, America’s pool owning homeowners are enjoying a 54% premium thanks to their backyard oases. According to the company’s data, the median home with a pool is valued at $469,187, while the median home without a pool is valued at $305,152. That’s a difference of about $164,000. Their findings reveal that although 10% of American homes have a pool, the ratio is the largest in the West.

Recession fears

Increasing anxieties over a recession could be the cause of the next recession, according to Analyticom President Dan Geller, developer of the theory of money anxiety. In July 2019, the Money Anxiety Index was flat at 44, the same as June, but slightly higher than May’s 42.7 points. While these figures are relatively low and don’t point to an immediate recession, Geller explained that the constant hype about a recession could increase the level of money anxiety. Geller’s theory explains that an increase in money anxiety can lower consumer confidence and cause a recession by reducing consumer consumption by just 5%.

Baby Boomers relocating

Even as Millennials enter the homebuying market, many Baby Boomers indicate they plan to stay in their homes throughout their retirements, according to a new study from PropertyShark. The study showed that almost a third of adults over the age of 45 say they struggle with the cost of housing and a third also say they don’t plan on ever fully retiring. Beyond that, the study showed that more than half of Baby Boomers (56% to be exact) said they want to age in place and stay in the home they’re in now.

Construction

The rate at which new housing is being built in this country has not recovered since the housing crisis, and it looks like that trend may be sticking around for a while. New housing start rates are expected to remain below historical averages through 2022, or later, according to new research from Zillow. The average seasonally adjusted annual rate of new single-family housing starts since 1959 was more than one million, but since 2007, the rate has not reached that level. Since the Great Recession, home values have recovered, Zillow said, but construction has not kept up.

Hurricane preparations

Hurricane season is in its peak, yet one in four homeowners say they have made no preparations. In fact, the majority of homeowners underestimate the cost of hurricane-related damage. Hurricane season runs from June to November, but the peak months are August to October. Now, in the middle of the season, many homeowners remain unprepared. In the riskiest costal states, 77% of homeowners felt prepared for the 2019 hurricane season, however a full 48% also revealed they had not yet started preparing for the season.

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