Alcynna Lloyd is a reporter at HousingWire. Lloyd has a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of North Texas. She previously interned with a broadcast position at CBS and has a background in freelance journalism.
Existing-home sales inched forward 1.3% in August from the prior month, reaching a 17-month high, according to the National Association of Realtors. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said although sales are up, inventory numbers remain low and are thereby pushing up home prices. According to NAR, the median price for an existing-home was $278,800, a gain of 4.7% from last August's rate of $265,600. This marks the 90th straight month of year-over-year gains.
This week, the average U.S. fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.73%. That's 17 basis points above last week’s 3.56% but still nearly a percentage point lower than it was at this time last year. Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said despite the rise in mortgage rates, economic data improved this week – particularly housing activity, which gained momentum with a noticeable rise in purchase demand and new construction.
Housing starts spiked 12.3% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.364 million and the pace for July was revised downward, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Commerce. Joel Kan, the Mortgage Bankers Association Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, said low mortgage rates coupled with the strong job market convinced homebuilders to ramp up production in August.
Mortgage rates climbed to a seven-week high over the last several days, driving the nation's refinance activity into decline, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. That being said, the MBA indicates the nation's purchase activity soared, as the index increased for the third straight week to the highest reading since July.
Homebuilder confidence came in at 68 points in September, rising from August's upwardly revised reading of 67, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. September's sentiment level now marks the highest reading since October of last year. NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde said low interest rates and solid demand continue to fuel builders' sentiments even as they continue to grapple with ongoing supply-side challenges.
America’s rental prices continued to grow in August, as RentCafé indicates the nation’s average rent increased $47 from the previous year. According to the company’s Apartment Market Report, the national average rent in August totaled $1,472. This is a 0.1% increase from the previous month, and also represents a 3.3% increase from the same time period in 2018.
As home price appreciation strengthens across the country, a report from HSH suggests home prices have now returned to pre-recession highs in a majority of the nation’s largest housing markets. According to the company’s index, 75% of America’s largest housing markets achieved full home price recovery in the second quarter of 2019. However, the remaining 25% have yet to see significant improvement.
As housing affordability continues to be a cause of concern for the nation’s homeowners, a report from the National Association of Homebuilders indicates 80% of American households now perceive the problem to be a crisis. Additionally, the company claims that 75% of households report housing affordability to be a problem at both the state and local level.
Mortgage Tech Rundown looks at the latest news in mortgage technology, featuring new product updates, integrations and announcements. Today we take a look at the latest fintech news from HomeLight, Asurity, and Homebot.
President Donald Trump appointed Calabria to take the helm of the FHFA on December 12, 2018. The Senate then officially confirmed Calabria in April by a vote of 52 to 44 as head of the agency. Since then, Calabria has not been silent on his plan to reform the FHFA and the entities it oversees – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.