January Existing Home Sales Unmoved, Prices Dip

Sales of existing U.S. homes stalled in January as inventory lagged behind demand, according to the National Association of Realtors, but both sales and prices are up strongly from the previous year. Total sales - including existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops - rose just 0.4 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million from a downwardly revised 4.90 million in December. Compared to January 2011, sales are up 9.1 percent. Home prices fell Read more [...]

Mortgage Interest Rates Reach Four-Month High

Long-term mortgage interest rates made a significant upward climb in January, prompting some to say we may have seen the last of rock-bottom rates. The average commitment rate for a 30-year fixed rate conventional mortgage grew to 3.53 percent this week, excluding fees, according to Freddie Mac, up from 3.42 percent the week before and up from a low of 3.34 percent at the beginning of January. Rates have not been above 3.5 percent since the middle of September 2012. The 15-year fixed rate mortgage Read more [...]

Home Sales Rise as “Normal” Buyers Return to the Market

Sales of existing U.S. homes rose in April, according to the National Association of Realtors, a sign that the housing recovery is solidly in place they say. Total sales of existing homes grew 3.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million units, up from a downwardly revised 4.47 million in March. Compared with April 2011, sales are also up 10 percent. "It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of high affordability conditions.  A return of normal Read more [...]

Fannie Mae Predicts Another Slow Year in Housing Market

Home sales are likely to be relatively flat in 2012 compared with last year, according to comments from Fannie Mae's Vice president and chief economist Doug Duncan. Even though there have been signs of mild improvement in the economy, and low interest rates and home prices have prevailed for years now, there is still little demand for homes. The main issue keeping potential buyers from making the plunge is the shaky employment scene, said Duncan in a CNBC interview. "There's no sense of urgency, Read more [...]

Existing Home Sales Post Third Monthly Gain

In a potentially hopeful sign for the U.S. housing market, sales of existing homes rose in December for the third straight month, according to the National Association of Realtors. Total sales grew 5.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 4.61 million homes last month, from November's downwardly revised 4.39 million rate. Compared with December 2010, sales were up 3.6 percent. Sales as a whole in 2011 rose 1.7 percent to 4.26 million from 4.19 million in 2010. NAR chief economist Read more [...]

Fed Proposes Help for Housing Market

The Federal Reserve has actively tried to stimulate the housing market since the beginning of the recession, dropping interest rates to record lows and buying mortgage-backed bonds to free up market lending capital. Unfortunately, it seems that the Fed has essentially run out of options to help pull the mortgage market out of the doldrums and has now turned to Congress. Typically during a recession, the Fed has been able to stir up activity in the housing market by lowering interest rates, which Read more [...]

Mortgage Rates Fall To Record Lows in Latest Week

Mortgage interest rates took a dive last week, now back down to the previous all-time low, as uncertainty in the housing market and stock market continued to make investors nervous. The average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) fell to 3.94 percent, excluding points, according to Freddie Mac, matching the record low point from October of this year. The 15-year FRM number also made record territory, falling to 3.21 percent, the lowest yet recorded by Freddie. "We've been hanging around Read more [...]

NAR Expects Gradual Housing Market Improvement in 2012

The National Association of Realtors is predicting a moderately healthier housing market next year, according to its projections announced at the 2011 Realtors Conference & Expo. "Tight mortgage credit conditions have been holding back home buyers all year, and consumer confidence has been shaky recently," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun as quoted in the press release. "Nonetheless, there is a sizable pent-up demand based on population growth, employment levels and a doubling-up phenomenon Read more [...]

Homeowners Stay Away from Cash-Out Refis in Third Quarter

Today many homeowners who refinance choose to maintain or reduce their mortgage burdens, exemplifying more cautious behavior from the previous quarter. During the third quarter of this year, according to recent information from Freddie Mac, about 82 percent of U.S. homeowners who refinanced their loans either kept the loan balance the same (44 percent) or lowered it (37 percent) by bringing money to the closing table. This percentage is up from the 67 percent that maintained (51 percent) or lowered Read more [...]

Fed Stays the Course on Mortgage Bond Buying, Interest Rates Fall

After a two-day meeting, the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee decided to maintain "its existing policies of reinvesting" in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in order to bolster the faltering housing market and broader economy. "The housing sector is a very important sector," Bernanke said at a press conference in Washington after the meeting, as quoted in BusinessWeek. The Fed hopes to bring long-term interest rates even lower by buying up MBS, which will (hopefully) allow more Read more [...]