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Fannie Mae’s 3 Percent Solution

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By Steve Cook   Aint this a great nation? Not so long ago federal housing policies were judged by their ability to require lenders to put “skin in the game”—to require make a large enough down payment to discourage defaults. Now, the FHFA has decided Fannie Mae will accept a 3 percent down payment for highly qualified borrowers to help ... Read More »

Wells Circles the Wagons

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Growing concern over the faltering housing recovery has inspired an unusual vote of confidence for housing’s fundamentals from two of Wells Fargo’s top economists. In a “special commentary” published in the bank’s web site, senior economists Mark Vitner and Anika R. Khan argue that too much progress has been made restoring growth to the overall economy for the recovery to ... Read More »

Down Payments Rose in Second Quarter

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As predicted with the implementation of the QM Rule, average down payments rose in the second quarter and fewer first-time homebuyers are finding ways to buy a home by putting less than 6 percent down. Homebuyers had to put slightly more money down on a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage during the second quarter, reversing an 18-month downward trend, according to ... Read More »

Clear Capital: Welcome Back to 2004

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  National home prices have been nominally unchanged for a lost decade and we’re back to 2004 levels without even accounting for inflation, leaving many homeowners with no more equity than when they bought.  That’s the grim assessment by Clear Capitol in its September market report. If national home price growth continues to diminish, the lost decade will drag out. August home price ... Read More »

Economists in Reuters Poll See Stronger Sales, Weaker Prices in 2015

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The annual pace of existing home sales will likely rise to 5.25 million units in the first three months of 2015 from 5.09 million in the current quarter, according to a Reuters poll of economists But prices next year will be weaker than this year. The S&P/Case-Shiller gauge of property values in 20 metropolitan areas was seen rising just 5.0 ... Read More »

Hello Moderation, Bye Distress Sales

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As a percent of all sales, distressed sales fell to 18 percent in July from their peak of 40.8 percent in March of 2011. The major shift in home sale type, from distressed to fair market, will continue to impact future growth potential for markets overall, reports Clear Capital’s July Market Report. Does that mean home price gains will continue ... Read More »

Consolidation Creates Megalandlords Dominating Single Family Rentals

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“Now we’ll sweep up everybody over the next two years who got stuck, who says I have home price appreciation, which they do. They bought right, but now they are stuck.” The chief executive officer of the second largest hedge fund landlord articulated in an interview with Bloomberg why a handful of megalords are the process of dominating the single ... Read More »

The Problem isn’t Student Loans, it’s Student Dropouts

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Student loans have been a problem for first-time buyers for generations, but they didn’t stop first-timers from buying 40 percent of the homes sold ten years ago. So what’s the whining all about? One thing that’s different is the size and scope of the problem.  Overall student loan debt recently breached the $1 trillion mark. There are more individuals with ... Read More »

Zillow: Coming Soon to an MLS Near You

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  Zillow’s “Coming Soon” program raises important questions about potential role of  ”pre-listings” in MLS marketplaces and whether economists should use them to track prices and inventories. Zillow now is posting properties that are “not yet on the market, but expect to be listed for sale within 30 days” so that buyers can “identify homes that will be listed for ... Read More »

Why Won’t Buyers Make the Leap?

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Halfway through the spring buying season, mortgage applications fell 1.2 percent for the week ending May 21 and the  unadjusted Mortgage Bankers Association’s Purchase Index fell even more.  It was down 2 percent in just one week–15 percent lower than it was a year ago at this time. Such a decline in borrowing to buy a home in the third ... Read More »