Top News Of The Week

– Fannie, Freddie Offer Financial Help to Dorian Victims
– Home Price Gains Slow Again in June
– Recession Fears Prompt Some Buyers to Hold Off
– Builders Watch Trade War Nervously
– Congressman Presses FEMA on Flood Insurance Proposal
– Affordability, Availability Expectations Low
– Down Payment is ‘Binding Constraint’ on Home Sales
– Denver Market Reflects Lower Mortgage Rates
– Why Purchase Mortgages Lag While Refis Boom
– Price It Right, to Sell a Luxury Home Now
– The Fastest Shrinking Housing Markets in the U.S.
– Finding Homes For People — and Dogs
– Fall Slowdown? What Fall Slowdown?
– Federal Regulators Want to Expand Digital Appraisals
– The First-Time Buyer Is Changing
– New Single-Family Homes Continue to Shrink


Fannie, Freddie Offer Financial Help to Dorian Victims
In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, homeowners with mortgages backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae will be eligible for some financial relief.

Both companies will offer mortgage payment forbearance for up to a year, for homeowners in designated disaster areas.

Fannie Mae will also help affected borrowers get financial relief from FEMA, their insurance, companies, and other disaster relief resources.

A Freddie Mac spokesman says homeowners who sustained hurricane damage should contact their mortgage servicer — that’s the company you send your monthly mortgage payment to — to learn about all available relief options.

And HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson is assuring homeowners that HUD is ready to help, too.

Home Price Gains Slow Again in June
Home prices grew at an annual rate of just 3.1% in June, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index. It’s the 15th straight month of slowing price gains.

But CoreLogic chief economist Frank Nothaft said on CNBC a change could be at hand.

With the June number, home-price growth has now slowed to its lowest level in nearly seven years.

Recession Fears Prompt Some Buyers to Hold Off
Recession fears are prompting some potential home buyers to put their plans on hold.

In fact, according to REALTOR®.com, more than half of those currently searching for a home say they will now pause their search until they’re more certain about the economy.

REALTOR®.com reports that even though a growing number of homebuyers expect a recession in the next three years, they don’t think it’ll be a deep one.

Builders Watch Trade War Nervously
With the U.S. in a trade war with China, how might home builders be impacted?

Digital Risk managing director Jeff Taylor told Fox Business the situation is challenging.

Builders typically obtain hundreds of materials used in a new home from markets like China.

Congressman Presses FEMA on Flood Insurance Proposal
New York Congressman Max Rose is leading a bipartisan effort to get more clarification from FEMA about its new flood insurance proposal, the so-called “Risk Rating 2.0.”

At a news conference. Rose said the changes could devastate Staten Island homeowners…

FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0 is set to roll out next April. The new insurance rates would take effect six months later.

Affordability, Availability Expectations Low
Home buyers remain enthusiastic, but they also admit they’re worried about what they can afford.

A survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that 80% of those who plan to buy a home say more than half of the available homes are too expensive for them.

The NAHB poll also revealed that 67% of potential buyers expect their home search to get harder in the months ahead. Twenty-percent say they think it’ll get easier.

Down Payment is ‘Binding Constraint’ on Home Sales
Lower mortgage interest rates alone won’t be enough to bring many first-time homebuyers into the market, says one expert.

National Association of Home Builders chief economist Robert Dietz told Yahoo Finance.

Dietz says affordability will remain a strong headwind, although he says new home sales should continue to grow.

Denver Market Reflects Lower Mortgage Rates
Tumbling mortgage interest rates have been encouraging more home buyers to jump into the market.

That’s certainly true in Denver, where REALTOR® Dave Christie told ABC News.

According to the Denver Metro Association of REALTORS®, the average sales price in July was just under 500-thousand dollars, down slightly from June.

Why Purchase Mortgages Lag While Refis Boom
Americans are refinancing mortgages at a frantic pace, as rates drop. But why haven’t those rates moved purchase applications as fast as refis?

Robert Broeksmit is president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. He spoke to CNBC.

Broeksmit says refinancing activity is 167-percent higher now than it was a year ago.

Price It Right, to Sell a Luxury Home Now
There’s been a softening of the market for luxury homes, so one expert says if you’re selling one, pricing it right is more critical now than ever.

Broker Jordan Shea with Douglas Elliman said on the TD Ameritrade Network.

Shea says while luxury home sales have slowed, homes priced at one and a half million or less are selling briskly.

The Fastest Shrinking Housing Markets in the U.S.
In the ten-plus years since the housing bubble burst, in most American cities, home prices have fully rebounded, in some cases surpassing the values of 2008.

But in a few markets, home prices have actually fallen in the past year.

Figures from THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® reveal what “24/7 Wall Street” calls “the fastest shrinking housing markets.”

Cumberland, Maryland tops that list, followed by Youngstown, Ohio, Boise, Idaho, Elmira, New York, and Columbia, Missouri.

Finding Homes For People — and Dogs
Why would a REALTOR® bring a dog along, when showing a home to a buyer?

According to the New York Times, some real estate brokers are now bringing foster dogs along, in hopes of not only finding the perfect home for YOU, but for the foster pet, too.

The Times reports, those agents are attracting animal-loving homebuyers. One buyer told the Times she and her husband wanted a pet-savvy broker to help them find a home.

And one canine-accompanied agent told the Times that, quote, “Having a cute little thing running around brings a levity to the whole experience.”

Fall Slowdown? What Fall Slowdown?
As fall arrives, you’d expect home sales to fall back. a bit.

But not so, in North Texas. Dallas Morning News real estate editor Steve Brown told NBC-5 TV in Dallas…

Brown says plummeting mortgage rates are bringing buyers out — he says, quote, “It’s like they’re having a Wal-Mart special sale on home finance.”

Federal Regulators Want to Expand Digital Appraisals
The government is proposing changes to the rules on home appraisals, and the changes would clear the way for more “digital” appraisals, done by drones or computer algorithms.

Lenders tell the Wall Street Journal that the changes would save home buyers money and could speed up closings.

But having a drone or a computer, instead of a trained professional, appraise your home could introduce risks to the home loan market, according to appraisers and consumer advocacy groups.

The First-Time Buyer Is Changing
First-time homebuyers are changing.

Researchers at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies found that over the past 20 years, there’s been a significant shift, from married households to never-married households among first-time homebuyers.

In the past, their report says, discussions of first-time home buying often linked homeownership to life-stage changes, such as marriage and the arrival of children.

But a growing share of first-time homebuyers no longer fit that profile.

New Single-Family Homes Continue to Shrink
The typical new single-family home in America continues to get just a little bit smaller.

According to data from the Census Bureau analyzed by the National Association of Home Builders, average square footage for new single-family homes is now 24-hundred-65, down from 25-hundred-67.square feet at the start of the year.

According to the NAHB, typical new home size falls prior to, and during, a recession as home buyers tighten their budgets. Then home sizes rise in post-recession times.

Overall new-home sizes have been falling since mid-2015.

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