Top News Of The Week

– August Housing Starts Soar to 12-Year High
– Fannie, Freddie May Go to Market by End of 2020, FHFA Director Says
– Shiller Fears ‘2006 Mentality’
– Housing Industry Wants End of QM Patch
– Fall Outlook: Strong Refinancing Activity, Slow Purchase Apps
– Dayton Housing Market Booms in Wake of Tornado
– Tiny Homes Could Help Solve Affordable Crisis in The Big Easy
– ‘Black Friday’ of Homebuying is Here
– Congress Faces NFIP Reauthorization
– Oklahoma Housing Market Well-Positioned for Recession
– New Homes With Fireplaces Now at Record Low
– Average FICO Score At Record High
– America’s Happiest State


August Housing Starts Soar to 12-Year High
Housing starts rose more than 12-percent in August, fueling new optimism among home builders and buyers.

Housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1-point-36 million units, according to the latest government figures.

Reaction from Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American Financial.

Kushi spoke on Nightly Business Report.

Meanwhile, builder confidence has hit a new high for the year.

The September National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index was up a point, to 68. The index has been in the mid- to upper 60s since May — any number above 50 is considered positive.

Fannie, Freddie May Go to Market by End of 2020, FHFA Director Says
Now that the Trump administration has come out with a plan to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, how soon could the government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, be released from federal control?

The head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Mark Calabria, says it will be “process-driven, not calendar-driven.”

Calabria was asked on Bloomberg, could the GSEs be out of conservatorship within a year?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been under federal control since they were bailed out in the mortgage meltdown 11 years ago.

Shiller Fears ‘2006 Mentality’
Speculation in housing helped trigger the last recession. And have we forgotten the lessons already?

Yale University economist Robert Shiller told Yahoo Finance that the housing market is driven by narratives.

Shiller points out that Millennials now entering the housing market often have no firsthand recollection of the financial crisis of a decade ago.

Housing Industry Wants End of QM Patch
We told you a few weeks ago here on Real Estate Today about something called the QM Patch, a temporary rule that exempts Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from stricter federal mortgage underwriting requirements.

The patch is set to expire in 2021.

Now, major industry groups — including THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® — are calling for an end to the QM Patch, and reform for Qualified Mortgages.

NAR President John Smaby says there should be, quote, “a palatable, pragmatic approach to improving the QM definition and patch.”

It’s estimated that some 250-billion dollars in mortgages in 2018 relied on the patch to obtain QM, or “qualifying mortgage,” status.

Fall Outlook: Strong Refinancing Activity, Slow Purchase Apps
Don’t look for an uptick in purchase mortgage applications this fall, says Fannie Mae’s chief economist.

Doug Duncan said on CNBC that refinance applications may remain strong, but….

Duncan says even with a recent slight upturn in mortgage rates, they are still a full percentage point lower than a year ago, meaning many homeowners could benefit from refinancing.

Dayton Housing Market Booms in Wake of Tornado
REALTORS® in the Dayton, Ohio area are counseling caution, as homeowners who lost their property in last spring’s devastating tornado try to get back to normal.

Jan Leverett, President of the Dayton Board of REALTORS®, told NewsCenter 7 TV in Dayton.

That Memorial Day tornado in Ohio damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes.

Tiny Homes Could Help Solve Affordable Crisis in The Big Easy
The Big Easy could go tiny, to provide more affordable homes.

New Orleans City Councilwoman Kristin Palmer tells WDSU-TV.

Palmer is leading the effort to make way for more tiny homes in New Orleans.

‘Black Friday’ of Homebuying is Here
Is now, right now, presenting you a golden opportunity to buy a home?

Sure is, says George Ratiu, senior economist at REALTOR®.com. The company’s research has found that late September is a terrific time to buy — so much so, that Ratiu says it’s like a Black Friday….

Ratiu tells Yahoo Finance that a recent analysis by REALTOR®.com found that fall can be the best time to buy a home.

Congress Faces NFIP Reauthorization
As the fate of the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, once again depended on a last-minute, kick-the-can-down-the-road solution in Congress, some lawmakers are stepping up the pressure on their colleagues to pass a long-term reauthorization and reform.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said in a video released by her office that a bill now before the Senate would benefit homeowners.

For years, the NFIP has been reauthorized on a temporary basis as needed, as lawmakers have been unable to agree on a long-term plan.

Oklahoma Housing Market Well-Positioned for Recession
The Sooner State’s housing market is well-positioned, if there is a recession.

So says Oklahoma City areas REALTOR® Scott Foster. He spoke to Fox 25 TV.

Foster says Oklahoma has proven to be a very stable market for home buying through the years.

New Homes With Fireplaces Now at Record Low
What’s happening to the fireplace?

New figures from the Census Bureau analyzed by the National Association of Home Builders reveal that only 41% of single-family homes started in 2018 included a fireplace.

That’s the lowest percentage since 1973.

The share of fireplace-equipped homes has been dropping since 2015, the NAHB says, setting a new record low each year.

Average FICO Score At Record High
The average American’s FICO score has never been higher.

The company says the average today is 706, a record high.

At the end of the Great Recession in 2009, the average FICO score was 686.

America’s Happiest State
How happy is the state you live in?

It’s not America’s happiest state, unless you live in Hawaii.

The Aloha State was named the happiest state in the nation for the second straight year, according to a recent report from WalletHub.

They rated such factors as employment,. the community and environment, and the emotional and physical well-being of residents.

But WalletHub points out that Hawaii also has some of the highest home prices in the country.

Right behind Hawaii on the “happiness” list were Utah, Minnesota, California, and New Jersey.

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