Top News Of The Week

- HUD Marks 50th Anniversary of Fair Housing Act
- FHA Improperly Insured Thousands in 2016
- CoreLogic: Home Prices Up For Seventh Consecutive Month
- Tappable Home Equity At All-Time High
- Insurers On Hook For Nearly Half Billion in Mudslide Damage
- Double Digit Price Growth Ahead in Some Markets
- NAHB Reports Slow But Steady Job Growth
- It’s Becoming Easier to Become a Professional Appraiser
- Q4 2017 Not A Good Time For Independent Mortgage Banks
- Private Residential Construction Spending Gains Again in February
- Cash-Out Mortgage Refis May Be Returning as Rates Rise
- What Spring Home Buyers Want
- Amazon Refining Its List For HQ2
- Small Independent Mortgage Lenders Ask CFPB For Relief
- Mortgage Bankers Back Alternatives to FICO
- How Long Will Your Home’s Parts Last?


HUD Marks 50th Anniversary of Fair Housing Act
April is “Fair Housing Month,” designated by President Trump, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Fair Housing Act. It was signed into law on April 11th. 1968, by President Lyndon B. Johnson, just days after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is Dr. Ben Carson:.

The Fair Housing Act bans discrimination concerning the sale, rental or financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin and sex.

FHA Improperly Insured Thousands in 2016
Thousands of borrowers were approved for FHA-backed mortgages in 2016 even though they weren’t eligible, according to a new report from the HUD Office of Inspector General.

The report says in 2016, “FHA insured more than 9,500 loans worth $1.9 billion, which were not eligible for insurance because they were made to borrowers with delinquent Federal debt or who were subject to Federal administrative offset for delinquent child support.”

The OIG says lenders didn’t have sufficient access to current information about eligibility. It’s recommending that FHA develop a method for using the so-called “Do Not Pay portal” to identify ineligible borrowers. FHA says it agrees.

CoreLogic: Home Prices Up For Seventh Consecutive Month
The relentless home price surge continued for the seventh straight month in February, according to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic.

Nationally prices went up one percent from January, and 6.7% from February 2017.

Western state home price increases were even more dramatic — Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah all had year over year home price increases of more than 11%.”

Looking ahead, CoreLogic forecasts that price increases will slow, to an annual pace of 4.7% by February 2019.

Tappable Home Equity At All-Time High
American homeowners have never before sat on so much “tappable” home equity, says a new report.

Black Knight Financial Services says tappable equity — that’s the amount a homeowner with a mortgage can borrow against before reaching a loan-to-value ratio of 80-percent — now totals 5-point-4 trillion dollars nationwide.

That’s the highest it’s ever been, Black Knight says.

Tappable equity increased by $735 billion in 2017 alone.

Insurers On Hook For Nearly Half Billion in Mudslide Damage
The damage from January’s mudslide in Montecito, California is rapidly approaching half a billion dollars, based on the latest insurance industry figures.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says more than 1,400 homes were damaged or destroyed.

Most homeowners don’t have flood insurance, and their standard homeowners policies explicitly exclude mudslide damage. But Jones invoked a rarely-used California law.

Jones warns that many California homeowners now face higher insurance premiums and possible loss of coverage.

Double Digit Price Growth Ahead in Some Markets
Home prices in some top markets could grow by double digits over the next year, says one new forecast.

California-based Veros Real Estate Solutions projects that many top housing markets could see annual home price growth in excess of 10%. Their forecast for the nation as a whole is 4.3%price growth.

Seattle could see the largest growth, Veros says, with a projected 11.1%.

NAHB Reports Slow But Steady Job Growth
A new report from the National Association of Home Builders reveals what they call “modest but steady job gains” in the home construction industry between 2011 and 2016.

NAHB Economics estimates that there were 3.8 million people working in residential construction in 2016. The Association says that is far below the peaks reached during the housing boom, when the industry employed more than 5-million people.

A labor shortage is one of the many factors builders often cite, when explaining why home construction has not kept up with demand for new homes.

It’s Becoming Easier to Become a Professional Appraiser
A shortage of qualified property appraisers has prompted the Appraisal Foundation’s Appraiser Qualifications Board to relax the requirements to make it easier for someone to become a professional appraiser.

The major changes involve reducing the number of hours of college coursework and job training needed.

The appraisal industry has been struggling in recent years with a double whammy — experienced appraisers are nearing retirement age, but too few new workers are entering the field.

The new appraiser requirements take effect May 1st.

Q4 2017 Not A Good Time For Independent Mortgage Banks
The fourth quarter of 2017 was not a kind one for many of America’s mortgage lenders.

So says the quarterly Performance Report from the Mortgage Bankers Association. MBA vice president Marina Walsh spoke in a video.

In an MBA-produced video, Walsh attributes much of the fourth quarter slump to seasonal factors, but she said a lack of refinance activity hurt lenders’ profitability.

Private Residential Construction Spending Gains Again in February
Spending on private residential construction grew in February.

The government says for the month, spending stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 533-billion dollars. That’s up one-tenth of a percent from the upwardly revised January estimate, and it’s up 5 and a half percent year over year.

The National Association of Home Builders says the February gains were largely the result of a big increase in single-family and multifamily construction spending.

Cash-Out Mortgage Refis May Be Returning as Rates Rise
Are cash-out refinance loans making a comeback?

Marketwatch reports that as of the fourth quarter of 2017, the share of all refinances that were “cash-outs” rose to its highest level since 2008. Still, they report, it’s not clear whether the overall volume of cash-out refinances is rising.

An Urban Institute report explains that when interest rates are low, most people who refinance do so to get a lower monthly payment. When rates rise, homeowners refinance to cash out.

What Spring Home Buyers Want
The typical spring home buyer this year is looking for a three bedroom, two-bath home with a garage and up-to-date kitchen.

That’s according to a new survey by REALTOR®.com.

REALTOR®.com chief economist Danielle Hale says the survey also reveals different priorities among different groups of buyers. Older buyers, for example, are concerned with privacy and being able to age comfortably. Millennials, she says, place more emphasis on family needs, stability and personal expression.

And speaking of Millennials, the REALTOR®.com survey finds that about a quarter of them say rising rent is a trigger for their desire to buy a home.

Amazon Refining Its List For HQ2
With a decision promised later this year, on where its second headquarters will be located, Amazon has begun site visits to the 20 finalists in the running for HQ2.

And it appears Amazon executives appear to be narrowing their choices, as they complete those visits, says Wall Street Journal reporter Laura Stevens. Stevens spoke in a Journal-produced podcast.

One city that seems to have a leg up, Stevens says, is Washington, DC — where Amazon’s Jeff Bezos already has a home.

Small Independent Mortgage Lenders Ask CFPB For Relief
America’s smaller, independent mortgage bankers want some regulatory relief.

In a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Community Home Lenders Association asks that its members be exempt from the CFPB’s exams and audits.

The Association also wants the CFPB to adopt a policy that it won’t take enforcement action against smaller lenders unless the lender’s primary regulator — such as a state banking authority — asks for such action by the CFPB.

Mortgage Bankers Back Alternatives to FICO
The fate of your mortgage application depends in part on your FICO credit score.

But there are other scoring methods, too, and the Mortgage Bankers Association is among those now urging the Federal Housing Finance Agency to broaden credit scoring requirements.

In addition to what’s dubbed “Classic FICO,” there’s “FICO 9″ and VantageScore 3.0.

One option could be for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use two scoring systems, producing a “primary” and “secondary” credit score.

How Long Will Your Home’s Parts Last?
Which of these will outlast the others: your garage door, your roof, or your deck?

According to an infographic put out recently by Simply Self-Storage, a properly maintained garage door should last you 10-to-15 years. A roof, 20-to-30 years.

But your deck, depending on what kind of wood it’s made from, could last you 50 years.

Inside the house, give your carpet 10 years, faucets and fixtures 15, and your HVAC system 20 years — but your electrical wiring should be good for a hundred-plus years.

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