Top News Of The Week

– Fed Cuts Interest Rate Over Coronavirus Fears
– Housing Will Withstand Coronavirus Storm
– New Home Sales Spike in January
– Pace of Home Price Appreciation is Stepping Up
– Redfin Reports Intense Early Competition
– Tampa Aims to Boost Affordable Housing Stock
– Millennials Eager To Buy, But Face Affordability and Availability Hurdles
– New Single-Family Home Size Inches Downward
– Racial Disparities in Homeownership
– Features That Make Buyers Drool
– Hot Start to 2020 for Florida
– BofA Chief: Online Mortgage Refi Applications Surge
– Coldwell Banker Waives Franchise Fees for Minorities, Military Vets
– Investors Find Advantages to Pet-Friendly Rentals


Fed Cuts Interest Rate Over Coronavirus Fears
The Federal Reserve has cut the short-term interest rate by half a percentage point, in response to economic instabilty brought on by fears over the coronavirus.

It’s the largest emergency rate cut since the financial crisis.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell spoke.

The Fed’s actions don’t directly affect mortgage rates, however.

Housing Will Withstand Coronavirus Storm
Anxiety over the coronavirus has had a big impact on the stock market recently.

But the housing market is likely to stand strong, experts say.

New York REALTOR® Jill McDowell spoke to Fox Business.

Mortgage Bankers Association economist Joel Kan says mortgage rates have actually been going down, as nervous investors look for stability:

And LendingTree chief economist Tendayi Kapfidze said on Yahoo Finance that the further drop in mortgage rates is boosting home sales:

Just a few days ago, Mortgage News Daily reported that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was averaging 3-point-34 percent, the lowest in four years.

New Home Sales Spike in January
New home sales were unexpectedly strong in January.

The government reports that contracts for new single-family homes rose 7.9% compared to December.

The gain was even more impressive, given that the December number was revised upward.

Year-over-year, the January number was up 18.6%.

Pace of Home Price Appreciation is Stepping Up
There is more evidence that falling mortgage rates are making home prices go up again.

The S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index for December showed prices growing that month at an annual pace of 5.7%.

Compared to a year earlier, December prices were up 3.8%.

Then there was the FHFA’s quarterly House Price Index, showing home prices rose 5-point-1 percent in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago.

Lynn Fisher is the FHFA’s deputy director for research and statistics.

Fisher says home prices rose in all 50 states and DC during the fourth quarter.

Redfin Reports Intense Early Competition
Better face it: bidding wars are back.

In its latest report on competition in the marketplace, Redfin says more and more of its agents are having to compete with multiple offers.

In fact, the company says competition is “spiking hard and early” this year, as buyers got a jump on the spring market.

Tampa Aims to Boost Affordable Housing Stock
The mayor of Tampa, Florida has unveiled a series of affordable housing initiatives.

A key to Mayor Jane Castor’s plan is cutting red tape and making construction easier.

Castor says the land trust will streamline the process of making land available for development.

Millennials Eager To Buy, But Face Affordability and Availability Hurdles
An influx of Millennial homebuyers is going to keep the housing market strong this year, says one expert.

Former Fannie Mae executive Tim Rood told Yahoo Finance that Millennials are virtually lining up at the door to buy houses.

Rood also says, though, that the lack of homes for sale is going to keep much of that demand pent-up.

New Single-Family Home Size Inches Downward
After years of building bigger, more expensive homes, many builders are turning their focus more to “starter” homes — and that’s one reason the typical new home is getting smaller.

Numbers analyzed by the National Association of Home Builders show that median new single-family home size trended lower again in the final quarter of 2019.

The median size of a new home is now 2,252 square feet.

Racial Disparities in Homeownership
There is still a wide gap between homeownership rates of different races in America.

A new report from THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® finds that while white homeownership has remained around 71-percent in the last few years, black homeownership is only around 41%.

The rate among Hispanics is about 45-percent.

NAR released its Fair Housing Action Plan in January, reaffirming its commitment to advancing fair housing protections.

Features That Make Buyers Drool
“Man caves” and “she sheds” are among the amenities that will make home buyers drool, says a new analysis by REALTOR®.com.

Researchers scanned keyword home search data to find out what turns buyers on.

It seems they also love homes that have attractive storage space, and private backyards.

But those fall-in-love features can vary by state or region.

Oklahomans really like homes with “storm shelters.”

New Yorkers want a balcony, while buyers in Washington, D.C. crave a house that’s close to a Metro subway stop.

Hot Start to 2020 for Florida
Florida’s housing market started 2020 with a bang.

Brad O’Connor, chief economist with Florida REALTORS®, says.

And O’Connor says statewide inventory levels were up modestly in January, but continue to trend downward overall.

BofA Chief: Online Mortgage Refi Applications Surge
Mortgage refinance demand is booming, as interest rates continue to trend lower.

Steve Boland, head of consumer banking at Bank of America, said on CNBC that digital applications are carrying the extra workload.

Boland says 45% of Bank of America’s mortgage applicants complete the process online.

Coldwell Banker Waives Franchise Fees for Minorities, Military Vets
One of the nation’s largest franchise brokers is taking steps to diversify its workforce.

Coldwell Banker says it will no longer charge a franchising fee to minorities or military veterans.

The typical Coldwell Banker fee to set up a new franchise is 25-thousand dollars, but now that will be waived under the initiative called the “Coldwell Banker Diversity in Ownership Program.”

Investors Find Advantages to Pet-Friendly Rentals
More American households have pets than have children.

Forbes.com reports that investors in residential real estate are taking notice and many are making their rental properties more pet-friendly.

A study by FIRE-PAW, a non-profit animal welfare research firm suggests that pet-friendly rentals can also boost investors’ profits.

But it’s not just renters. A recent survey by REALTOR®.com found that 87% of home buyers say they consider their pet’s needs when shopping for a home.

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