Top News Of The Week

– 30-Year Mortgage Falls to Record Low
– Refinancing is Booming
– Housing Market Is 3.3 Million Homes Short
– CoreLogic: Home Prices Climb 4% in January
– Coronavirus’s Impact on Real Estate
– U.S. Economy, Housing Remain Strong: Kudlow
– Construction Spending Rises in January
– Apple Sets In Motion Affordable Housing Loan Fund
– Mortgage Demand Could Outstrip Supply
– House Committee Approves ‘Housing Fairness Act’
– Analyst: Homebuilder Stocks To Do Well
– Telecommuting Lets Americans Move to More Affordable Cities
– Nashville Tornado Shakes Real Estate Community
– House Panel Studies Proposed HUD Budget
– Minnesota Works Toward More Affordability
– Typical Mortgage Payment U.S. Homebuyers Committed to in 2019 Dropped from Prior Year


30-Year Mortgage Falls to Record Low
This is something to tell your grandkids about someday — mortgage rates last week fell to an all-time low.

After the Fed cut short-term interest rates half a percentage point, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to an average 3.29%. It has never been lower, according to Freddie Mac.

For homebuyers, falling rates are like money in the bank, says First American chief economist Mark Fleming. He told Yahoo Finance.

Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Sam Khater, says stepped-up mortgage demand signals that the housing market could help keep the U.S. economy from falling into a recession.

Refinancing is Booming
Falling mortgage rates have ignited another round of refinancing.

Black Knight estimates that well over 11-million homeowners could now save money by refinancing.

Andy Walden, the company’s director of market researchvspoke to CNBC.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that since the first of the year, refinance applications are up over 160%.

And compared with a year ago, refinancing volume is up an astounding 224%.

Housing Market Is 3.3 Million Homes Short
As low mortgage rates encourage more buyers to enter the market, they’re finding a serious shortage of homes for sale.

A new study by Freddie Mac concludes that the new housing supply is not keeping up with rising demand. The nation is about 3.3 million homes short.

The inventory shortfall is most apparent, the study says, in states that have done the best job in attracting people to move there for jobs.

CoreLogic: Home Prices Climb 4% in January
Home prices in January were up 4% from a year ago, according to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Index.

Principal economist Molly Boesel says it marks eight straight years of price growth.

And Boesel says low mortgage rates will keep prices going up in 2020.

Coronavirus’s Impact on Real Estate
There is anecdotal evidence that fears of the coronavirus are starting to impact real estate transactions.

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said, in a recent blog post, that some sellers worry about strangers entering their homes. And he said he’d been told of three sellers who canceled their listings, and one buyer who canceled an offer.

And REALTOR®.com chief economist Danielle Hale spoke to Yahoo Finance.

Redfin, meanwhile, has launched on-demand video tours that buyers can request from their agents.

U.S. Economy, Housing Remain Strong: Kudlow
One of President Trump’s chief economic advisors says housing and the overall economy remain strong, despite coronavirus fears.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said on Bloomberg.

Kudlow also pointed to the latest jobs report, showing a surge in construction employment in February.,

Construction Spending Rises in January
A mild winter in much of the country helped boost overall construction spending in January.

The government reports that January’s number was about 1.8% higher than December’s..

And it was up 6.8% from January 2019.

Spending on home construction was up 2.1% from December.

Apple Sets In Motion Affordable Housing Loan Fund
Apple has launched an affordable housing loan fund in Silicon Valley.

It’s the first new initiative in the company’s previously-announced 2.5 billion-dollar promise to help ease the housing crisis in the Bay Area.

Apple is donating 150-million dollars to a non-profit organization called “Housing Trust Silicon Valley.” Its aim is to help speed up housing development in 13 Northern California counties.

Mortgage Demand Could Outstrip Supply
Record low mortgage rates will encourage more people to apply for a loan to buy or refinance a home.

But one expert says that’s going to be a huge supply-and-demand challenge.

LoanDepot CEO Anthony Hsieh spoke to Fox Business.

Hsieh says the surge in mortgage demand means that the typical 30-to-45-day closing cycle could be stretched out to 90 days or more.

House Committee Approves ‘Housing Fairness Act’
A Congressional committee has passed a bill that aims to strengthen existing fair housing programs.

Among other things, the bill would set aside an additional 735-million dollars for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, or FHIP.

Committee Chair Maxine Waters spoke.

Texas Congressman Al Green, who sponsored the bill, said he was alarmed by a 2019 Newsday investigation that revealed widespread housing discrimination in Long Island.

Analyst: Homebuilder Stocks To Do Well
With mortgage rates low, bringing more homebuyers out, one Wall Street analyst says homebuilder stocks should do well.

But Mark Tepper, president of Strategic Wealth Partners, says there’s also this.

Tepper spoke on CNBC.

Telecommuting Lets Americans Move to More Affordable Cities
Where you work is becoming increasingly irrelevant in determining where you live.

Telecommuting is making us more mobile, according to a new study from Redfin.

As growing numbers of Americans can telecommute, many are choosing to move to more affordable areas, without having to change jobs.

The Redfin study also revealed that employers are now much more willing to let valued workers move.

Nashville Tornado Shakes Real Estate Community
The Greater Nashville REALTORS® is pledging its help, as Music City deals with the aftermath of that devastating F3 tornado nearly two weeks ago. Two dozen people were killed and hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed.

President Kristy Hairston pledged that, quote, “We will remain steadfast and strong.”

Nashville is one of the nation’s hottest housing markets. REALTORS® are preparing for whatever long-term impact there may be from the tornado.

House Panel Studies Proposed HUD Budget
A House subcommittee has begun scrutinizing the Trump administration’s proposed budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson testified.

The administration is proposing a HUD budget of nearly 48-billion dollars, which Carson noted is some 8-point-6 percent more than last year’s request.

Minnesota Works Toward More Affordability
Some Minnesota lawmakers have introduced a package of legislation to make homes more affordable and accessible.

Many of the bills are aimed at limiting regulations that can drive up the cost of a home.

State Senator Bill Weber spoke.

One bill would reform Minnesota’s building code. Another would limit restrictions imposed under the state’s energy code.

“Typical Mortgage Payment” U.S. Homebuyers Committed to in 2019 Dropped from Prior Year
Home prices are still going up, but because mortgage rates are so low, CoreLogic reports that the “typical mortgage payment” was actually almost 7% lower in 2019 than it was in 2018.

CoreLogic defines the “typical mortgage payment” as the principal-and-interest on a median-priced home/

So even though the median price was up 4-percent year-over-year in December, the typical mortgage payment fell because of a 20% decline in fixed mortgage rates.

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