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Local Governments Have Worst Homebuilding Regulations: FHFA

By Ben Lane

Despite rising in April, new housing construction had previously been trending down for several months. In fact, just one month earlier, housing starts fell to the lowest pace in nearly two years.

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Fannie, Freddie Launch Uniform Mortgage-backed Security

Last Monday, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac marked the completion of their Single-Security Initiative with the launch of the Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security (UMBS).

“UMBS is the result of close collaboration with FHFA, Freddie Mac, Common Securitization Solutions, and hundreds of housing finance stakeholders and we congratulate all involved on this achievement,” said Renee Schultz, SVP, Capital Markets, Fannie Mae in a statement. “We remain focused on ensuring that all market participants continue to make a smooth transition to UMBS and maintaining a highly liquid housing finance market.”

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30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Rate Nears Two-Year Low

Freddie Mac(OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate fell to 3.82 percent, the sixth consecutive weekly decline and its lowest level since September 2017.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “While the drop in mortgage rates is a good opportunity for consumers to save on their mortgage payment, our research indicates that there can be a wide dispersion among mortgage rate offers. By shopping around and getting a single additional mortgage rate quote, a borrower can save an average of $1,500.”

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U.S. Home Flipping Rate Reaches a Nine-Year High in Q1 2019

ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s premier property database and first property data provider of Data-as-a-Service (DaaS), today released its Q1 2019 U.S. Home Flipping Report, which shows that 49,059 U.S. single family homes and condos were flipped in the first quarter of 2019, down 2 percent from the previous quarter and down 8 percent from a year ago to a three-year low.

The 49,059 homes flipped in the first quarter represented 7.2 percent of all home sales during the quarter, up from 5.9 percent in the previous quarter and up from 6.7 percent a year ago — the highest home flipping rate since Q1 2010.

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Average Single-family Home Size Increases, Reversing a Shrinking Trend: NAHB

By Robert Dietz

New single-family home size increased slightly at the start of 2019, as the market slowed.

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PACE Financing, Mortgage Disclosure Act Among CFPB's Top Rulemaking Priorities for the Year

By Diane Thompson

The Bureau is publishing its Spring 2019 Agenda as part of the Spring 2019 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which is coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget. As an independent regulatory agency, the Bureau voluntarily participates in the Unified Agenda. The agenda lists the regulatory matters that the Bureau reasonably anticipates having under consideration during the period from May 1, 2019, to April 30, 2020, as described further below

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Vast Majority Think 2019 First Quarter is Good Time to Buy Home, says Realtor® Survey

New findings from a National Association of Realtors® survey show that more Americans believe that now is a good time to purchase a home. Consumer opinions about home buying bounced back in the first quarter of 2019, with 37 percent stating that they strongly believe now is a good time to buy, up from 34 percent in the last quarter of 2018 but down from 38 percent one year ago. Only 35 percent of respondents said that now is not a good time to buy a home, compared to 37 percent in 2018's fourth quarter.

NAR's first quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey 1also found that a majority of those polled, 53 percent, said that the economy is improving – down slightly from 59 percent at the end of last year. In 2019, optimism is the greatest among those who earn $100,000 or more and those who reside in rural areas. Fifty percent of Generation X said the economy is improving, while 42 percent of urban area residents reported the same.

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Average Home Size Continues to Shrink as Inventory Adds Entry-level Homes: NAHB

By Robert Dietz

Continuing a multiyear trend, new single-family home size decreased during the final quarter of 2018.

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Multifamily Market Expected to Stay Strong, Research Reveals

By Tim Wang and Julia Laumont

A major and unprecedented structural shift has occurred in the real estate market due to a variety of demographic and socioeconomic factors. Occupied U.S. rental apartment units rose by 20 percent above the prior 10-year period. Real estate investment managers’ allocations to institutional-quality multifamily product have risen on the ongoing strength in property fundamentals.

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Enhanced Appraisal Review Drops Refinance Risk, Data Shows

By Laurie Goodman and Jun Zhu

Historically, purchase mortgages have performed better than refinance mortgages, or “refis,” defaulting less often. But changes made in response to widespread appraisal bias during the crisis have improved the industry’s risk assessment and management abilities overall and, accordingly, have decreased the expected default rate on all mortgages.

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Mortgage Rates Remain Steady, Suggest Strong Spring Home Sales: Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac(OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that mortgage rates held steady after declining for three consecutive weeks.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “Mortgage rates remained mostly unchanged this week, while mortgage applications rose 5.3 percent from the previous week. The general decline in rates we have seen recently, combined with rebounding pending home sales, hint at a strong spring homebuying season.”

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AI, Freddie Mac to Teach Valuation of Manufactured Homes

On March 6, the Appraisal Institute and Freddie Mac announced a partnership targeted to help real estate appraisers when valuing manufactured housing, meeting an important need for homebuyers, lenders, appraisers and homebuilders.

The Appraisal Institute’s partnership with Freddie Mac will provide practical appraisal training to all appraisers, as well as specifically-targeted training and case studies to address manufactured housing valuation assignments for Freddie Mac’s CHOICEHomeSM. CHOICEHome brings conventional mortgage financing to factory-built homes to help increase the availability of quality affordable homes that borrowers want while providing lenders with the innovative financing options they need.  

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Mortgage Rates at 12-month Low as Inflation Softens, Economy Slows: Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac(OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that fixed-rate mortgages fell to the lowest levels since early 2018.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “The combination of cooling inflation and slower global economic growth led mortgage rates to drift down to the lowest levels in a year. While housing activity has clearly softened over the last nine months and the lingering effects of higher rates from last year are still being felt, lower mortgage rates and a strong job market should rekindle demand for the spring homebuying season.”

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Commercial, Multifamily Originations Expected to Remain Favorable this Year: MBA

By Adam Descanctis

Steady commercial real estate markets, along with equity and debt availability, are expected to keep commercial and multifamily mortgage originations roughly on par with the volumes seen the past two years, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's 2019 Commercial/Multifamily Real Estate Finance Forecast, released here today at the 2019 Commercial Real Estate Finance/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo.

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Appeals court sides with Zillow in lawsuit over Zestimate accuracy

By Nat Levy

A federal appeals court sided with Zillow in a long-running lawsuit over the accuracy and marketing of the real estate giant’s controversial Zestimate tool.

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Data Shows Homes Sold Last Year Earned Highest Return on Investment in 12 Years

By Christine Stricker

ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s premier property database, today released its Year-End 2018 U.S. Home Sales Report, which shows that home sellers in 2018 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $61,000, up from $50,000 last year and up from $39,500 two years ago in 2016 to the highest level since 2006 — a 12-year high.

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AI Among Groups Opposing Federal Banking Agencies' Action

The Appraisal Institute on Feb. 4 was one of six organizations signing a comment letter that “strongly opposed” a proposal from the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to raise the residential appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000. 
 
If the proposal is approved, nearly three quarters of residential real estate loans held in portfolio by depository institutions would be exempt from appraisal requirements. A high percentage of those loans are from rural areas.
 
The same proposal was evaluated and answered in 2017 as part of the process of the federally mandated Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act — a regulatory relief effort that encompassed four different notice and comment periods and six public hearings. At that time, the same agencies that are now proposing the increase said it “would not be appropriate” to increase the residential threshold considering safety and soundness and consumer protection concerns.
 
The “about face” is an apparent attempt by the agencies to pacify rural community banks that received discrete relief from Congress through EGRPRA. The valuation organizations that signed the comment letter have also requested a hearing on the proposal, but the agencies continue to deliberate on the issue.
 
In addition to the Appraisal Institute, the comment letter was signed by: 
  • American Guild of Appraisers, OPEIU, AFL-CIO;
  • American Society of Appraisers;
  • American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers;
  • MBREA | The Association for Valuation Professionals; and
  • RICS.
Read the comment letter.

FHFA Won't Defend Its Structure, Constitutionality in Court

By Kelsey Ramirez

The Federal Housing Finance Agency revealed it will no longer defend its own structure, calling itself unconstitutional.

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New Home Purchase Mortgage Applications Drop 13 Percent in December, MBA Reports

The Mortgage Bankers Association this morning reported December mortgage applications for new homes fell by 13 percent from November and by 6.1 percent from a year ago.

In a separate report yesterday, the National Association of Home Builders reported its January Housing Market Index stabilized amid lower interest rates.

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AI Opposes Residential Appraisal Threshold Increase

The Appraisal Institute, the American Society of Appraisers, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers participated in bipartisan meetings with members of Congress Jan. 15, urging them to review a proposed increase to the residential appraisal threshold.
 
The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have proposed raising the residential appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000.
 
The Appraisal Institute is asking appraisers to voice their opposition to the proposed increase. AI created an action alert where its professionals and others can weigh in on this important matter. The action alert provides talking points that appraisers can use in their letters, and AI encourages appraisers to share their own stories and experiences when speaking against the proposal. 
 
Use the AI action alert to make your voice heard.
 
If you have any questions regarding this issue, contact Bill Garber, AI’s director of government and external relations, at 202-298-6449 or by email at [email protected].