Home Appreciation Continues

When looking at the housing market, a great report to track is the CoreLogic Home Price Index.  This index currently shows that homes increased in price by 0.5% in the month of November and by 3.7% from November ‘18 to November ‘19.  Some of the hottest appreciation increases for the year were seen in Maine and West Virginia.  CoreLogic also offers a new metric where they forecast homes appreciating. For this report, they are seeing a gain in price of 5.3% over the next year.  Doing the math, at 5% appreciation, a $300,000 home will be worth $315,000 next year.  That is a gain of $15,000 in value!

Also, a study done by CoreLogic and RTi Research shows that millennials aged 30-38 are strongly considering “moving” in the next twelve months, and 64% plan on purchasing a home.  When looking at younger millennials (ages 21-29), less than half of them are planning on buying their next home. 

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30-second update:  Increased Loan Limits in Effect!


As of January 1, 2020, the new and increased loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA are now in place.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits are dictated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency which increased the 2020 loan limits due to the fact that home prices were up nearly 5% over last year’s totals.  Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increased their national conforming loan limit to $510,400, up from $484,350 in 2019.  In addition, there are some markets where home prices are more expensive, that have higher loan limits.  In those areas, the 2020 maximum loan amount was increased to $765,600, up from $726,525 in 2019.

The FHA loan limit also saw an increase.  The new loan limit for most of the country is now $331,760, up from $314,827 in 2019.  In addition, FHA has also increased their 2020 limits for high cost counties.  There are approximately 70 high costs counties where the median home price far exceeds the typical FHA loan.  In these areas, the 2020 loan limit is $765,600, up from $726,525 in 2019.

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Economic Reports Breakdown Housing Health

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released their mortgage application data for the week of December 16th.  This data showed a slight slowing of mortgage applications by about 5.3% from the prior week, but this was not a shock since given the holiday season.  Even though overall applications slightly slowed down for the week, purchase applications for the year are up by about 5% and refinances for the year are also up by a solid 128%.  According to the MBA, interest rates are still about 1% lower than where they were this time last year. 

Speaking of mortgage application activity, New Home Sales, which measures sales of single-family houses, increased in the month of November by 1.3%.  Year over year this report showed that contracts for new homes increased by a whopping 17% since November of 2018!  The median sales price for the month of November was $323,000.

As seen in these two reports, the housing market is still attractive and homes are still being sought out.  Lower rates, lower inventories and high levels of demand are keeping the housing market healthy and moving forward into the new year.

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30 Second Update:  Fannie Mae Boosts 2020 Housing Forecast

The research team at Fannie Mae have revised their 2020 housing forecasts to much higher levels.  This past year, growth in single-family housing starts grew just over 1% annually.   Now, in 2020, single-family housing starts are expected to accelerate to 10% and top one million new homes by 2021.  The main factors driving the surge in home starts are a strong labor market, increased consumer spending, and low interest rates.  

Supporting this forecast is a survey done by the National Association of Home Builders, which resulted in builder confidence increasing by five points in December to 76, the highest reading since June 1999.  Overall, both reports are strong indications that supply for housing in 2020 will begin to align much more with the strong demand that was prevalent throughout 2019.

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Demand for Home Ownership Continues

The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales report was recently released showing that signed contracts on single-family homes, co-ops and condos were up by 4.4% from October 2018 to October 2019.  Month-over-month sales were down slightly by 1.7% due to tight inventory levels, but this was a very good report overall, showcasing the health and resiliency of the housing market.

Speaking of tight inventory and continued demand, we see home prices continuing to rise.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency released their monthly House Price Index for the month of September, and it showed that homes increased nationally in price by 0.2.  Annually, homes increased by 5.1% which was a large 0.5% increase from their last report.  This report analyzes only homes that were purchased with mortgages with conforming loan limits.

With tight inventory levels and buyers continuing to come to market, it is clear that the housing market is very healthy and still very attractive to those out shopping for a house.  

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