Monthly Archives: November 2016

Lost confidence in your housing before election

“Overall, bullishness about transaction volumes in the coming year waned, largely driven by the decline in refinance transaction expectations,” First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming said. “Uncertainty leading into the election, as well as increasing confidence in the likelihood of Federal Reserve rate increases, tempered expectations for housing demand and lowered the overall price growth forecast.”

The title agents and real estate professionals surveyed answered that market production, which combines respondents’ answers on changes in transaction volume and prices over the next year, decreased by 3.8% annually in the fourth quarter.

Confidence over transaction volume over the next 12 months fell 11.8% from the third quarter and 3.8% from last year.

Similarly, confidence for growth in purchase transaction volume over the next 12 months also decreased by 8% from last quarter and 8.8% from last year.

Confidence in refinance transaction volume growth over the next 12 months decreased by 15.6% from last quarter, however it is still up 2.4% from last year.

Respondents expect home prices to continue rising, but at a slower pace than before. Prices across all property types are expected to grow by 3.5% over the next 12 months, down from last quarter’s growth expectations of 4.1%.

“Based on the responses of title agents and real estate professionals and their relative preference for Donald Trump, it appears that the uncertainty created by increased regulation and the growing complexities of compliance have many title agents and real estate professionals believing that less regulation would be more beneficial to the housing market in the long run,” Fleming said.

Since President-elect Donald Trump won the election, confidence among real estate professionals could take a turn for the better if it follows the same pattern as other surveys such as consumer confidence or home builder confidence.

Home price report that you should to know

The FHFA monthly HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because of this, the selection excludes high-end homes bought with jumbo loans or cash sales.

For the nine census divisions, the East South Central division saw the least increase in home prices and in fact even saw a decrease of 0.6% from September. The Mountain division, however, increased the most month-over-month at 1.2%.

Annually, the Middle Atlantic division saw the lowest increase at 3.6%, while the Mountain division again led the way with an annual increase of 8.3%.

A report from the National Association of Realtors indicated the median existing-home price increased in October to $232,200, up 6% from last year’s $219,100.

“Based on the responses of title agents and real estate professionals and their relative preference for Donald Trump, it appears that the uncertainty created by increased regulation and the growing complexities of compliance have many title agents and real estate professionals believing that less regulation would be more beneficial to the housing market in the long run,” Fleming said.

Since President-elect Donald Trump won the election, confidence among real estate professionals could take a turn for the better if it follows the same pattern as other surveys such as consumer confidence or home builder confidence.

“Now that Donald Trump is the President-elect and we have more political certainty, the message of title agents and real estate professionals to the new administration is: provide more regulatory and compliance certainty and the housing market will benefit,” Fleming said.

If you would like to know about home prices

The 10-City Composite recorded a 4.3% annual increase, up from 4.2% the previous month, while the 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.1%, up from 5.0% in September.

Last month’s report showed that home prices finally surpassed all-time highs set in July 2006, with prices recording a 5.5% annual gain in September.

On a monthly basis, after seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.9% month-over-month increase, while both the 10-City and 20-City Composites each reported a 0.6% month-over-month increase.

“Home prices and the economy are both enjoying robust numbers,” says David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “However, mortgage interest rates rose in November and are expected to rise further as home prices continue to out-pace gains in wages and personal income.”

The most recent mortgage rate report from Freddie Mac posted that mortgage rates jumped to a two-year high, with the 30-year fixed-rate coming in at 4.3% for the week ending Dec. 22, 2016.

“Affordability measures based on median incomes, home prices and mortgage rates show declines of 20-30% since home prices bottomed in 2012,” he continued. “With the current high consumer confidence numbers and low unemployment rate, affordability trends do not suggest an immediate reversal in home price trends.”

He noted that home prices cannot rise faster than incomes and inflation indefinitely.

The chart below show the annual returns of the U.S. National, the 10 -City Composite, and the 20- City Composite Home Price Indices.

Program of community redevelopment

According to Cuomo’s office, through this program, more than 8,700 homes “have been created or made safer and more affordable” with $168 million in Affordable Housing Corporation awards.

This latest round of funding will make improvements to existing owner-occupied single or multi-family homes, condominiums, or cooperatives; acquire and rehabilitate owner-occupied homes for sale, including single and multi-family homes, condominiums, or cooperatives; and construct new owner-occupied homes for sale, including single and multi-family homes, condominiums, or cooperatives including replacing dilapidated mobile and manufactured homes, Cuomo’s office said.

“We are committed to helping all New Yorkers achieve and preserve the American Dream of homeownership, and this funding will build and improve affordable owner-occupied housing in every corner of the state,” Cuomo said. “This program supports this administration’s efforts to build stronger, more resilient communities and helps to create a stronger, fairer and more affordable New York for all.”

According to Cuomo’s office, the latest round of awards include:

  • $1,200,000 to SBP, Inc. home improvement of approximately 30 units located on scattered sites in Queens and Kings County for homes damaged in Superstorm Sandy
  • $1,825,000 to Housing Partnership Development Corporation for the new construction of 49 units located on scattered sites in the Brownsville and East New York sections of Kings County
  • $880,000 to Restored Homes Housing Development Fund Corporation for the acquisition and rehabilitation of 22 units to be located on scattered sites in Queens County
  • $700,000 to Community Action Organization of Erie County for the home improvement of approximately 20 units located on scattered sites in the City of Buffalo, Erie County
  • $440,000 to Rural Housing Opportunities Corporation for the home improvement of approximately 24 units located on scattered sites in Genesee, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, and Ontario Counties
  • $450,000 to Homsite Fund, Inc. for the home improvement of approximately 45 units to be located on scattered sites in the City of Auburn in Cayuga County
  • $300,000 to Better Neighborhoods, Inc. for the home improvement of approximately 10 units located on scattered sites in the city of Schenectady, Schenectady County
  • $350,000 to North Country Affordable Housing, Inc. for the acquisition and rehabilitation of approximately 9 units located on scattered sites in Jefferson County

Access for mortgage credit

She reported that borrowers who took out mortgages in the past five years are better at paying their mortgages than any other group of mortgage borrowers in history, putting real data to talk about the credit box being too tight.

In light of the current situation, the second blog post in the Treasury Department’s series on reforming the housing finance system focuses on the need to preserve access to mortgage credit through the U.S. economy’s ups and downs.

The first blog discussed the need for housing finance reform to provide access to affordable housing for all Americans.

In the coming weeks, the Treasury said it will also address the need to create a level playing field for financial institutions of all sizes and to promote robust regulatory oversight to protect the broader housing system.

Jane Dokko, deputy assistant secretary for Financial Economics, and Sam Valverde, a counselor in the Office of Domestic Finance, start the blog off saying, “A clearly defined government role in the housing finance system is necessary to protect families from this harm. The specific tools can be incorporated across a range of frameworks for housing finance reform. By ensuring access to safe and responsible mortgages in good and bad times, countercyclical policy tools can also help mitigate housing sector weakness during downturns.”

The blog states that the economic security of millions of families would be better served with stronger countercyclical policy tools in the housing finance system. However, the blog cautions that the absence of an explicit government role in a future housing finance system would not prevent the government from supporting the housing market during a downturn.

The blog breaks down how this can be done and details three key features of a reformed housing finance system that would help smooth access to affordable credit in good and bad times:

  1. A catastrophic mortgage insurance fund (MIF) to provide stability to the secondary market through the economic cycle
  2. Countercyclical regulatory tools to ensure access to safe and responsible mortgages in good and bad economic times
  3. Broad-based modification and refinancing authority so that homeowners can readily access lower monthly mortgage payments during a downturn.

The blog intricately breaks down each of these three points, which can be found here. For now, check out a snippet of the first blog point from the Treasury below:

As we noted in our previous issue brief, and as the president articulated in 2013, a reformed housing system must ensure access to safe and affordable mortgages in all economic conditions. A stable supply of affordable mortgage credit to borrowers depends on investors having confidence in the stability of the secondary market. To this end, the administration supports an explicit government guarantee on a defined class of mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

Avoid for hacked on your home

Here are a few tips that will mitigate the risk of getting your personal data stolen.

1. Be suspicious of emails

Cale Guthrie Weissman

A great deal of cyberattacks are launched through simple malicious email campaigns. Email is a wonderful communication platform because you can sending anything to anyone, but that means it can be a huge security risk. Phishing, for example, sends victims seemingly innocuous emails that will lead victims to fake websites asking to update their personal information.

The best way to avoid being scammed by phony emails is to just make sure the recipient is who you think it is. Check the email address to see if they match with website you think it’s from. To be extra cautious you can check the IP address of the sender.

You can do this by finding the source information from the email and looking for the IP address that follows the line “Received: from.” You can then Google the IP address to learn the email’s source. (Here is a good primer on finding email IP addresses.)

2. Check link locations

Unknown messages contain links to unknown sites. Surfing to a mysterious website can bring about unintended consequences. For one, it could mimic a site you know and trust and help you fall prey to a phishing scam. Or, it may be unsecure or infected with malware.

If you are tempted to click on one of these links, you better know exactly where it’s taking you. The best way is to copy and paste the link location into a new browser to see what site is on the other side. If it’s a shortened link, you can use tools like URL X-ray that figure out the real destination before you click it.

Also, encrypted sites are the safest ones to visit. You know they are safe when you see HTTPS in the URL and the lock icon on your browser.

3. Never open attachments (unless you’re really sure)

A good rule to follow is never open attachments unless you are 120% sure of where it came from. One of the easiest ways for hackers to download malicious code onto victim computers is by sending emails with virus-laden files.

A frequent way enterprise companies get hacked is by one unsuspecting employee downloading malicious software that infiltrates the entire network. The most dangerous file types are Word, PDFs, and .EXEs.