The annualized rate of overall housing
starts this past July, down 5. 6 percent
year over year
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
The median price of a home nationally as
of this past second quarter, a new record
Source: National Association of Realtors
The year-over-year increase in U.S. home
prices this past June
Realtors: Appraiser shortage is real
A wave of retiring appraisers and a lack of new entrants into the field could create a
serious shortage of available appraisers for housing and mortgage markets, particularly in rural areas, the National Association of Realtors reported. NAR estimated that
the current population of appraisers stands at about 82,000 nationwide. That number
could decline by roughly a quarter over the next 30 years, given the 2016 level of
appraisers entering the field, the trade group said.
Lenders pan language question for loan applications
Mortgage banking groups remained strongly against a proposal to include a language-preference question in the standard form used to apply for the most popular home
loans. Major banking groups say including such a question in applications for loans
conforming to Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s guidelines could open a Pandora’s box
of legal problems. At the urging of advocates, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is
mulling the possibility of mandating the question.
SAFE Act bill could lower barriers to job changes
The mortgage industry is throwing its weight behind two federal bills that would enable
bank loan officers to more easily switch jobs and work at nonbank mortgage companies.
Bipartisan bills were reintroduced in the U.S. Senate and House this past summer that
would enable loan originators to get a temporary license as they transition from a bank
to a nonbank, or move to a new state. As it stands now, bank loan officers moving to
nonbank lenders often have a wait of several weeks or a month to establish that they
meet the various state-level licensing standards.
Flagging refi market cools GSE loan purchases
The government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cumulatively purchased a nearly identical number of loans during the first half of this year,
compared to the same period a year earlier. The GSEs’ loan-acquisition counts have
declined from 2015 levels, however, according to figures published in Freddie’s and
Fannie’s second-quarter earnings disclosures. This year’s first-half activity also reflected a predicted decline in the demand for home refinances and a corresponding rise in
Home sellers realize record returns
Homeowners who sold their properties during second-quarter 2017 realized the highest
average price gain in a decade, Attom Data Solutions reported. During the three-month
period, sellers had an average return of $51,000 above the original purchase price.
That’s the highest number since second-quarter 2007, when the average return was
$57,000, the company said. n
By Victor Whitman