Housing Starts for October were up 1.5 percent but Single-family Starts were down 1.8 percent which was disappointing, showing the gain was propelled mostly by multi-family starts. With price growth slowing down and mortgage rates not increasing as fast as some experts had forecasted, mortgages and homeownership is “attractive” right now. If only supply would catch up. That being said, for some homebuyers, the notice of rates and prices both still rising coupled with the limited most in-demand housing (starter homes) have lead some homebuyers to hit pause or hesitate; thus one reason why builder confidence dropped 8 points to a reading of 60 according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index. Note: any reading above 50 is still considered good, healthy, and strong.
Existing Home Sales showed a different story, highlighting homebuyers taking action with Sales up 1.4 percent in October, beating expectations and the first increase seen in 6 months. The report also showed 80 consecutive months of annual median existing home prices gains, though they have slowed down in growth—this is good for homebuyers. Reminder: deceleration is not a decline.
For the first time in 28 years, since 1994, the Federal Reserve is proposing to increase the threshold of an appraisal requirement from $250K to $400K, allowing certain home sales of $400K and below to no longer require an appraisal. However, this “would not apply to loans wholly or partially insured or guaranteed by, or eligible for sale to, a government agency or government-sponsored agency.” Meaning, home loans sold or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac would not be eligible for the appraisal exemption. Why the proposal? The threshold doesn’t hold up against today’s home prices. What do appraisers have to say? This could be significantly dangerous for lending as the expectation is more evaluations will be allowed to replace appraisals. More to come on this in the future.
Those who purchase a home between ages 25 and 35 can accumulate an additional $100K in home equity than those who purchase after the age of 35, leading those who purchase at a younger age to be more financially stable in retirement and have more home wealth than those who purchase later in life. Those who purchase a home before the age of 25 proved to receive more “bang for their buck” as they typically purchased a lower priced home but had less equity than those who purchased between 25 and 35 years old because they, typically, purchased such a lower priced home. Moral of the story: if you can make it work, purchase young.