3221 Harrison Pike Chattanooga, TN 37406 Phone (423) 624-9992 | Fax (423) 624-9435
www.hbagc.net
Housing Headlines

Surprise! It's Millennials.

ECONOMIC NEWS

 

NBC News
Who's powering the housing market? Surprise! It's millennials

Millennials are growing up, settling down and looking to buy a house — for the extra room and the investment opportunity.


USA Today
Home building slowed as cities try to tame growth

James and Carrie Finan have been house-hunting in the Seattle area for four months in a seemingly futile race against time: They're living in a room in James' mother's house and their first child is due in September.


MarketWatch
Home prices pick up steam as spring selling season heats up, CoreLogic says

U.S. home prices marched higher in April, with the strongest gains in the West, according to a report out Tuesday.


HousingWire
HUD Secretary Carson: Homeownership is the foundation of the economy

And more highlights from HUD housing forum.


The Washington Post
How the government contributes to the low supply of starter homes

I hear a lot of criticism of millennials, with some implying they're lazy and perhaps entitled. However, when I look critically at this group I don't see much difference between them and my generation at the same point in life.


CBS News
House-hunting in 2017? You'll need a fatter wallet

What's on your TV? In many middle-class homes, programs about house-hunting now compete for viewers with sporting events, cooking shows and financial advice. Americans are house-hungry. And nothing proves this more than the latest figures from Black Knight's Home Price Appreciation (HPA) index, which in March tallied its highest monthly gain in nearly four years.


The Wall Street Journal

New houses get smaller as first-time buyers move into the market

Home construction still lags despite strong demand for single-family houses.


U.S. News & World Report
More homebuyers, more debt

There is a false narrative going around town about first-time homebuyers, and it could be dangerous to the very group it purports to describe. It is often written today that high down payment requirements, rising house prices, student debt and a lack of supply are keeping these new buyers from purchasing a home.


The Washington Post
Here's how much you would need to afford rent in your state

There is nowhere in this country where someone working a full-time minimum-wage job could afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment, according to an annual report released Thursday documenting the gap between wages and the cost of rental housing.


Forbes
African-American and Hispanic families priced out of real estate in West Coast markets

In 2016, just 18 percent of homes for sale in the 30 largest U.S. metros were affordable for middle-class Hispanic families and 14 percent were affordable for African-American families, according to a new study by national realtor Redfin. Both rates were down 11 percentage points from 2012. This is compared to 30 percent affordable for those earning the median income for white households, down 12 percentage points since 2012.


The Wall Street Journal
Millions of young people shut out of the housing market

Roughly three million potential first-time home buyers have been shut out of the market over the last decade, according to a new study, suggesting the market's recovery of the past few years could have been stronger. (Subscription may be required.)


HousingWire
Experts: Disappointing jobs report won't stop looming interest rate hike

Economists are voicing their disappointed in the weak and unexpectedly low employment report produced in May, however they say it will not be enough to stop an interest rate hike in June.


HOUSING FINANCE

 

National Mortgage News
How Trump can make the FHA more lender friendly

Regulatory relief has been a central tenet of the Trump administration's strategy to strengthen the economy. That philosophy could be applied to the housing market with changes to government-backed mortgage programs to improve access to credit and increase homeownership. (Subscription may be required.)


The Washington Post
Fannie Mae will ease financial standards for mortgage applicants next month

It's the No. 1 reason that mortgage applicants nationwide get rejected: They're carrying too much debt relative to their monthly incomes. It's especially a deal-killer for millennials early in their careers who have to stretch every month to pay the rent and other bills.


The Hill
As capital dwindles, trouble looms for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt recently delivered two direct messages to Congress: First, it is dangerous to operate the two institutions that undergird half of the U.S. mortgage market and support over $5 trillion in mortgage backed securities with little to no capital. Second, as the safety and soundness regulator, he intends to take steps to reverse that situation.


National Mortgage News
FHA premium reduction remains on hold: Carson

The financial condition of the Federal Housing Administration's mortgage insurance fund has "stabilized," according to Housing Secretary Ben Carson. But that does not mean he's ready to cut FHA premiums again. (Subscription may be required.)

 

DODD-FRANK

 

USA Today

Dodd-Frank debate: Here's how the House could change financial legislation

President Trump's agenda to deregulate the financial industry could take a big leap forward this week.


HousingWire
House votes to abolish Dodd-Frank

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to pass the Republican-led Financial CHOICE Act, H.R. 10, which would abolish the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.


DEPARTMENT OF LABOR


USA Today
Worker-friendly rules scrapped by Labor Dept

Expanded worker protections on pay and benefits were rolled back by the Trump Administration Wednesday in a first step of what is expected to be a broader effort to reinstate policies that favor employers.

 

MULTIFAMILY

 

The New York Times
Developers lure buyers to cities, even as prices stall

Peter Fader, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has long yearned for the city life. For 20 years, though, he and his wife, Mina, have deferred that dream, living in a Philadelphia suburb to raise their two children in a 3,500-square-foot home.

 

OSHA


The New York Times
Under Trump, worker protections are viewed with new skepticism

There's a relaxation in the approach to occupational safety and business is getting a bigger voice, while hard-won victories for safety advocates are being reversed.

 

NFIP

 

MarketWatch
Nearly 7 million homes are at risk of hurricane storm surge, even as national flood insurance program may expire

As the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season officially starts, the national weather agency in charge of tracking hurricanes says it could be another "above-normal" season, even as a federal flood insurance program that's the only option for many homeowners will expire in September if Congress doesn't take action.

 

INDUSTRY TRENDS


Construction Dive
Moving up: How builders can address the needs of multigenerational households

Living with mom and dad it is trending. That is, whether due to financial, health or other circumstances, young adults are moving back home after college and older adults are moving in with their children later in life, bringing multigenerational households to the forefront once again.

 

 

 


A Compilation of the Week's Top Housing Headlines

ECONOMIC NEWS

 

The Wall Street Journal
Phoenix, Las Vegas housing markets return to average growth, 15 years later

In another sign the U.S. housing market is returning to normal, Las Vegas and Phoenix -- poster children of the bubble and bust -- are looking average. (Subscription may be required.)


MarketWatch
Home-price growth accelerates to nearly three-year high in March

U.S. home price gains picked up speed, accelerating to the highest rate in nearly three years, reflecting sturdy demand and lean supply.


MarketWatch
Pending-home sales decline again, deepening housing market funk

A gauge of home purchase contract signings slumped for a second month in April, another sign the housing market is still struggling for a balance between supply and demand.


The Wall Street Journal
Homeowners are again pocketing cash as they refinance properties

Americans refinancing their mortgages are taking cash out in the process at levels not seen since the financial crisis. (Subscription may be required.)


MarketWatch
Why many Americans are worried about buying a home

Our economy has come a long way since the 2007-09 recession: Wages are going up, unemployment sits at 4.4% (the lowest level since May 2007)—and we're in the midst of the second-longest bull market ever.

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

 

The Wall Street Journal
Citing housing shortage, builders push for friendlier laws

The real-estate industry is having success in using the scarcity of affordable housing in the U.S. to persuade lawmakers to give builders more legal protection. (Subscription may be required.)


The Wall Street Journal
Happy 70th to true American suburbia

Today most American homes take four to six months to build, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This makes the following fact even more extraordinary: At one point in the 1940s, a house was completed every 16 minutes in Levittown, N.Y., the first mass-produced suburb in America. (Subscription may be required.)
 

HOUSING FINANCE

 

Bloomberg
This political fight is a big threat to fixing the mortgage market

The latest effort to fix the U.S. housing-finance system may hinge on solving a riddle that wrecked the last attempt: How far will Congress go to ensure that low-income and minority borrowers can get loans while protecting taxpayers against bailouts?

 

HOUSING POLICY


Housing Wire
The Trump Effect on Real Estate

He's known as a real estate mogul, but with proposals that could both boost or blast the housing market, Trump makes it far from clear what his presidency will do for housing, and even industry professionals don't agree on what the future may hold.

 

REMODELING

 

Construction Dive
Remodeling spending growth to continue in 2017

Homeowners who remodel this year are estimated to spend roughly $6,148 per project, compared to $5,800 in 2016, according to a National Association of Home Builders analysis of Census Bureau data, which considered 26,000 U.S. zip codes, the number and age of homes there and their owners' average income and education.

 


AFFORDABLE HOUSING


The Los Angeles Times
California housing bills could take away subsidies for homeowners and add them for renters

California state senators passed a package of housing legislation Thursday, a bid to spend more on low-income housing as well as make it easier for developers to build.

 

HUD

 

Fox Business
Housing chief steps up public profile in coming weeks

President Donald Trump's point man on housing, Ben Carson, takes on a higher profile this month in Washington — an opportunity to spell out his vision on federal housing policy, and to try to avoid some of the verbal gaffes that have stirred criticism in his first months on the job.

 

LABOR SHORTAGES


Bloomberg
Stigma of criminal record fades as U.S. employers get desperate

Shea Rochester, who once spent a month in jail on an assault charge that was later dropped, is now wanted in a different way.

 

 

 


Sentiment among home builders rebounded in May, buoyed by optimistic views of demand for housing.

ECONOMIC NEWS


MarketWatch
Home builder sentiment strengthens as industry looks past Washington

Sentiment among home builders rebounded in May, buoyed by optimistic views of demand for housing.


CNN Money
Home builders can't find enough workers

There's a huge "help wanted" sign hanging over the home building industry.


MarketWatch
Housing starts ease in April after strong first quarter; But single-family starts perked up

The pace of home construction eased in April as builders took a breather after a strong start to the year.


Fox Business (WSJ)
Home sales jump to near-boom-era levels

Home sales in the first quarter hit their fastest pace in a decade, a sign that rising prices and slightly higher mortgage rates haven't deterred home buyers from rushing into the market.


MarketWatch
Slow and steady growth wins the race for home building — and the economy

The home-building recovery has been slow and steady – and nearly nine years after the housing crisis, housing construction isn't yet fully healed. That's probably a good thing.


Forbes
Homes sold faster than ever in April, survey shows

U.S. home prices rose 6.2 percent to a median sale price of $280,000 in April, according to national realtor Redfin. Home sales inched up 1.2 percent over last year, constrained by a shortage in the supply of homes. The number of homes for sale fell 13.3 percent, the steepest decline in four years, marking 19 straight months of annual declines.


The New York Times
Real estate's new normal: Homeowners staying put

For much of last year, Greg Rubin was looking to buy a bigger house. He has been in the same two-bedroom home for 17 years and hoped to upgrade to a place with a guest room, a home office and a workshop for his guitars, radio-controlled planes and gardening equipment.


National Mortgage News
12 cities where homebuyers really need a 20% down payment

New mortgage programs have made it much easier for borrowers to buy a home with a down payment that's less than the traditional 20%. While these efforts are essential to improving access to mortgage credit, consumers still have the most purchase power and home shopping options with a larger down payment.


The New York Times
How tales of 'flippers' led to a housing bubble

There is still no consensus on why the last housing boom and bust happened. That is troubling, because that violent housing cycle helped to produce the Great Recession and financial crisis of 2007 to 2009. We need to understand it all if we are going to be able to avoid ordeals like that in the future.


HousingWire
Citizenship applications soar, and that means more potential homeowners

Naturalized citizenship is on the rise, and they will be putting more pressure on the housing market...and housing inventory.

 

MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION


The Wall Street Journal
Is mortgage-interest deduction the best way? (Granger MacDonald's letter to the editor was published.)

Regarding your editorial "Houses of Lobbyists" (May 6): Buying a home isn't the only way to build a nest egg, but middle-class families can't get a $200,000 bank loan to invest in stocks. They can, however, get a loan to buy a house. Unfortunately, eviscerating the mortgage-interest deduction (MID) would undermine households that have taken this step. Household ownership in real estate currently stands at $23.1 trillion, and even a 5% drop in home values could destroy $1 trillion in household wealth. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Chicago Tribune
This hefty tax benefit for homeowners hangs in the balance

It's often the biggest pot of gold available to any homeowner, yet its fate remains unclear under the main tax code overhaul plans proposed so far on Capitol Hill.

 

HOUSING FINANCE REFORM

 

The Hill
It's time for Congress to get the facts straight on housing finance

With a new administration in office, members of Congress have awakened once again to the unsolved problem of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the country's two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that have been in a conservatorship since 2008, when they were bailed out by American taxpayers.

 

American Banker
Drilling down on Mnuchin's first Senate Banking appearance

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tackled a host of hot financial topics on Thursday, including saying he did not favor breaking up the big banks, committing to preserving the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and broadly endorsing a two-tiered regulatory system for big and small institutions. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal
Trump Administration Could Support Government Backstop for Fannie and Freddie, Mnuchin Says

The Trump administration could support a government backstop for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of a broad overhaul of the mortgage-finance giants, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Senate lawmakers on Thursday. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Marketwatch
Mnuchin expects Fannie and Freddie to keep sending profits to the U.S. Treasury

Shareholders of Fannie and Freddie will have to wait a little while longer In 2008, as the financial crisis swirled, the federal government rushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship.

 

OSHA


The Washington Post
OSHA suspends Obama-era rule for electronic reporting of illness, injury

The Labor Department on Wednesday suspended an Obama-era rule requiring that companies electronically report their injury and illness records, a move that effectively keeps these records from being publicly disclosed for the immediate future.

 

 


The Week's Top Housing News

ECONOMIC NEWS


HousingWire

Fannie Mae: Consumer housing optimism rebounds in April

Many consumers grew more optimistic about the housing in April, rebounding from March's dip in confidence, according to the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index.


The Wall Street Journal
Workers and wood squeeze housing market

Shares of U.S. home builders have had a nice run since the election, driven by healthy profits and rising confidence. That sweet spot is likely over, and the shift will put a damper on the overall housing market. (Subscription may be required.)


CNN Money
Good luck buying a home in this hot housing market

It's going to be a tough house hunting season for buyers, but it's particularly brutal for those in Seattle.


The Wall Street Journal

Generation of Renters Now Buying

First-time buyers are rushing to buy homes after a decade on the sidelines, promising to kick a housing market already flush with luxury sales into higher gear. (Subscription may be required.)

 

HOUSING FINANCE REFORM

 

The Wall Street Journal
Trump administration, senators put Fannie, Freddie overhaul back in play

The Trump administration and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators are working to address an issue that has gone unresolved for nearly a decade: how to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage-finance giants the government took over in 2008. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Washington Examiner
Fixing Fannie and Freddie won't be any easier for the Trump team

Despite bold talk from Republicans, the political obstacles to reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain nearly as steep as they have been throughout the eight years that the firms have been in the government's hands.

 

MarketWatch
Fed's Rosengren warns that Fannie, Freddie reform could roil commercial real-estate market

Efforts to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could lead to "a potential and significant shock" to the commercial real-estate sector, said Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren on Tuesday.

 

American Banker
FHFA on collision course with Congress over Fannie, Freddie

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt appears poised for a showdown with Congress over how to handle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's dwindling capital buffers.Efforts to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could lead to "a potential and significant shock" to the commercial real-estate sector, said Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren on Tuesday. (Subscription may be required.)

 

LUMBER

 

Construction Dive
Round 1: What the latest Canadian lumber tariffs mean for US housing

For the past several months, the industry has been reeling over speculation about impending tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber and what they might mean for the housing industry.

 

The Washington Post
Jimmy Carter: Trump is right. Canada's lumber trade practices are unfair.

I agree with the recent decision of the White House and the Commerce Department to impose anti-subsidy duties against Canada's unfairly traded softwood lumber imports. This belated enforcement of U.S. trade laws will help millions of private timberland owners, American forestry workers and members of their local communities by leveling the playing field in the timber industry.

 

GSEs

 

HousingWire
Fannie, Freddie release official strategy to serve underserved markets

Monday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency requested public input on the GSE's new proposed Underserved Markets Plans under the Duty to Serve program.

 

Bloomberg
Fannie-Freddie regulator warns he can't let capital fall to zero

The head of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's regulator warned that he can't take the risk of letting the companies run out of capital.

 

Marketwatch
Fannie and Freddie are nearly out of money and Washington is getting anxious

In 2008, as the financial crisis swirled, the federal government rushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. The two giant mortgage-finance companies became wards of the state under a new regulator that would manage their affairs until they were healthy enough to stand on their own.

 

FORECLOSURE NEWS


The New York Times
Housing Regulator Is Pushed to Crack Down on Sales of Foreclosed Properties

Lawmakers are pressing the nation's housing regulator over the sale of thousands of foreclosed houses to investment firms that have pitched the promise of homeownership to people unable to get a traditional mortgage.Your mortgage may come with a bonus: credit-card reward points. Chase recently announced it will give 100,000 reward points, worth up to $1,500, to existing credit-card customers who take out a home loan with the bank between now and Aug. 6.

 

MORTGAGE NEWS


CNBC
The latest mortgage perk for millennials: Reward points

Your mortgage may come with a bonus: credit-card reward points. Chase recently announced it will give 100,000 reward points, worth up to $1,500, to existing credit-card customers who take out a home loan with the bank between now and Aug. 6.

 

LOW-INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDIT


The Denver Post
Affordable housing developers "fighting like crazy" to pencil out projects following drop in tax credit value

Affordable housing developers in Colorado are facing a new challenge that could stretch their limited funding resources even further and potentially impact the number of income-restricted units that can be built every year.

 

OSHA


Reveal News
OSHA tells companies to report injuries. There's no website for that yet

The nation's top workplace safety regulator has directed scores of companies to begin submitting their injury records, but with the impending deadline less than two months away, there is still no website set up for these workplaces to comply.

 

DODD-FRANK


Reuters
Trump review of Wall Street rules to be done in stages: sources

The U.S. government's review of a landmark 2010 financial reform law will not be complete by early June as originally targeted, and officials will now report findings piece-by-piece, with priority given to banking regulations, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

 

 


Fears that higher home mortgage rates this year will keep buyers away and hit home sales could be overblown

ECONOMIC NEWS


Reuters
U.S. housing demand seen holding up despite rising rates

Fears that higher home mortgage rates this year will keep buyers away and hit home sales could be overblown.


Chicago Tribune
Why millennials are finally starting to settle down and buy homes

Millennials are finally starting to show interest in homeownership.


Construction Dive
Home-improvement pros wary of labor market, optimistic about demand

Eight in 10 home-improvement professionals expect to see revenues grow in the next year, while more than half (55.8%) reported an increase in per-project revenue last year, according to a new index from HomeAdvisor and the Farnsworth Group.


The Washington Post
As equity rises, many homeowners use refinancings to free up cash

They're either a valuable financial tool for homeowners or a harbinger of trouble on the horizon: Cash-out refinancings, which were wildly popular during the housing boom years and which contributed to the severity of the crash, are on the rise again.


MarketWatch
Want to see how America is changing? Property taxes hold the answer

Americans paid nearly $300 billion in property taxes in 2016 - but as with everything in real estate, it's all about location. Yet those taxes don't just tell a story about local and regional housing markets - they also show how the country is changing.


Construction Dive

Builders continue to put larger homes on smaller lots

Larger homes are going up on smaller lots, analysis by CoreLogic found. For new homes, the median square footage has risen from 1,938 square feet in 1990 to roughly 2,300 square feet post-2013, dipping somewhat in from 2007 to 2009. Meanwhile, median lot size for new homes shrank from 8,250 square feet in 1990 to 6,970 square feet in 2016.


MarketWatch
Mortgage rates tumble to fresh 2017 low

Rates for home loans fell in line with Treasury yields, nudging mortgage rates to the lowest level of the year, Freddie Mac said Thursday.


Construction Dive
Market volatility takes the wind out of vacation-home sales

Vacation-home sales declined for the second-straight year in 2016, dropping 21.6% from 2015 to 721,000 last year, following the most recent peak of 1.3 million in 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors' Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, which tracks new and existing properties.


MarketWatch
Here's where an entire year's salary won't get you a down payment

When it comes to barriers to entry to the housing market, the down payment can feel more like a pole vault for many Americans, especially those stuck paying ever-pricier rent payments every month.


The Wall Street Journal
Teachers, police priced out of America's big metro areas

Rising home prices are putting America's largest metropolitan areas out of reach for teachers, police officers and other big slices of the U.S. workforce. (Subscription may be required.)


MarketWatch
Why most renters don't want to buy homes right now

The spring home-buying market is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in recent memory, and is even worse for first-time homebuyers, i.e. Millennials.

 

DODD-FRANK


American Banker
Congress playing chicken with Dodd-Frank reform

A Senate Republican effort to use an obscure legislative process to restructure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could derail any bipartisan agreement on targeted changes to the Dodd-Frank Act. (Subscription may be required.) 

 

HousingWire
Trump floats complete repeal of Dodd-Frank

Last week, President Donald Trump told a group of CEOs that his administration is planning a "very major haircut" on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.
 

HOUSING FINANCE


HousingWire
Jamie Dimon says fixing mortgage industry would boost lending by $300 billion a year

J.P. Morgan Chase on Thursday reported earnings and revenue that beat expectations, with trading and investment banking revenues contributing the most during the quarter.
 

MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION


HousingWire
Community lenders stress possible negative impact on mortgage interest deduction in tax reform

As the Trump administrations works on hashing out comprehensive tax reform, the Community Home Lenders Association penned a letter to address its serious concerns about the future of the mortgage interest deduction, along with the potential negative impact to it.
 

 

 

 

 

 


A Compilation of the Week's Top Housing News

ECONOMIC NEWS


The Wall Street Journal
Buying a home this spring will be hardest in years
Robin Manthie and her husband have been looking for their first home in Minneapolis since May. They thought this spring would bring a flood of inventory, making their search easier. But by most measures it is getting tougher. (Subscription may be required.)


MarketWatch
Why lower house prices lead to higher student loan default rates
Add this to the list of potential consequences of the housing bust: Rising student loan defaults.


CNBC
Homeowners are pulling cash out again; this time it’s the millennials
Fast-rising home prices gave homeowners more equity than many expected, and they are now tapping that equity at the fastest rate in eight years.


MarketWatch
Americans are taking out the largest mortgages on record
For the past few years, the housing market has been unbalanced. Strong demand and lean supply keep pushing prices higher and higher.

The Wall Street Journal
Want that apartment? You may have to bid for it
If you think the rent is too damn high, there are a couple of startups that want you to prove it, by forcing you to bid for a place to live. You may find out you're right. Or you may discover you aren't offering enough. (Subscription may be required.)


Realtor Magazine
New homes have gotten pricier
Over the last 10 years, the price distribution of new homes has changed significantly, as new homes have grown more expensive. Builders blame a weakness among first-time buyers and rising regulatory burdens as the reason for the shift in focus in the pricier tiers of the new-home sector following the Great Recession.


MarketWatch
Mortgage rates fall for the third straight week, approach 2017’s low
Rates for home loans notched their third weekly decline, nearing a fresh low for 2017, mortgage finance provider Freddie Mac said Thursday.


HousingWire
TransUnion: Here’s why Millennials are delaying homeownership
The spring home-buying market is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in recent memory, and is even worse for first-time homebuyers, i.e. Millennials.

HUD


The Washington Post
Carson assures advocates that White House will include housing funding in infrastructure bill
HUD Secretary Ben Carson said Monday that the Trump administration will seek to include housing funding in a yet-to-be unveiled infrastructure spending bill.


The New York Times
In Ohio county that backed Trump, word of housing cuts stirs fear
For years, Tammy and Joseph Pavlic tried to ignore the cracked ceiling in their living room, the growing hole next to their shower and the deteriorating roof they feared might one day give out. Mr. Pavlic worked for decades installing and repairing air-conditioning and heating units, but three years ago, with multiple sclerosis advancing, he had to leave his job.

DODD-FRANK


HousingWire
Trump: We're going to do a very major haircut on Dodd-Frank
In the words of President Donald Trump, the era of “horrible regulations” is coming to an end. On Tuesday, during a gathering of some of the CEOs of the country’s largest companies hosted by the White House, Trump told the crowd that his administration is working hard to “destroy” many of the regulations holding back the private sector and plans to continue doing so.

The Wall Street Journal
Dodd-Frank overhaul vote unlikely before summer, law maker says

The House won't vote until this summer at the earliest on changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law, a senior Republican said Monday, demonstrating how the path for regulatory relief remains in flux as lawmakers grapple with health-care policy, a tax overhaul and other issues. (Subscription may be required.)


TAX REFORM


The Washington Post
Popular deductions for homeownership are targeted in tax plans
With the health-care bill back-burnered on Capitol Hill, the focus has shifted to tax reform. Among the key financial matters in play: Homeowners’ prized deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes.

HOUSING FINANCE


The Wall Street Journal
Green-energy PACE home loans catch Congress's ire
Momentum is building in the U.S. Senate to rein in a popular government-supported loan program used to finance energy-saving home improvements. (Subscription may be required.)

SOFTWOOD LUMBER


Construction Dive
Fate of US–Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement still in limbo
Amid the uncertainty about the renewal of U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement comes word from British Columbia’s softwood trade envoy that there is a chance a new deal could be reached quickly – by summer or fall – but if that doesn’t happen, the talks could stretch into next year, News 1130 reported.

MULTIFAMILY


The Wall Street Journal
Farm-to-condo movement stakes its claim to Brooklyn rooftop
It was only a matter of time before the farm-to-table movement merged with the Brooklyn condominium boom. (Subscription may be required.)


Economic News 

 

CNBC

NAHB CEO: Homebuilding industry has 'high ceiling' for the national economy

National Association of Home Builders CEO Jerry Howard shares his outlook on the housing industry.

 

MarketWatch

Home prices hit a 31-month high in January, Case-Shiller says

U.S. house prices roared to their highest in nearly three years as demand remains hot, especially in the west.

 

Construction Dive

How the Fed's low interest rates helped post-recession housing

Potential borrowers became "more sensitive" to mortgage rate changes after the recession, suggesting that the Federal Reserve's lower interest rates helped spur recovery, according to a new working paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

 

The Wall Street Journal

Sluggish housing recovery took $300 billion toll on U.S. economy, data show

The decline in homeownership rates to near 50-year lows is partly to blame for the U.S. economy's sluggish recovery from the last recession, new data suggest. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Housing Finance 

 

Bloomberg

Fannie-Freddie fix is the focus of senators' bipartisan push

In a bitterly partisan Congress, two senators are making a rare push across party lines to solve a persistent riddle with huge implications for the U.S. housing market: What to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

 

HousingWire

Fannie Mae: Lender optimism higher than ever

Lenders are now more confident than ever in the economy, however, a shift towards purchase mortgages creates challenges for their profit margins, according to Fannie Mae's first quarter 2017 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey.

 

The New York Times

As the Number of Foreclosures Falls, Newer Firms Get Into the Game

The number of home foreclosures is down sharply from the depths of the financial crisis, even as many of the mortgage firms involved remain the same, including Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.

 

Multifamily

 

The Wall Street Journal

Condos conquer Los Angeles

President Donald Trump's second choice for labor secretary, law school dean Alexander Acosta, stands in contrast to his first pick, fast-food executive Andy Puzder. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal

Apartment market slumps as supply surges

Apartment landlords across the U.S. struggled through a tough first quarter as a slowdown in the rental market grew worse. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Bloomberg

America Needs Small Apartment Buildings. Nobody Builds Them

Urbanists often lament that developers no longer erect the small apartment buildings that were once a staple of city neighborhoods. Instead, they construct single family homes or large apartment buildings.

 

Product News 

 

Bio-Microbics, Inc. – Providing Onsite Water/Greywater/Wastewater Solutions

RECOVER® Greywater Treatment & Reuse | Conservation Device for Water Efficiency

 

Residential Water Recovery System captures shower water, applies filtration and disinfection to be used to flush toilet(s). Saves up to 30% of water consumption in the home. Controller automates cleaning the screen, managing storage/purge process, and auto detects toilet leakage - potentially saving extra 13% in usage!

 

Labor Shortages

 

The Wall Street Journal 

America' s Growing Labor Shortage

President Trump approved the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, and good for him, but will there be enough workers to build it? That's a serious question. Many American employers, especially in construction and agriculture, are facing labor shortages that would be exacerbated by restrictionist immigration policies. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Bloomberg

The New Jersey theme park where kids' backhoe dreams come true

Can kids in bulldozers cure the construction worker shortage?

 

Affordable Housing 

 

The New York Times

To address affordable housing shortage, restoring 19th-century homes

The tiny city of Apalachicola, Fla., is well known in preservationist circles for its abundance of restored 19th-century buildings, but when it comes to affordable housing, the Gulf Coast community comes up short.

 

Tax Reform 

 

Marketplace

Will tax reform upend market for low-income housing?

The election of President Trump has added uncertainty to the already speculative market that is low-income housing development.

 

The Weekly Standard

Time to Fix Fannie and Freddie

Comprehensive tax reform, done right, would accomplish many things: It should boost investment, productivity, and employment, and along with these economic growth. That is the intent, anyway.

 

Dodd-Frank 

 

American Banker

Health care repeal failure complicates rollback of Dodd-Frank

House Republicans' failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act — an issue that has animated the party caucus since its passage in 2010 — has thrown into question their ability to enact regulatory relief. (Subscription may be required.)

 

HUD

 

Dallas Morning News

Ben Carson Makes Housing Pitch in Dallas

Okay, he's not exactly Nolan Ryan.

 

CFPB

 

HousingWire

What is the most likely outcome for the CFPB?

As the confusion and uncertainty around the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continues to escalate, HousingWire gathered three expert panelists to weigh in on the discussion, giving their insights on the most likely steps forward for the government and bureau.

 


The housing market has been a bright spot for the economy, but some clouds are looming.

ECONOMIC NEWS


USA Today
Housing reports to gauge effects of rising rates

The housing market has been a bright spot for the economy, but some clouds are looming.

 

CNBC
Housing market could get a bump from Trump

Donald Trump was most famous for being a real estate developer before he became a reality TV star and then wound up Leader of the Free World. So it may not be a huge shock to find out that homebuilders have been on fire since he was inaugurated.

 

Marketwatch
Existing-home sales tumble as tight inventory chokes housing market

Sales of previously owned homes tumbled in February as the housing market remained choked by tight inventory.

 

Construction Dive
Remodeling spending to grow in large US metros in 2017

A new study released by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University predicts growth in home-improvement spending in 43 of the country's 50 largest metro areas this year. Within those markets, spending will be 6.8% higher than in 2016, according to the report.

 

The Wall Street Journal
The outer suburbs are once again outgrowing cities

Last year saw the strongest evidence yet that Americans are returning to traditional patterns in where they move—from cities to suburbs and from North to South—after a recession-driven pause of nearly a decade.

 

CNBC
Mortgage applications fall 2.7%, as borrowers turn to riskier loans

The fast-rising cost of housing today is shrinking demand for home loans but also pushing those who are in the market toward cheaper, adjustable-rate mortgages.

 

The Denver Post

Priced out of Denver? Don't go running to the burbs for sticker-shock relief, report says

If Denver's red-hot real estate market has you seeking sticker-shock relief in the suburbs, you may be in for a nasty surprise.

 

The Wall Street Journal
Detroit's resurgence brings new housing concerns

Concerns about the downsides of gentrification are coming to the country's poorest major city. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal
International immigration gives boost to big U.S. cities, study says

International immigration is giving a boost to population growth in big urban areas in the U.S. even as local residents flee for places with lower housing costs, new research suggests. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal
The era of massive low-skilled immigration may already be over

The flow of foreign workers without a college education into the U.S. is likely to dwindle in the coming decades due to demographic and other forces, new research suggests, even if President Donald Trump doesn't carry out his pledge to build a wall on the southern border.

 

HOUSING FINANCE

 

American Banker
Trump administration developing principles for housing finance reform

The Trump administration is developing a set of principles on how to reform the housing finance system that it hopes to release within a few months, a senior official said Tuesday. (Subscription may be required.)
 

HousingWire

CFPB preps to review major mortgage rules

January 2018 marks five years since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized the qualified mortgage rule, as well as other key mortgage regulations.
 

LABOR SECRETARY

 

The Wall Street Journal
Trump's low-key labor pick keeps businesses guessing

President Donald Trump's second choice for labor secretary, law school dean Alexander Acosta, stands in contrast to his first pick, fast-food executive Andy Puzder. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal
Next labor secretary faces long to-do list

The next labor secretary faces a growing to-do list. The position is among the last unfilled cabinet posts in President Donald Trump's administration. That has put on hold several politically sensitive tasks while career civil servant Ed Hugler has served as acting secretary since January. A confirmation hearing for Mr. Trump's second nominee, Alexander Acosta, is set for Wednesday. (Subscription may be required.)


HOUSING AFFORDABILITY


Los Angeles Times
California housing bills could take away subsidies for homeowners and add them for renters

California lawmakers have introduced more than 130 bills this year that try to tackle the state's housing affordability crisis.

 

FLOOD INSURANCE


National Mortgage News
Trump budget could worsen flood insurance woes

The Trump administration's decision to slash all funding for the flood mapping and loss mitigation efforts in flood-prone communities is getting pushback from supporters of better flood management policies. (Subscription may be required.)

 

 


The number of compact townhouses being constructed rose by 13% last year The American Dream of owning your own home remains. But the home itself appears to have gotten smaller.

ECONOMIC NEWS


Bloomberg
Housing Starts in U.S. Climbed to Four-Month High in February

The number of compact townhouses being constructed rose by 13% last year The American Dream of owning your own home remains. But the home itself appears to have gotten smaller.

 

Marketwatch
Here are the 'sweet spots' in the housing market

In such a tight housing market, it can help to think outside the box — or the neighborhood.

 

The New York Times
Fed Raises Interest Rates for Third Time Since Financial Crisis

The Federal Reserve which raised its benchmark rate on Wednesday for the second time in three months, this time to a range between .75 and one percent is finally moving to the end of its nine year old economic stimulus campaign which began in the depths of the financial crisis.

 

CNBC
Home builder confidence soared to highest level in 12 years as Trump rolls back regulations

The nation's home builders couldn't be happier with President Trump's first move to roll back strict environmental rules.

 

Fortune
2 Ways the Fed Could Crush the Housing Market Recovery

There's no doubt the Federal Reserve's low interest rates have helped the housing market recover from its 2007 bust.

 

The Wall Street Journal
Where Cheap Housing Meets Good Jobs --- Seattle contrasts favorably with the Bay Area in affordability and opportunity

Workers searching for a place to live that offers a good combination of career opportunities and affordable housing are finding the best options aren't always the most obvious. (Subscription may be required.)

 

HOUSING FINANCE


USA Today
'A bad idea': More new mortgages are risky ones

Riskier borrowers are making up a growing share of new mortgages, pushing up delinquencies modestly and raising concerns about an eventual spike in defaults that could slow or derail the housing recovery.

 

The Washington Post
For many millennials, FHA is the place to go for a home mortgage

The Trump administration may not be fond of FHA-insured mortgages — in one of his first official actions, the president canceled a cut in fees for new loan applicants — but millennial home buyers apparently are big fans.

 

The Wall Street Journal 
Goldman Sachs Goes on Buying Binge for Delinquent Mortgages

In a strange reverberation of the housing crisis, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has become a voracious buyer of soured mortgages, trying to make money even as it looks to fulfill terms of a government settlement that calls for it to help struggling homeowners. (Subscription may be required.)


IMMIGRATION REFORM


CBS Moneywatch
Fewer immigrants could mean fewer new homes

For Stephan Sardone, owner of a Dallas-based home remodeling company, "a day without immigrants" last month meant a day without one of his subcontractors on a job in the city's affluent Preston Hollow neighborhood.
 

GSEs

 

The New York Times
Trump's Plan on Fannie and Freddie? Clues May Emerge Soon

Fixing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants that still operate under government supervision, is nowhere near the top of the Trump administration's to-do list. Since the election, administration officials, including Steven T. Mnuchin, the United States Treasury secretary, have said little about their plans for the companies.

 

TAX REFORM


USA Today
Small firms seek level playing field in tax reform

There's been much talk from President Trump about lowering corporate tax rates. But where does that leave the smaller companies that employ nearly half of non-public sector American workers?

 

 


National home prices hit a two-and-a-half year high in December, Case-Shiller says

ECONOMIC NEWS


MarketWatch
National home prices hit a two-and-a-half year high in December, Case-Shiller says

U.S. home prices surged higher in December, just months after hitting a high last seen at the height of the housing bubble a decade ago.

 

MarketWatch
More Americans want to downsize their homes than supersize them

The number of compact townhouses being constructed rose by 13% last year The American Dream of owning your own home remains. But the home itself appears to have gotten smaller.

 

CNBC
Spring housing already overheating—think 60 offers on one house

The spring housing market started early this year, not because of higher-than-average temperatures but because of hotter-than-average demand and overheating home prices.

 

CNBC
Millennial money myths: The truth about homes, cars and ownership

When it comes to trying to get inside the head of millennials, don't buy the buzz about the "don't own" economy.

 

Los Angeles Times
L.A. is building lots of homes but too few for its growing population

Along many Los Angeles thoroughfares, large apartment complexes are replacing parking lots, strip malls and warehouses, as builders provide new homes in a city grappling with a persistent housing shortage.

 

HousingWire
Investor to NAR: We aren't competing with first-time homebuyers

The National Association of Realtors drew a line in the sand between homebuyers and investors, but one investor says he's had enough.


Reuters
Fed's Brainard, citing improved global economy, says rates can rise "soon"

An improving global economy and a solid U.S. recovery mean it will be "appropriate soon" for the Federal Reserve to raise U.S. interest rates Fed Governor Lael Brainard said on Wednesday, adding an important voice to the chorus of officials signaling rates may rise as soon as mid-March.

 

TAX REFORM


The New York Times

Did someone say 'tax code rewrite'? Lobbyists scramble

The homebuilders lobby fears that an ambitious rewrite of the entire tax code will stifle the housing market. Retailers fret that it will make the cost of their imports soar. For charities and their representatives, the worry is that donations will be stunted, plaguing nonprofit groups that serve the neediest Americans.

 

Los Angeles Times
Developers of affordable housing in California are on pins and needles over Trump's tax plan

Over two years, developer Geoffrey Morgan lined up investors, partnered with a medical clinic and found a manufacturer in Idaho to build 135 apartments for formerly homeless residents near downtown San Jose.

 

MarketWatch
Trump tax plan, not even on drawing board, is already roiling rental housing

The housing development known as A.O. Flats, announced in March 2016, was hailed as exactly what Boston needed: affordable rental homes in a mixed-use building, just steps from a transit station. It would mean 78 middle-class families and residents - nurses, teachers, service workers - could afford to rent in Jamaica Plain, one of the city's most sought-after neighborhoods, an area where 2-bedroom apartments are renting for about $2,000 per month, according to Zillow.


WOTUS


CNBC
Trump executive order seeks to roll back controversial Obama water rules

Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order seeking to roll back a controversial water rule opposed by farmer, rancher and homebuilder groups. 

 

The Wall Street Journal
Trump's clean watershed; He orders the EPA to review Obama's illegal waterways regulation

Speaking of deregulation (see nearby), President Trump on Tuesday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider an Obama Administration rule that seized control over tens of millions of acres of private land under the pretext of protecting the nation's waterways. EPA chief Scott Pruitt will now follow due process to rescind one of his predecessor's lawless rule-makings. (Subscription may be required.)
 

HUD

 

Politico
Senate confirms Ben Carson for HUD

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Dr. Ben Carson to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, backing him on a largely party-line vote of 58-41.

 

MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION


Reuters
No change to mortgage interest deduction in Trump tax plan: Mnuchin

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday the Trump administration's tax reform plan will not change the deductibility of mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

 

IMMIGRATION


Bloomberg
Why Trump's immigration crackdown could sink U.S. home prices

In San Francisco, an Indian software engineer on a work permit canceled plans to bid on a $900,000 home. In Washington, a Brazilian nonprofit executive passed on a fixer-upper near her office. And, in Mesa, Arizona, a 24-year-old son of undocumented Mexican immigrants won the trust of a bank -- a green light for a mortgage -- but now fears deportation.

 

APPRAISALS


HousingWire
Experts answer: Will technology replace appraisers?

HousingWire's webinar on Wednesday on the state of the appraisal industry, featuring four industry experts: Brian Coester, CEO at CoesterVMS, Matt Simmons, partner at Maxwell, Hendry & Simmons, Zach Dawson, the director of collateral strategy at Fannie Mae, and Alan Hummel, chief appraiser at First American Mortgage Solutions.

 

 

REGULATION
National Mortgage News
Trump orders govt agencies to create deregulatory task forces

President Trump signed an executive order Friday requiring every agency to establish a task force focused on eliminating unnecessary regulations. (Subscription may be required.)
 

 

 

 


ECONOMIC NEWS

 

MarketWatch

Existing-home sales rise to a 10-year high in January despite higher rates, leaner supply

Sales of previously-owned homes hurtled to the highest in a decade in January, a sign of durable demand in the face of higher mortgage rates and leaner supply.

 

MarketWatch

New-home sales bounce back in January as housing demand bolsters market

Sales of newly-constructed homes rebounded in January as the housing market continues to move forward in fits and starts.

 

HousingWire

Freddie Mac: Market uncertainty disorients mortgage rates

Continuing its new pattern, the 30-year mortgage rate continues to stray from the Treasury yield amid rising market uncertainty.

 

The Washington Post

For millennials ready to buy a home, the pickings are slim

For years, millennials looked at owning a home as a distant fantasy. Student debt and a weak job market seemed to conspire to keep this generation stuck in their parents' basements, if not permanently locked out of the housing market.

 

Investor's Business Daily

Who's driving the housing recovery now? Small investors, study says

A growing number of small-but-nimble investors have captured a huge share of the housing market, says a new report, and they're now propelling the housing recovery by pushing "prices higher and more quickly than if the recovery had been driven more heavily by first-time homebuyers." That's not only making it tougher for those homebuyers to enter the market, says the white paper from Attom Data Solutions and Clear Capital, but it's also crimping investors' rates of return.

 

The New York Times

Some Fed officials support moving faster to raise interest rate

The American economy appears to be avoiding the kind of winter swoon that has become an annual event in recent years, a turn for the better that could encourage the Federal Reserve to start raising its benchmark interest rate sooner.

 

GSEs

 

HousingWire

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says expect GSE reform during Trump administration

U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sat down Thursday for his first television interview since coming into his new position, where he explained what is on the economic agenda of this administration.

 

National Mortgage News

Fannie Mae's focus will not change with new administration, CEO says

The arrival of President Trump has not changed Fannie Mae's plans for 2017, especially its emphasis on automated loan validation and other customer-focused innovations, CEO Timothy Mayopoulos said Friday. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Washington Post

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac shares plunge after court's ruling

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares plunged Tuesday after a federal appeals court denied legal claims by investors who were seeking to stop the U.S. government from seizing the profits of the mortgage giants.

 

MORTGAGE NEWS

 

The Washington Post

The mortgage market is now dominated by non-bank lenders

Most borrowers, whether they are purchasing property or refinancing their home, focus on their mortgage rate and loan terms rather than the type of lender they choose.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

The New York Times

The national death wish

A few weeks ago, Tom Cotton and David Perdue, Republican senators from Arkansas and Georgia, introduced an immigration bill that would cut the number of legal immigrants to this country each year in half, from about a million to about 500,000.

 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

 

The New York Times

How cities should take care of their housing problems

While President Trump talks repeatedly about fixing America's inner cities, it's a good bet that in the coming years, New York and other large metropolitan areas will need to be more self-reliant in solving pressing problems, especially low-income housing.

 

MULTIFAMILY

 

The Wall Street Journal

Banks retreat from apartment market

Swelling supplies of apartment units are prompting big banks to pull back from new projects, forcing developers to scramble for capital, in a sign that the U.S. apartment industry headed for a downturn. (Subscription may be required.)

 

FORECLOSURE NEWS

 

The New York Times

SolarCity's ties to foreclosure cases raise questions on vetting policies

SolarCity, the nation's leading installer of rooftop solar panels and a renewable energy darling, has pitched its value to investors on a simple premise: Once customers sign up to lease a system, they will make payments to the company month after month for at least 20 years.

 

EPA

 

The Washington Post

Pruitt to EPA employees: 'We don't have to choose' between jobs and the environment

In his first full work day as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt made clear Tuesday that he intends to step back from what he sees as the agency's regulatory overreach during the Obama administration.

 

CFPB

 

HousingWire

Hensarling compares CFPB to a tyranny

It's probably safe to say that House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, is no fan of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

 

 


Housing demand may keep market afloat, even if rates rise

ECONOMIC NEWS


MarketWatch

Housing demand may keep market afloat, even if rates rise

How will the housing market handle rising rates? Ever since the November election, when the unexpected Trump victory sent bond yields flying and mortgage rates following closely behind, analysts have been preoccupied with that question. From overly cautious lending standards to extremely tight inventory, the housing market has plenty of challenges, and any additional constraint won't help.

 

Construction Dive
Housing recovery continues while single-family permits lag

The U.S. housing market is operating at 99% of its normal activity level, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index for the fourth quarter of 2016. The mark is 0.01 point ahead of the third quarter and 0.05 above the year-ago mark; it is up by 0.21 points from the cycle low in March 2012.

 

HousingWire
Housing confidence takes a turn, ends 5-month decline

Americans are more confident in the housing market, reversing a five-month trend of declines in optimism, according to Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index.

 

The Wall Street Journal
A mismatch of home buyers and sellers points to pain this year

The divide between the prices of homes Americans want to buy and the inventory of such homes is growing, suggesting first-time home buyers and high-end sellers might have a difficult year ahead of them. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal
For Chinese home buyers, Seattle is the new Vancouver

When Anna Riley, a Seattle-area real-estate agent, held an open house for a new $2.3 million listing in the tony city of Bellevue late last month, the pool of prospective buyers was different from the usual assortment of tech magnates, sports stars and chief executives. (Subscription may be required.)


MarketWatch
What's holding back the housing market — the nearly 7 million homeowners barely treading water on their mortgage

A decade after the housing crisis, the lopsided recovery draws lots of attention to the extremes of the housing market: many homeowners are awash in home equity as the value of their properties surge, while others are still underwater.


CNBC
Houses are the least affordable they've been in seven years: Here's why

Rising mortgage rates, bigger jumps in home prices and still-moderate income growth are adding up to a triple threat for the housing market this spring.

 

The Wall Street Journal
Housing shortage fuels price gains

The number of homes for sale fell to the lowest level in nearly two decades in the fourth quarter, lifting prices and raising concerns that young buyers are being shut out of the market. (Subscription may be required.)

 

CBS Money Watch
The housing market could cool off a bit this year

Now that the outcome of Super Bowl LI has been determined, many Americans will start mulling a different question: What's in store for the U.S. housing market this year?

 

HOUSING FINANCE

 

The New York Times
Decade after crisis, no resolution for Fannie and Freddie

Fannie Mae, the gigantic government-sponsored mortgage service entity, has guaranteed $1 billion of debt backed by Invitation Homes, the single-family rental business owned by the giant private equity firm Blackstone. In making the guarantee, Fannie is taking a big leap into the growing home rental market, in which Blackstone is the biggest player. But it's also a sign that the true comeback kids are not the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots but Fannie Mae and its cousin, Freddie Mac, both of which were supposed to be left for dead a decade ago.

 

HousingWire
Realtors ask Trump to reinstate FHA mortgage insurance premium cut

The National Association of Realtors believes that the Trump administration's recent decision to suspend a reduction in the Federal Housing Administration's annual mortgage premiums will keep as many as 40,000 potential homebuyers from becoming actual homebuyers in 2017, and wants the premium cut reinstated "as soon as possible," the trade organization said last week.

 

HousingWire
House reintroduces bill to end "FICO monopoly" at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Three senators are reigniting the fight to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to consider alternative credit-scoring models beyond the FICO credit score the government-sponsored enterprises currently use.

 

DODD-FRANK


CNBC
Memo from a key congressman outlines plan to gut Dodd-Frank bank rules

House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling is strengthening his attack on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and scaling back regulations on bank living wills and stress tests in new legislation expected to be introduced soon, according to a memo obtained by CNBC.
 

 

 


ECONOMIC NEWS 
 

MarketWatch

Home-price gains accelerated in November, Case-Shiller shows

National home price gains maintained momentum in November, two months after retaking the high last seen at the height of the housing bubble.

 

MarketWatch

Mortgage rates tread water, alongside Treasurys and broader housing market

Rates for home loans were unchanged after notching their first weekly increase in 2017, mortgage provider Freddie Mac said Thursday.

 

The Wall Street Journal

Why the homeownership rate isn't likely to take off anytime soon

The homeownership rate fell again in the fourth quarter, underscoring the challenges President Donald Trump faces in fulfilling his promise to bring back the American dream of homeownership.

 

HousingWire

Why isn't Freddie Mac on board with all these rosy outlooks?

Latest housing numbers prove robust, so what gives?

 

USA Today

Americans making big compromises to buy homes

Limited housing supplies are forcing prospective homeowners to make significant compromises, such as devoting less money to saving for emergencies and retirement, a new survey says.

 

The New York Times

Better deals on homes can chase away winter doldrums

February typically isn't a month that brings out hordes of home shoppers. Colder weather and postholiday belt-tightening often combine to push sales into the doldrums.

 

The Wall Street Journal

Young people lose confidence in their prospects as homeowners

Young Americans are losing confidence in their prospects for buying a home, suggesting that even with prices at all-time highs the dream of homeownership is losing its grip on some. (Subscription may be required.)

 

USA Today

Fed stands pat on rates, no signal on March hike

The Federal Reserve held its key interest rate steady Wednesday, and gave no signal on when it will act again after raising it in December for the first time in a year.

 

The Wall Street Journal

January jobs report

The U.S. economy posted solid job growth as it kicked off the new year, but wage growth was weaker than expected. Here are some key numbers from the January jobs report released Friday by the Labor Department.

 

HOUSING FINANCE

 

Bloomberg

Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac should be utilities, trade group says

A powerful housing trade group is wasting no time in pushing the Trump administration and Republican-led Congress to address one of the last unresolved issues from the financial crisis, outlining a proposal Tuesday to overhaul mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

 

HousingWire

The future of TRID hangs in the balance amid Trump regulatory actions

A freeze on a final rule of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule, also called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule, TRID, could become an unfortunate side effect of Trump's executive order on Monday.

 

Forbes

With a stroke of the pen, Donald Trump will wave goodbye to the Dodd Frank Act

Days ago, President Donald Trump vowed to do a "big number on Dodd Frank," the sweeping banking legislation put in place by the administration of President Barack Obama in response to the 2008 financial crisis. Trump called Dodd Frank "a disaster" that has impeded growth by making it harder for banks to lend to consumers and small businesses. Still in his second week in office, Trump is making good on his statement.

 

The New York Times

Court orders Justice Dept. to release Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac documents

Casting a ray of sunlight on a case that has been shrouded in secrecy, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday that the government must produce a raft of documents to plaintiffs suing over its decision to seize all the profits of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants that were put into conservatorship in September 2008, at the depths of the financial crisis.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

The Wall Street Journal

Trump immigration rules likely to exacerbate home builders' labor shortfall

The U.S. home-building industry, which relies heavily on immigrant labor, could face significant challenges under stricter immigration enforcement rules outlined during President Donald Trump's first week in office. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal

Draft of executive order looks to re-examine visa programs

The White House and lawmakers in Congress appear poised to take on another contentious slice of immigration policy: the visa programs favored by technology and other companies. (Subscription may be required.)

 

PRODUCT NEWS

 

Professional Warranty Service Corp

Builders Beware: The Court of Public Opinion Is Now In Session

With unhappy customers, whether homeowners' claims are accurate or not, the court of public opinion is in session.  Perception is reality and it's your reputation on trial. Can you afford not to react? 

 

MORTGAGE NEWS

 

MarketWatch

Citigroup exiting mortgage servicing business

Citigroup Inc. on Monday said it would exit the mortgage-servicing business, turning its focus to mortgage originations.

 

APPRAISALS

 

National Mortgage News

Why appraisals are taking so long in the Pacific Northwest

Lenders have been pulling their hair out over extreme appraisal delays in the Pacific Northwest and are trying to figure out why it's happening to a greater degree there than elsewhere. (Subscription may be required.)

 


The week's top housing news

ECONOMIC NEWS

 

MarketWatch

Buyers haven't flocked to new homes this much since the bubble

It's fairly common to hear that a particular economic data point is the best since the recession. But you'd have to go back a bit further to compare the last time home builder sentiment was so high. 

 

USA Today
Lower, but steady, economic growth expected in Q4

This week brings the last significant snapshot of the U.S. economy in 2016. It's expected to show continued moderate growth, a solid housing recovery and a nascent rebound for business investment.

 

U.S. News & World Report
First-time homebuyers are ready to test the housing market. Can they find a home?

First-time homebuyers are finally ready to jump into the market. They've met tougher mortgage qualifying standards in recent years, they've saved up for down payments, they've done their homework and know what they can afford.

 

MarketWatch
New home sales tumble to a 10-month low in December as recovery remains rocky

Sales of newly-constructed homes plunged in December as the housing market recovery sputtered.
 
MarketWatch
Existing-home sales stutter as inventory shrinks to 17-year low in December

Sales of previously-owned homes dipped in December, as increasingly tight inventory and higher prices began to stifle the housing market.

 

MarketWatch
Mortgage rates rise for the first time in 2017, Freddie Mac says

Rates for home loans reversed a 3-week losing streak, rising for the first time in 2017, mortgage provider Freddie Mac said Thursday.

 

The New York Times
Peak millennial? Cities can't assume a continued boost from the young

Over the past decade, many American cities have been transformed by young professionals of the millennial generation, with downtowns turning into bustling neighborhoods full of new apartments and pricey coffee bars. But soon, cities may start running out of millennials.

 

HOUSING FINANCE


MarketWatch
The 'housing culture war' reignites over $42 a month

The distracting politics of an insurance premium cut Call it housing's culture war: the tussle between progressives who want homeownership to be available to every American, and conservatives who'd rather government stayed out of the business of helping people who can't make the biggest purchase of their lives entirely on their own.

 

Bloomberg View
Trump is set up for retro housing policy

The Trump administration's first official act was to restore some mortgage fees that had just been eliminated by the Obama administration. The Democratic response to it suggests that nearly a decade after the housing bust, the nation may finally be ready to look at housing policy again with fresh eyes.

 

National Mortgage News
Four takeaways from Mnuchin's Capitol Hill grilling

Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin struck a pro-banking industry tone during testimony on Capitol Hill Thursday while tangling with lawmakers over foreclosures, offshore accounts and other issues. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal
Money-fund overhaul gives federal home loan banks new prominence

The Federal Home Loan Banks are emerging as one of the unexpected beneficiaries of last year's money-market fund overhaul, lending fresh support to a U.S. mortgage market in flux as interest rates creep higher. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal
Blackstone wins Fannie's backing for rental home debt

The question of what to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has bedeviled investors and politicians ever since their crisis-era bailout. Donald Trump's election, and comments by his pick for Treasury secretary, have raised hopes of a solution. (Subscription may be required.)

 

MORTGAGE NEWS


The New York Times
Quicken loans, the new mortgage machine

A low buzz fills the air as an army of mortgage bankers, perched below floating canopies in a kaleidoscope of vivid pinks, blues, purples and greens, works the phones, promising borrowers easy financing and low rates for home loans.


The Wall Street Journal
Redfin dives into lending

An upstart real-estate brokerage is getting into the mortgage business. Seattle-based Redfin Corp., a discount online property broker, is planning to offer mortgages to home buyers who use Redfin agents to purchase a home. (Subscription may be required.)
 

REGULATION

 

HousingWire
[Video] Trump wants to cut all regulation by 75%

Will housing rules be a chunk of the percentage? President Donald Trump announced in a meeting with business leaders on Monday that he plans to cut regulations by 75% or more, according to an article in CNBC by Jacob Pramuk.


HUD
Politico
Banking Committee approves Ben Carson's HUD nomination

The Senate Banking Committee Tuesday approved the nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


HOUSING SHORTAGE


The Wall Street Journal
California housing crunch prompts push to allow building

Marco Gonzalez spent more than a decade suing real-estate developers in California over housing proposals that would have spoiled wetlands and gutted hillsides. The environmental lawyer won cases that stopped scores of units from being built. (Subscription may be required.)


FORECLOSURE NEWS


The New York Times
Foreclosure prevention returns to the unknown

After an eight-year run, a troubled government effort to prevent foreclosures and keep struggling borrowers in their homes came to an end last month.


LITIGATION


The Wall Street Journal
Some housing advocates in California use lawsuits to push agenda

As affordable-housing advocates push back against environmental challenges to what they view as sensible development proposals, some are taking the fight to court. (Subscription may be required.)

 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING


The New York Times
De Blasio and Cuomo spar over cost of affordable housing plan

The push and pull between New York's mayor, Bill de Blasio, and his archrival, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, surfaced again this week over an issue both men consider crucial to their administrations: providing affordable housing for New Yorkers.

 

 


Labor Access Challenges Persist

Home builder confidence remains solid at this early stage of 2017, and it mirrors NAHB's expectations for continued growth of single-family construction throughout the year. For 2016, single-family starts were up 9%, while multifamily construction experienced month-to-month volatility in the second half of the year.

 

However, this growth will also cause the ongoing labor shortage to worsen. In a new NAHB industry survey, builders identified access to labor as the biggest challenge they anticipate for 2017, with lot availability coming in second.

Labor market data confirm high levels of unfilled construction sector jobs, and builders can expect wages to grow in the coming year. While that is a positive for housing demand, it's a concern for builders' bottom line. 

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

 

Industry Insights

 

Builders' No. 1 Problem: Availability of Labor 

Survey shows the dramatically rising levels of builder concern in recent years.

 

Residential Construction Employment Solid in December

Though the overall trend for open jobs continues to increase. 

 

Remodeling Market Remains Positive in 4th Quarter

The majority of remodelers continue to report strong market activity.

 

Builder Confidence Holds Firm in January

NAHB economists predict 10% growth for single-family construction in 2017.

 

Market Trends

 

Existing Sales for 2016 Best in a Decade

Signs point to an improving market for new-home construction.

 

Single-Family Housing Starts Gained Momentum in 2016

Noteworthy rise in permits also indicates more growth in 2017.

 

OSB Prices Climb in 2016

Slight drops in December can't offset significant, one-year price spikes.  

 

Builders Satisfy Demand for Open Floor Plans

Recent surveys emphasize which features buyers want most. 

 

Economic Outlook

 

Who Isn't in the Labor Force

Several key reasons are preventing people from working.   

 

Consumer Price Index Rose in December

Higher energy prices accounted for most of the overall increase.

 

Survey Reveals States with the Highest, Lowest Property Taxes

The top and bottom 10 remain mostly unchanged since 2014. 

 

Consumer Credit Grows but Some Risks Lurk

Student loan debt outstanding has been growing consistently since 2003.

 


ECONOMIC NEWS 

 

MarketWatch

New home sales hit 2nd-highest point of recovery with 592,000 annual pace in November

New-home sales jumped in November to the second-highest pace since early 2008, a fresh sign of robust demand for housing.

 

The Wall Street Journal

U.S. home construction lags behind broad economic rebound

U.S. unemployment is hovering near the lowest level in a decade, jobless claims have reached a 43-year low and home prices have surged to records. But in this eighth year of economic expansion, the number of single-family homes under construction remains at recessionary levels. (Subscription may be required.)

 

MarketWatch

Housing's big question — what will happen when buyers think 4% rates are 'crazy'

'Tis the season for authoritative forecasts about what to expect in the coming year, but given the enormous surprises that have rocked Washington, markets, and beyond in the past 12 months, MarketWatch decided to offer not predictions, but questions, about the housing market in 2017.

 

The Wall Street Journal

Trump win makes it tricky to foresee path of housing market

Before the presidential election, economists anticipated the housing market would continue its steady recovery in 2017. Growth in home prices and sales likely would slow after a four-year run-up, but new construction likely would pick up, bringing relief to those struggling to find affordable homes. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The New York Times

Long-term US mortgage rates hit highest levels since 2014

Long-term US mortgage rates climbed again this week, hitting the highest levels since 2014. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans jumped to an average 4.30 percent from 4.16 percent last week and the highest since April 2014. The average for a 15-year mortgage rose to 3.52 percent from 3.37 percent last week and highest since January 2014.

 

HousingWire

Fannie Mae: Expect modest growth in 2017

Sentiment may have improved to multiyear highs in the past few weeks, but 2017 will bring only modest growth, according to the Fannie Mae economic and strategic research group's December 2016 Economic and Housing Outlook.

 

MarketWatch

Existing-home sales edge up to a 9-year high in November

Sales of previously-owned homes rose modestly in November as lean inventory and higher prices continue to choke the housing market.

 

The Wall Street Journal

Percentage of young Americans living with parents rises to 75-year high

Almost 40% of young Americans were living with their parents, siblings or other relatives in 2015, the largest percentage since 1940, according to an analysis of census data by real estate tracker Trulia. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Business Insider (Reuters)

Trump's infrastructure-spending plans have a worker problem

President-elect Donald Trump's drive to rebuild US roads, bridges, ports, and other public-works projects with a $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan would come as the country faces a shortage of skilled laborers.

 

The Wall Street Journal

White House economists spell out the four most stubborn economic challenges

The White House released Thursday its annual Economic Report of the President, the last such volume produced by the Obama administration. While the nearly 600-page report catalogs what the administration views as its greatest successes, it also neatly frames what White House economists see as the most stubborn challenges facing economic policy.

 

HOUSING FINANCE
 

Bloomberg

How to get the government out of mortgage lending

One of the least discussed challenges of the incoming Trump administration may also be among the most economically consequential: what to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled entities that own or guarantee about half of all U.S. home mortgages.

 

The New York Times

Ben Carson's warped view of housing

Antigovernment ideologues resent the Department of Housing and Urban Development even when they know nothing about it. Ben Carson, Donald Trump's choice to run HUD, is a fine case in point.

 

DODD-FRANK

 

The Wall Street Journal

A checklist for fixing Dodd-Frank

The rumor mill suggests that reform of the Dodd-Frank financial law is imminent in the next Congress. It's about time. Despite what some legislators seem to believe, no bill is perfect and Dodd-Frank isn't the New Testament. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal

Two Republicans look to write the next Dodd-Frank

Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo is a rare deal maker who has negotiated across the Capitol's partisan divide. Texas GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling's record has been defined more by trying to cut government than cutting deals with Democrats. (Subscription may be required.)

 

HUD SECRETARY

 

The Wall Street Journal

Why liberals oppose Ben Carson

Do yourself a favor and hold off on joining the liberal outrage over Donald Trump's cabinet choices -- or at least better understand what's happening. (Subscription may be required.)

 

REGULATORY REFORM

 

The Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump's new appointments shake up trade, regulation

Donald Trump selected two key figures for his economic team on Wednesday, both of whom could jolt Washington's approach to trade and regulation. (Subscription may be required.)

 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

 

Los Angeles Times

Tax breaks for second homes could end under lawmaker's proposal to fund low-income housing

In their quest for more money for low-income housing construction, state lawmakers are now turning to Californians who own more than one home.

 

TRENDS

 

MarketWatch

Tearing down an old house to build a big new one could alienate your neighbors -- and worse

Low inventory levels are making house shopping a challenge for many Americans. One solution gaining in popularity: Tearing down homes in good locations, erecting new and bigger ones in their places.

 

ECONOMIC NEWS

 

 

Bloomberg

Housing starts in U.S. surged to a nine-year high in October

U.S. new-home construction jumped to a nine-year high in October as an outsized advance in the number of apartment projects accompanied a strong pickup for single-family housing.

 

MarketWatch

5 big real-estate trends to watch in 2017

president is likely to presage some dramatic changes in 2017 for the housing industry, which saw healthy increases ion values this year, thanks to factors including low interest rates, lower gas prices, stronger wage growth and millennials getting off the fence and entering the market.

 

HousingWire

Homeowners: Don't worry – low income housing isn't driving down your home value

Some of the greatest resistance to affordable housing comes from homeowners who don't want to see a drop in their home's value, however how founded are those beliefs? Trulia's new report may provide some answers.

 

U.S. News & World Report

Is the seller's housing market finally over?

The U.S. housing market crawled out of the recession and has been climbing ever since. Sale prices continue to grow, and buyers who have been squeezed out of the market wait patiently in the wings for the tight inventory to relax.

 

Forbes

How President Trump could affect the value of your home

In July the U.S. Census Bureau announced that the homeownership rate in this country had hit its lowest level since the government began measuring the stat in 1965. Then candidate Donald Trump jumped on the news with a tweet suggesting the figure proved his most consistent message: the economy is failing you.

 

 

The Wall Street Journal

What economists expect from a Donald Trump economy

Over the coming months, the policy priorities of President-elect Donald J. Trump will become clearer, and as they do, economists may have to revise their expectations for the years ahead.

 

The Wall Street Journal

GDP, inflation and interest rates forecast to rise under Trump presidency

The presidency of Donald Trump is poised to usher in a new era for the U.S. economy that forecasters say could boost economic growth, bring higher interest rates and inflation, and a new set of potential risks including international trade wars. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The New York Times

Teslas in the trailer park: A California city faces its housing squeeze

If there is anything that just about every Californian agrees with, it is that it costs too much to live in the state. Over the last few years, the price of buying a home or renting an apartment has become so burdensome that it pervades almost every issue, from the state's elevated poverty rate to the debate about multimillion-dollar tear-downs to the lines of recreational vehicles parked on Silicon Valley side streets.

 

Los Angeles Times

What will a President Trump mean for SoCal housing and L.A.'s building boom?

With home prices and rents rising in Southern California, developers are busy building houses, condos and apartments -- particularly in downtown Los Angeles, where a residential building boom is underway.

 

HOUSING FINANCE

 

The Wall Street Journal

The mortgage market is changing fast

The remaking of U.S. politics also is likely to upend the nation's mortgage market. There are two reasons why: interest rates and regulation. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal

Trump win juices mortgage rates

Mortgage rates have spiked in the wake of Donald Trump's election victory. Average rates on 30-year fixed conforming mortgages hit 3.87% on Thursday, climbing a quarter of a percentage point since Tuesday's market close, according to MortgageNewsDaily.com, which tracks mortgage rates. That is the biggest increase in a two-day period since June 2013 when the Federal Reserve announced its plan to start easing its stimulus program, according to the site. (Subscription may be required.) 

 

MarketWatch

Quicken Loans and fellow nonbanks dominate the low-down-payment mortgage market

Nearly a decade after the housing crisis, the mortgage market has evolved in unexpected ways, with nontraditional financiers increasingly backing ever more leveraged loans.

 

The Wall Street Journal

Fannie, Freddie shares soar even as fate remains foggy

It is back to the drawing board for any overhaul of housing finance—and the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Shares of the mortgage-finance companies are up sharply since Election Day even though President-elect Donald Trump gave little if any indication during his campaign of what might happen to them in his administration. Over the past three days, shares of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each have risen more than 60%. (Subscription may be required.)

 

American Banker

Hensarling targets GSE reform, Dodd-Frank rollback in ambitious agenda

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling recited a litany of priorities for his panel next year, touching on everything from the very broad, like housing finance reform, to the specific, including targeting a proposal to rein in payday lending. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The New York Times

Fannie and Freddie's status continues to provoke criticisms

The presidential campaign that just ended was notable for a lack of debate about housing — in particular the uneven state of the United States mortgage market nine years since the start of the financial crisis.

 

The Wall Street Journal

FHA capital reserves rise to pre-crisis levels

A federal housing agency on Tuesday said its reserve levels have returned to pre-financial-crisis levels, prompting calls from some in the housing industry for measures to reduce costs for borrowers.

 

PRODUCT NEWS

 

Sherwin-Williams: Loxon XP™ Masonry Coating

Loxon XP™ Masonry Coating - maximum performance in one less coat.

Sherwin-Williams Loxon XP saves time and money. This direct-to-concrete and masonry coating needs no priming and requires one less coat compared to conventional products. Most important, Loxon XP provides outstanding protection against rain, alkali and efflorescence. 

 

LiftMaster

Win over buyers with smarter homes.

Connected garage door openers are the most frequently used smart device in homes today, but ours go beyond the garage and connect with smart security, climate control and lighting products. See how you can entice more people to buy from you.

 

Professional Warranty Service Corporation

Are You Missing a Huge Opportunity With An Entire Demographic of Influential Buyers?

With approximately 32 million Baby Boomers —half of whom may be shopping within the next few years—this shrinking, but still considerable generation, represents a largely untapped market for home builders. Do you have viable home options that appeal to Boomers?

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

 

The Wall Street Journal

With workers scarce, more home builders turn to prefab construction

A persistent shortage of construction workers across the U.S. is prompting some of the nation's largest home builders to experiment with a model they once derided: factory production. (Subscription may be required.)

 

MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION

 

National Mortgage News

Trump has no plans to change the MID: Economic adviser


Housing and the Election 

 

National Mortgage News

How mortgage lobby plans to influence Trump, Republican Congress

Mortgage lobbyists are eager to seize on Republican victories in the House, Senate and White House races, hoping to advance the industry's aims in the next Congress. (Subscription may be required.)

 

National Mortgage News

Lenders see influence expand as favored candidates win key races

Candidates supported by the mortgage industry by and large performed well on Election Day, with the notable exception of Hillary Clinton, leaving the door open for meaningful housing finance reform. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Construction Dive

3 key housing issues at play for the Trump presidency

Housing wasn't a major talking point on the campaign trail during the 2016 election, especially in comparison to 2008, when the mortgage finance crisis captured headlines. And so, the homebuilding industry knows little yet about how President-elect Donald Trump plans to address its pain points, including high housing costs and limited inventory, a high regulatory environment and a shortage of qualified labor — if at all.

 

Remodeling Magazine

NAHB 'remains steadfast' in its mission post-election 2016

As the books close on one of America's most divisive elections, the National Association of Home Builders released a one-page statement and a six-page analysis on what last night's results mean for housing. The statement focused primarily on issues that will be before a GOP-controlled Congress.

 

Business Insider

Housing could become even less affordable under President Trump

Housing is already too expensive for the droves of would-be buyers that are shopping in a market with limited inventory. 

 

National Mortgage News

Will Trump tackle housing finance reform?

Housing was the talk of the campaign two presidential elections ago, but it stayed under the radar in the 2016 race, leaving plenty of room to speculate about President-elect Donald Trump's likely mortgage policy for the next four years. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Bloomberg

Fannie-Freddie investors cheer Trump on hopes of policy changes

Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac surged at the open as investors in the mortgage-finance giants speculated that a Donald Trump presidency might reverse years of policy geared toward wiping out their investments.

 

MarketWatch

What Donald Trump's election could mean for home prices

President-elect Donald Trump started his career in real estate. His father was a real estate tycoon, and he has made a fortune building or licensing his name to luxury condominiums, hotels and casinos. But will that experience enable him to help the middle class, which faces a lack of affordable housing and rising prices?

 

HousingWire

What's next now that Republicans control the Presidency and Congress?

While much of the country's attention is focused on the seemingly unexpected election of Donald Trump, it shouldn't be lost that the Republican Party also maintained its control of the House of Representatives and the Senate in this election.

 

American Banker

How Crapo would lead banking panel after GOP Senate victory

Note: This story was originally published last week, but has been updated following the election results.

Republicans had a big night on Tuesday, capturing not just the White House, but staving off a challenge to their control of the Senate, which will likely deliver the gavel of the banking panel to Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, next year. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Washington Post

What effect the Trump administration will have on the housing market

The housing market was at the forefront of the presidential election eight years ago but barely received any attention in this campaign. Now as Donald Trump prepares to take office, what lies ahead for home buyers and sellers?

 

MarketWatch

The way we finance the housing market could change drastically under Trump

Even as some analysts believe the scars from the housing crisis helped lift Donald Trump to the presidency, the housing finance system was barely mentioned during the campaign. And contradictory messages from Trump himself about his priorities mean housing finance's future remains murky.

 

Economic News

 

The Hill

Housing recovery continues improving

The housing recovery marched forward during the July to September quarter, a new survey showed.

 

MarketWatch

Housing market becoming more pessimistic, Fannie Mae survey finds

A home-buying sentiment index from Fannie Mae weakened for the third straight month in October, a sign the market's momentum may be faltering.

 

HousingWire

Fannie Mae: New jobs report basically guarantees December rate hike

Earlier this week, the Federal Open Market Committee announced that it plans to leave the federal funds rate unchanged, but the way the FOMC framed the announcement led many to believe that a rake hike is coming in December.

 

Housing Finance 

 

HousingWire

Is the mortgage credit box really loosening?

The Federal Reserve sent out a survey to senior loan officers, asking about the status of mortgage credit, if it was loosening and how many consumers are applying for the products.

 

Chicago Tribune

Freddie Mac planning appraisal-free mortgages

Can computers, big data and advanced analytics replace real live humans when it comes to accurately valuing the home you want to buy? One of the two largest financial players in U.S. real estate thinks so and is preparing to introduce changes that could prove momentous — and highly controversial.

 

Legal News 

The Washington Post

To recoup losses from the housing collapse, Miami pursues a novel suit

The housing collapse of 2008 nearly broke the city of Miami. Now, its leaders have embarked on a novel and aggressive legal strategy to recoup losses from the big banks they say created the crisis with discriminatory and predatory lending practices.

 


Construction Dive

Trump vs. Clinton: How the next president will impact the construction industry

With the presidential election less than a week away, American voters are preparing to make their final decision at the ballot box between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump. Regardless of the winner, one major question remains: How will the next president impact the construction industry?

 

DWM Magazine

A first: NAHB endorses congressional candidates

During this hotly contested election season, it's a daily occurrence for organizations to endorse candidates, but it's particularly newsworthy when a major association releases the first-ever list of capitol1officially approved candidates in its 74-year history.

 

Mortgage Professional America

Clinton or Trump: Who's better for housing?

There are a lot of issues at stake in the coming election, but of course there's one that will affect the mortgage industry directly – housing.

 

Builder

Vote Tuesday

How will housing take stock of its challenging, double-standard position on some of its most important workers and future home buyers?

 


Economy 

 

Business Insider

Homebuilders are struggling to end the 'new housing crisis'

You're finally ready to buy a house. Got a decent down payment in the bank, a solid credit history and even a preapproval from a lender. You're golden.

 

HousingWire

Five things we learned from the 2016 home-buying season

With vacations over and the holidays coming fast, home buying is beginning to slow down. So, given all of the predictions for 2016 (including mine), let's review the better part of the 2016 home-buying season and see what we've learned, with an eye toward 2017.

 

The Wall Street Journal

More Americans leave expensive metro areas for affordable ones

Americans are leaving the costliest metro areas for more affordable parts of the country at a faster rate than they are being replaced, according to an analysis of census data, reflecting the impact of housing costs on domestic migration patterns. (Subscription may be required.)

 

HousingWire

Yes, the economy is finally ready for another interest rate hike

The median U.S. home value was up 5.5% year over year in September to $189,400, according to real estate listing website Zillow's September Real Estate Market Report.

 

MarketWatch

Residential building can't keep pace with Seattle's surging job market

Surveying the dozens of towering cranes growing into Seattle's skyline, one might wonder if there's a housing boom that will eventually crash as it did in the last Seattle real estate downturn. It's a reasonable reaction for an untrained observer, but it's also a dangerous one for the region's ability to plan for accommodating smart growth.

 

The New York Times

Last pre-election jobs report shows healthy growth and higher wages

The government, delivering the last major snapshot of the economy before Election Day, reported on Friday that employers added 161,000 workers in October, a performance that suggested a healthy outlook for the months ahead.

 

Housing Finance 

 

POLITICO

In shift, White House offers platform for housing reform

The White House called on Congress to rethink its approach to rebuilding the hobbled mortgage market and offered, for the first time, as set of principles for housing reform. 

 

Bloomberg

Obama is making a last stab push to help loosen mortgage lending

President Barack Obama's administration is renewing the call to help lower income borrowers get home loans while it still can.

 

American Banker

How Crapo would lead banking panel if GOP keeps Senate

If Republicans manage to keep a Senate majority following the elections next week, control of the banking panel will likely go to Sen. Mike Crapo, a right-of-center Idaho lawmaker who has proven willing to reach across the political aisle in the past. (Subscription may be required.)

 

National Mortgage News

How Brown would run the banking panel if Democrats win Senate

If Democrats succeed in winning control of the Senate after next week's election, the gavel of the Senate Banking Committee is likely to fall to Sen. Sherrod Brown, a progressive from Ohio who has called on the biggest banks to hold significantly more capital. (Subscription may be required.) 

 

National Mortgage News

Industry welcomes treasury's call to focus on home affordability

The mortgage industry is welcoming the Obama administration's possibly final word on housing finance reform, hoping it will serve as guidepost for the future. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Mortgage News

 

CNBC

Shadow banks are taking over the mortgage market again

Shadow banks are on the cusp of taking the lead from their commercial counterparts in the mortgage market, new data suggests, a phenomenon that hasn't been seen since the 2008 financial crisis.

 

MarketWatch

Non-banks dominate the low-down payment mortgage market

Nearly a decade after the housing crisis, the mortgage market has evolved in unexpected ways, with nontraditional financiers increasingly backing ever-more leveraged loans.

 

HousingWire

Here's a status update on Freddie's 3% down mortgage program

Freddie Mac is adamant about not sharing details on the success of its Home Possible Advantage Program, with no apparent plans to start revealing it.

 

The Wall Street Journal

Banks no longer make the bulk of U.S. mortgages

Banks no longer reign over the U.S. mortgage market. They accounted for less than half of the mortgage dollars extended to borrowers during the third quarter -- the first quarter that banks, credit unions and other depository institutions have fallen below that threshold in more than 30 years, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. Taking their place are nonbank lenders more willing to make riskier loans banks now shun. (Subscription may be required.) 

 

GSEs

 

The Washington Post

Is it time to start worrying about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac again?

Four years ago, the Treasury changed its agreement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and began taking for itself all the profits made by the two companies, which had been placed in government conservatorship in 2008. As part of the 2012 changes, both companies' capital is being gradually reduced and will reach zero at the end of 2017.

 

The Wall Street Journal

Freddie Mac to send $2.3 billion dividend to Treasury

Mortgage-finance company Freddie Mac on Tuesday said it would send a $2.3 billion dividend payment to the U.S. Treasury, after posting a sharp profit increase in its latest quarter. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Flood Plan 

 

National Mortgage News

HUD flood plan provokes battle between home builders, environmentalists

The Department of Housing and Urban Development's proposed guidance for the construction of new homes located in flood plains is sparking a fight between homebuilders and environmentalists. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Affordable Housing 

 

Bloomberg

There are 5.6 million cheap apartments in America. Not for Long

The Hidden Villa Apartments, a 61-unit complex in Beaverton, Ore., is the kind of property investors love and affordable-housing activists ignore.

 


Economy 
 

HousingWire

Millennial borrowers finally reap benefits of this year's low interest rates

Millennials reaped the most benefits from this year's low interest rate in August, as the average rates on home loans obtained by the generation fell to 3.76% for the month, the latest Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker data found.

 

Business Insider

The most expensive housing market in every state

Coldwell Banker recently released its annual Home Listing Report, which ranks the most expensive places to purchase homes in America.

 

MarketWatch

Mortgage rates rise but hold below 3.50%

Rates for home loans rose as investors sold safe assets like Treasurys in anticipation of a December Federal Reserve rate increase, mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac said Thursday.

 

MarketWatch

Immigrants close the homeownership gap on native-born Americans

Immigration has been a charged topic on the campaign trail, and data out Thursday shows that immigrants are increasingly achieving something that's widely considered a pillar of the American Dream.

 

HousingWire

Here's how student loan debt plays a role in the future of housing

Student loan debt is playing its biggest role in the mortgage process yet, and it doesn't look like it's changing anytime soon. After all, many Millennials have yet to finish college, and the tail end of the generation is barely 18.

 

HousingWire

Millennials see housing price bubble on the horizon

Many Millennials say they want to buy a home, however they are concerned with their ability to save for a down-payment, according to the Housing Confidence Index from ValueInsured, a provider of down payment protection for homebuyers.

 

Bloomberg

Expect long waits for post-hurricane home repairs

There will be plenty of large-scale reconstruction to do in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which has been blamed for dozens of deaths since it made its first U.S. landfall Friday and is still causing catastrophic flooding throughout eastern North Carolina.

 

CNBC

Mortgage applications down 6% as rising rates take a toll

As pumpkins pop up on front porches across the nation, the highest interest rates in a month are scaring consumers away from the mortgage market.

 

Mortgage News

 

The Washington Post

New programs make mortgages available for many who had been frozen out

So you still think it's impossible to get a mortgage because lenders' standards continue to be super-strict and your profile doesn't quite fit the standard underwriting molds? You're right: It can be tough. But it's no longer impossible, thanks to new programs that are becoming available from national and regional lenders for applicants who qualify.

 

HousingWire

CFPB will soon allow new Fannie, Freddie mortgage application

A new loan application, also known as a 1003 (ten-o-three), required by the government sponsored enterprises recently left some lenders scratching their heads as they saw questions pertaining to the race of the applicant, as well as questions about how the information was obtained.

 

MarketWatch

These government-approved high-interest green loans are turning mortgage lending upside down

When Lucia Chavez saw her mortgage bill, she thought there had to be a mistake. For years, the 70-year-old Vista, California homeowner had paid about $990 every month. But in early 2015, after solar panels were installed on her roof, Chavez, a retiree, discovered a total of $1,500, a sum she couldn't afford, had been paid from her bank account.

 

Housing Finance 

 

HousingWire

Is it now time to finally raise conforming loan limits?

The chances the Federal Housing Finance Agency will raise the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2017 is high now after meeting one certain condition.

 

National Mortgage News

Small lenders worry GSE moves will leave them behind

As Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to experiment with up-front risk sharing deals, some small mortgage lenders are worried they will be left out of the action. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Product News

ProLuxe Wood Finishes

Passion for Perfection

For decks, siding, windows and doors ProLuxe provides a distinctively rich and vibrant finish. ProLuxe premium products are designed to provide unrivaled looks, durability and performance on all types of exterior wood.

 

Multifamily 

 

MarketWatch

Growth of NHL hockey nationwide boosts apartment markets

As the 2016 National Hockey League season gets set to drop the puck Wednesday night, one thing that isn't dropping are rental prices nearest hockey-only stadium venues.

 


Economy 

 

The Wall Street Journal

Some big cities see rents fall for first time in years

Apartment rents declined in some of the country's priciest cities during the third quarter, a dramatic reversal that could signal the end of a six-year boom for the U.S. rental market. (Subscription may be required.)

 

CNBC

European bank fears helped boost US mortgage applications 2.9%

Fears in the European banking community last week created something of a tantrum in U.S. bond markets, driving yields down and taking mortgage rates along with them.

 

HousingWire

NAR forecasts heated housing market in 2017

Predictions from the National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac show that home sales are going to heat up in 2017, according to a blog by NAR.

 

CNBC

Home prices heat up: Crisis and opportunity

Rising buyer demand and increasingly short supply are lighting a fire under the U.S. housing market. Home prices in August surged on a monthly basis by the largest margin in 11 years, and the annual price gain of 6.2 percent is a sharp acceleration compared to the past two years, according to CoreLogic.

 

U.S. News & World Report

The 20 best places people are moving to in the U.S.

These places have the highest net migration over a five-year period.

 

MarketWatch

'Housing party' in the U.S. may be coming to an end

The focus has been less on housing but more on inflation data in FOMC circles recently, but on Thursday, we received very weak pending-home-sales data that puts housing front and center again. Housing was humming along, so to speak, with interest and mortgage rates still low, but in August something very interesting happened.

 

The M Report

Are construction spending declines a mirage?

On the surface, it looks like August's data shows it has been a rough six months for single-family construction spending.

 

The Wall Street Journal

A onetime housing skeptic plans $1 billion bet on homes

Donald Mullen Jr., the former Wall Street executive who a decade ago helped oversee Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s lucrative bet against the U.S. housing market, co-founded real-estate investment firm Pretium Partners LLC, which is raising $1 billion to buy single-family homes to rent out to tenants, according to fundraising documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. (Subscription may be required.) 

 

 

Housing and the Election 

 

National Mortgage News

Clinton, Trump should be talking more about housing: Fannie CEO

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump should face more questions about housing policy, or so, says Tim Mayopoulos. (Subscription may be required.)

 

USA Today

Trumping real estate taxes: Our view

The revelation that Donald Trump lost nearly $1 billion in 1995 is reason to question whether it would be a good thing if he ran America like he ran his businesses. It is even better reason to question a tax code that can allow billionaires to pay less than teachers, secretaries and firefighters.

 

USA Today

Real estate's vital to the economy: Opposing view

The Real Estate Roundtable, a non-partisan group focusing on issues affecting our industry, has long maintained that all business investments, including real estate, be taxed on the economics of the investment. Tax incentives should be rare and limited to situations justified by market failures or societal goals.

 

Product News

 

Sherwin-Williams: Color & Paint Upgrades

Let us help you maximize profits with expanded color palettes and paint upgrades.

The experts at Sherwin-Williams have plenty of great ideas to help you differentiate your homes. In this article, learn how to maximize profits and increase homeowner satisfaction with unique color palettes and paint upgrades. More than 150 years of expert advice is just a click away.

 

Housing Finance 

 

National Mortgage News

A simpler path to housing finance reform?

A former top regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wants to abandon the development of the common securitization platform and use the existing Ginnie Mae platform to issue government-guaranteed mortgage-backed securities. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The New York Times

Fannie Mae Is now getting more detailed information on borrowers

Borrowers seeking home loans should know that as of this week, many mortgage lenders will be scrutinizing more detailed credit data.

 


The pace of U.S. home price gains slowed in June from the previous month, but strong appreciation in the West and South kept growth above the two-year average, according to a monthly report.

ECONOMY


CNBC
US home price gains ease in June: S&P/Case-Shiller

The pace of U.S. home price gains slowed in June from the previous month, but strong appreciation in the West and South kept growth above the two-year average, according to a monthly report.

 

Business Insider
Pending home sales rise more than expected

Pending home sales rose 1.3% in July, according to the National Association of Realtors.

 

Construction Dive
3 key takeaways from the latest housing market reports

The housing market has been slowly climbing out of the Great Recession, and it still has a long way to go before reaching what are considered normal production levels. This month, a new trend started to emerge in the residential reports released throughout August. And according to experts, that trend mirrors exactly where the market should be.

 

Reuters
U.S. housing market turnover to improve over coming year: Reuters poll

Turnover in the U.S. residential property market is set to rise over the coming year, according to a strong majority of analysts polled by Reuters who also forecast the pace of house price gains to remain relatively steady this year and next.

 

MarketWatch
As housing reignites, even bust towns are booming again

The poster children of the housing bust are back. Last week, Realtor.com released its August "Hotness Index," ranking metro areas on how many days a listing in that area stays on the market, as well as how many web page views it receives.

 

HousingWire
Fannie Mae: Strong labor market decreases foreclosures

A new study from Fannie Mae shows that the jobs market correlates closely to the number of homes in foreclosures, according to an article by Susanna Kim for The Home Story.


The Wall Street Journal
Suburbs trying to attract millennials diverge on development patterns

In the northern Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas, developers are planning to build as many as 6,000 new condominiums and apartments, 10 hotels and 2 million square feet of office space along a one-mile stretch that includes the new corporate headquarters for the Dallas Cowboys. (Subscription may be required.)


The Washington Post
What more than 1 million Craigslist rental listings tell us about the housing market

Craigslist, with its drab gray interface and homemade classifieds, has become the single largest information exchange about the rental housing market in the United States. Its digital bulletin boards have everything: apartment porn for places you'll never afford, weird fish-eye photos by amateur landlords, queries for every conceivable living space from a spare bunk to a full-sized mansion.


CNBC
We're in a new housing bubble: Why it's less scary this time

A decade ago, the U.S. housing market swelled to a bubble of epic proportions. Too many homes were built, and too many people were willing to pay top dollar for them with the help of faulty mortgage products.


HousingWire
CoreLogic: REO sales hit lowest point since housing market implosion

Distressed sales, which include real estate owned and short sales accounted for just 8.4% of total home sales in the U.S. in May, according to a recent report by CoreLogic.


MarketWatch
No all-day breakfast in real estate as McMansion price premium declines

Like many housing innovations from the early 2000s, McMansions saw their popularity spike and then dive. But according to Trulia, the fortunes of the newly-built massive houses share another similarity with the overall real estate market: their value depends on location, location, location.


The Wall Street Journal
Housing market: Why millennials are getting priced out

Millennials have benefited the least from today's strong housing market. A likely slowdown won't help either. (Subscription may be required.)


The Washington Post
The Federal Reserve is debating how to fight the next recession

The recovery from the Great Recession has been one of the longest expansions in American history. Now, the stewards of the nation's economy are starting to grapple with what happens once it ends.

 

HOUSING FINANCE


The New York Times
U.S. will extend HARP home loan program into next year

Seven years after the federal government first offered an option to help some homeowners refinance into more affordable mortgages, the program is being extended yet again, and plans for a new refinancing program are being completed.

 

HousingWire
Here's "clear evidence" the credit box is way too tight

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 talks that the credit availability pendulum has swung too far the other way since the financial crisis.  

 

National Mortgage News
Regulators' down payment disconnect puts strain on homeownership

Amid the constant regulatory ambiguity that has become commonplace for lenders since 2011, they have also received two distinctly different messages relating to bond loans offered by down payment assistance programs.

 

National Mortgage News
Why Low-Down-Payment Mortgages Could Be a Tough Sell

When Fifth Third Bancorp this summer began offering mortgages with 3% down, it joined a growing list of big banks that have made splashy commitments this year to expanding access to homeownership.
 
LAND USE


The Wall Street Journal
Construction unions stymie low-income housing plans in California, New York

Legislative efforts in two of the country's most populous states to boost urban housing construction are facing a common barrier: resistance from construction unions. (Subscription may be required.)

 

 

 


A compilation of the week's top housing headlines

ECONOMY


The Wall Street Journal (podcast)
Home builders are becoming more confident

Home builders are more optimistic about the housing market. The National Association of Home Builders sentiment index rose 2 points this month. Robert Dietz of the NAHB says homebuilding prospects for the rest of the year are good, as job growth helps spur more demand for housing.


U.S. News & World Report
US home construction climbed to a 6-month high in July

Apartment construction in the Northeast fueled a jump in home building in July as the pace of housing starts nationwide reached the strongest pace in six months.


Bloomberg
Developers feed millennial hunger for ownership with townhouses

While competing developers focus on pricier single-family homes, Jim Clarke is building townhouses for cash-strapped millennials. And the units are going fast.

 

HousingWire
Fannie Mae: Economic rebound on the way for second half of 2016

Despite the disappointing economic growth in the second quarter, the remainder of the year will bring a rebound, Fannie Mae predicted in its August 2016 Economic and Housing Outlook.

 

The Washington Post
Areas hit hardest by the real estate bust are now seeing the highest gains

By the time it broke ground in March, Residences by Armani/Casa, a new condominium underway in Miami's Sunny Isles Beach, already had more than 65 percent of its 308 units under contract.


The Wall Street Journal
Why cities lag behind suburbs in the housing recovery

Despite a boom in urban living and rapid run-ups in home prices in many cities, urban homeowners are struggling more in the recovery than their suburban counterparts, according to new research.

 

MarketWatch
Rent growth matches eight-year high as building boom doesn't keep up

July rental growth matched an eight-year high, as an apartment-making boom still hasn't put a lid on costs.

 

USA Today
Many downtown luxury apartments sit empty

Apartment building owners are struggling to rent many of the luxury units that have flooded downtowns across the country in recent years even as a relative shortage of multifamily homes in the suburbs has driven up rents.

 

The Washington Post

Mortgage rates down slightly, remain stalled near yearly lows

Like the rest of us suffering through August's oppressive heat, mortgage rates have been disinclined to move much.


CNBC
Mortgage applications fell 4% even as rates sit near record lows

Even with mortgage interest rates sitting near record lows, mortgage applications failed to make any gains last week.


MarketWatch
This one chart shows the uneven housing recovery

The number of underwater homeowners — those who owe more for their home than it is worth — continues to fall.

 

PRODUCT NEWS


Professional Warranty Service Corp.
Warranty Benefits – For Builder and Buyer

If you think a structural warranty is an unnecessary or "nice-to-have" expense... You are dangerously wrong as nothing could be further from the truth!

 

MP Global
Controlling Sound Between Floors

When addressing sound abatement for multi-family housing, products that enable buffering noise will make the building owners, building management, and tenants all a lot happier.

 

Sherwin-Williams: Livable Luxe
Create clean, livable "white kitchen" looks that are on-trend, yet enduring. 

Award-winning Williamsburg designer, Kathryn Salyer, shares her strategies for creating "white kitchen" looks with lasting beauty. Salyer depends on Sherwin-Williams coatings for durability, smooth application and zero VOC options. She achieves the look with palettes balancing clean and bright with depth and dimension.


HOUSING FINANCE

 

The New York Times

Sale of federal mortgages to investors puts greater burden on blacks, suit says

For years, the federal government avoided insuring mortgages in black neighborhoods, a practice known as redlining that exacerbated racial divides throughout America's cities.

 

HousingWire
Hispanic Millennials struggle to save for down payment

Hispennials, or Hispanic Millennials, view their finances differently than the majority of Millennials, according to a recent study by Wells Fargo.

 

HOUSING AND THE ELECTION


The Hill
Housing industry hoping for change after Obama

Housing industry advocates have a message for the next president: It's time to move on from the crash.


GSEs


Bloomberg
Everybody has a plan for Fannie and Freddie but nothing gets done

The hole at the corner of 15th and L streets, in downtown Washington, is deep -- and getting deeper. Earth-movers there are laying the foundations of a shiny new headquarters for Fannie Mae, the bailed-out giant of American mortgages.


AFFORDABLE HOUSING


The New York Times
Cuomo moves to revive a dormant housing aid program

The administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has offered developers and union officials a wage subsidy for construction workers in the hopes of reviving a dormant program that has generated thousands of apartments for poor and moderate-income New Yorkers, and saved property owners tens of millions of dollars in property taxes.

 

 

 


In recovering housing market, the starter home remains elusive In recovering housing market, the starter home remains elusive.

ECONOMY


Reuters
In recovering housing market, the starter home remains elusive

Seeking a yard for her two dogs and proximity to her new government job, Alison Owen set out to buy a home this spring in the hot market of Austin, Texas.


Construction Dive
Minority ownership of residential construction firms on the rise

Despite an overall decrease in the number of U.S. residential construction firms between 2007 and 2012, a National Association of Home Builders analysis of U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners data revealed that the number of minority-owned firms in that timeframe rose 9% from approximately 109,000 to 157,000.


Realtor Magazine
One vs. two-story homes: Which dominates?

Most people prefer a single-story home, one study reports. But home shoppers may have a more difficult time finding a one-story home in some regions of the country.

 

The Wall Street Journal
The typical home in San Jose now costs more than $1 million

Rising home prices and growing affordability concerns showed no signs of abating in the second quarter, as San Jose, Calif. became the first city where the price of a typical home eclipses $1 million.
Advertisement

 

The Washington Post
Mortgage rates move slightly higher as refinances fuel uptick in applications

Mortgage rates were barely affected by last week's better-than-expected employment report. Despite indications that America's labor market is surging again, home loan rates remained about where they have been. For those who have been paying more attention to the Olympics, presidential election, beach or back to school, they are hovering at their lowest levels in three years.

 

HousingWire
Fannie Mae: Millennials finally starting to buy homes

As Millennials get older, they are increasing homeownership rates faster than in previous years, according to research from Fannie Mae.  

 

The Wall Street Journal
Home equity loans come back to haunt borrowers, banks

The bill is coming due for many homeowners on a type of loan that was widely popular in the run-up to the housing bust, causing a rise in delinquencies at banks. (Subscription may be required.)

 

HOUSING FINANCE NEWS


The Hill
Corker urges Congress to refocus on housing finance reform

A top Senate Republican said on Tuesday that the possible threat of another massive taxpayer bailout for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac highlights the need for Congress to tackle mortgage finance reform.

 

Bloomberg
Fannie, Freddie could need as much as $126 billion in crisis

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could need as much as $125.8 billion in bailout money from taxpayers in a severe economic downturn, according to stress test results released Monday by their regulator.

 

The Hill
How Congress can expand the American dream

What is a significant – and growing – barrier preventing future generations from achieving the American Dream?

 

The Washington Times
Why mortgage principal forgiveness policy is a bad idea

There's nothing like a "good crisis" to give the federal government an opening to spread its tentacles further into private markets. Just look at the vast growth of federal housing programs since the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

 

HOUSING AFFORDABILITY


The Washington Post
The next big fight over housing could happen, literally, in your back yard

In the new home Julia Coffee designed for herself, handpicking the tiles and the flooring and the red front door, the microwave doesn't work. Neither does the dishwasher, the garbage disposal, the washing machine, nor — including on 100-degree days — the central air.

 

Los Angeles Times
California desperately needs affordable housing — but also a new blueprint for building it

Kate Vershov Downing is a lawyer working for a Silicon Valley technology firm, married to a software engineer. But even with two good jobs in the household, she's been driven out of the Palo Alto housing market, where the home she rents with another couple costs $6,200 in monthly rent and would cost $2.7 million to buy.

 

HOUSING AND THE ELECTION


The Hill
Housing moves into the campaign spotlight

The future of the housing market is finally getting some attention from the presidential campaigns.

 

Miami Herald
Subdued Trump tells home builders he's one of them

Donald Trump gazed out at his business brethren — home builders assembled at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach on Thursday — and reminisced.

 

REGULATORY NEWS


The Washington Post
To help home buyers, ease the regulatory burden on home builders (Letter to the editor by NAHB Chief Economist Rob Dietz)

When it comes to housing, home builders are on the front lines, and we were the first to sound the alarm that tight mortgage lending conditions and shortages of buildable lots and construction workers were impeding the recovery. The July 30 Real Estate article "Too little and for too much" failed to state the primary crisis confronting the housing market: A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders showed that 24 percent of the cost of an average new single-family home is attributable to government regulation.

 

MULTIFAMILY


The Wall Street Journal
Threat of lawsuits crimps condo developments

Gary Godden used to specialize in designing condominiums for first-time buyers near Denver, often completing eight to 10 projects a year before the real-estate crash. (Subscription may be required.)

 

 

 

 


Housing starts in U.S. increased more than forecast in June

Economy

 

Bloomberg
Housing starts in U.S. increased more than forecast in June

New-home construction in the U.S. rose more than forecast in June, providing some momentum for residential real estate near the end of its busy selling season.


Bloomberg
U.S. home prices rose 5.6% in May from year earlier, FHFA says

U.S. home prices rose 5.6 percent in May from a year earlier as buyers competed for a scarcity of listings.


The Wall Street Journal
Dollar rises on housing data

The dollar rose to a four-month high against other major currencies Tuesday after a report showed U.S. home-building rose more than expected in June. (Subscription may be required.)

 

HousingWire
The future of mortgage rates in a post-Brexit world

Near the end of June, Brexit came, then it went and, according to Capital Economics, that's where the story ends. No more effect on the housing market, no more lowering the mortgage rates, according to Capital Economics.

 

The Washington Post
It takes way too long to build new housing in expensive cities

Rising home prices are a signal to builders: As housing gets more expensive, it's time to create more of it. Then as new buildings rise, the competition for scarce housing falls. And that keeps prices and rents from going crazy.

 

The Wall Street Journal
Building permit delays choke U.S. housing supply, study shows

The supply of new housing in the U.S. isn't keeping up with demand in part because of local delays in getting building permits approved, according to new research set to be released next week by real estate tracker Trulia. (Subscription may be required.)

 

MarketWatch
It's cheaper to rent a home than buy in just eight U.S. states

Is it a better deal for you to rent or buy a home? That may depend on the state you live in.

 

The Washington Post
Mortgage rates move higher for second week in a row

Mortgage rates moved higher for the second week in a row as financial markets leveled off after a rocky start to the summer.

 

Product News

 

Professional Warranty SC

Warranty Protection Generates Positive Results

By including a home warranty in the total sales price, builders increase home buyer confidence, minimize callbacks and decrease liability for years to come. Can you afford NOT to incorporate warranties in your offering?

 

MP Global
The Market is Warming Up for Electric Radiant Heat under Hard Surface Floors

While electric radiant under-floor heat systems for supplemental warmth started out years ago as a luxury option in new homes and high end renovations, they are now an increasingly popular perk for many types of new construction and remodeling projects. The concept is popular in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, family rooms, entryways, laundry areas, sunrooms, and other spaces where a bit of extra warmth underfoot would be appreciated.  

 

Sherwin-Williams
Sherwin-Williams offers tips on integrating popular gray hues in your homes

Stay one step ahead of the trends with Sherwin-Williams. In this informative article, our experts offer advice to help you refresh your color palettes by incorporating gray hues in interesting ways. Learn how to create dimension, impact and warmth using today's most popular color.

 

Housing and the Election

 

Bankrate.com
GOP: Shrink Uncle Sam's role in housing

As Republicans gather in Cleveland, we don't know a whole lot about where Donald Trump stands on housing issues.

 

HousingWire
Republican Party calls for significant changes to housing in 2016

Lost amid the uproar over Melania Trump's supposed plagiarism of Michelle Obama on Monday night, the Republican Party actually conducted some official party business during the first night of its convention, when it approved its 2016 party platform.

 

Overtime Rule

 

Woodworking Network
New bill aims to slow down Department of Labor's dramatic hike in overtime pay

With the Department of Labor Overtime Rule scheduled to go in effect December 1, 2016, a new bill was recently introduced in Congress to slow down the ruling announced in May.


HOUSING FINANCE NEWS


National Mortgage News
High refinancings and loan runoffs raise issues for FHA

Federal Housing Administration borrowers have been refinancing faster than expected and the run off is creating a drag on efforts to build up the capital reserves of the agency's mortgage insurance fund. (Subscription may be required.)

 

FLOOD INSURANCE BILL


National Mortgage News
Private flood insurance bill has Fannie, Freddie on edge

A private flood insurance bill passed by the House is making Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac uneasy because they fear it could lead to greater losses, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office. (Subscription may be required.)


MORTGAGE NEWS


The Wall Street Journal
A reverse mortgage to buy a home? Here's how

Reverse mortgages are typically seen as a way for seniors to remain in their homes while drawing income from their property. But a reverse mortgage can also be used to buy a home. (Subscription may be required.)

 

FORECLOSURE NEWS


USA Today
Fraud complaints cloud foreclosure relief

In 2012, after a heart attack left him too ill to work and unable to make his mortgage payments on time, John Green turned to the Litvin Law Firm for help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A compilation of the week's top housing headlines

ECONOMY


Investor's Business Daily
Where are America's most stable housing markets?

Although the future of the U.S. housing market looks a bit shaky after pending home sales dropped in May, just-released figures on the market's overall stability indicate that it's been moving toward increasingly firmer ground.


Forbes
Housing forecast: What to expect in the second half of 2016

Where have all the houses gone? That's the question economists and, more importantly, would-be homebuyers are asking themselves. Demand is healthy and home values are rising. Owning a home remains a better deal than renting one and mortgage rates are near record lows, meaning borrowing money to buy is cheap. Nevertheless, inventory is scarce and falling.


The Wall Street Journal
Foreign interest in U.S. homes cools

Miami condo developers, California real-estate agents and others in the housing industry have hoped recent turmoil in the global economy would boost foreign interest in U.S. homes. New figures suggest the opposite is happening.

 

USA Today
30-year mortgage rates approach all-time lows

Mortgage rates tumbled in the past two weeks, approaching all-time lows as the United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union drove down Treasury yields.

 

The Wall Street Journal
Apartment rents rise 4% in second quarter

Increases in apartment rents slowed this spring, typically the period when landlords drive the hardest bargains, suggesting the once-booming market is beginning to cool. (Subscription may be required.)

 

MarketWatch
Mortgage rates hit fresh lows as Brexit ripples through markets

Home loan rates hit new lows for the year as the United Kingdom's surprise decision to exit the European Union sent investors racing for safe assets, mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday.

 

The Wall Street Journal
Jumbo mortgages play larger role at U.S. banks

The jumbo mortgage business keeps getting bigger for banks. These high-dollar home loans rose to 24% of mortgage approvals at six of the largest U.S. banks in 2015 from 21% the year before, according to an analysis of federal home-loan data. These mortgages to the affluent, typically worth more than $417,000, have become increasingly popular among big banks in the wake of the mortgage crisis.


The Washington Post
Fed held its fire over concern about weak jobs report and Brexit vote

International economic uncertainty and a "surprisingly weak" May employment report helped persuade the Federal Reserve to hold back on plans to raise interest rates, according to notes of the central bank's June meeting released Wednesday.


HRAs


Reno Gazette-Journal
One View: Health care act would benefit small businesses

The U.S. House of Representatives recently took an important step forward to enable small business owners to help their employees with rising health care costs and to ensure more Americans receive affordable health coverage.

 

The News Journal
A big step forward for small business owners

The U.S. House of Representatives recently took an important step forward to enable small business owners to help their employees with rising health care costs and to ensure more Americans receive affordable health coverage.

 

GSEs


HousingWire
FHFA: Fannie, Freddie single securitization coming in 2018?

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Thursday that it is making progress on the implementation of the single securitization platform to be issued by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and, for the first time, provided a look at just when the common security will become a reality.


ZONING


The New York Times
How anti-growth sentiment, reflected in zoning laws, thwarts equality

The small city of Boulder, home to the University of Colorado's flagship campus, has a booming local economy and a pleasantly compact downtown with mountain views. Not surprisingly, a lot of people want to move here.

 

 

 

 

 


Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose at a steady pace in April from a year earlier, a sign demand for residential real estate remains solid enough to support both buyers and sellers, data from New York-based S&P/Case-Shiller showed Tuesday.

ECONOMY

 

Bloomberg
Home-price increases in 20 U.S. cities hold steady in April

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose at a steady pace in April from a year earlier, a sign demand for residential real estate remains solid enough to support both buyers and sellers, data from New York-based S&P/Case-Shiller showed Tuesday.


HousingWire
Freddie Mac: Low interest rates help keep housing on track

Low mortgage rates are helping the housing market stay on track despite the rising home prices, according to Freddie Mac's Outlook for June.


Barron's
The housing market: No bubble, no bust

The housing market is finally advancing at a walk after inching forward at a crawl. But given the way housing overheated in 2006 and 2007, be thankful the walk hasn't turned into a sprint.

 

The Washington Post
Americans are paying more to live in the very places they once abandoned

America's urban downtowns were neglected for decades, abandoned for newer malls in the suburbs and bigger homes on the edge of town. The construction of new highways helped speed their decline. And rising crime nearly killed them.

 

MarketWatch
Pending home sales skid in May

A gauge of pending home sales slid 3.7% in May, a step back following several months of strong sales.

 

The Wall Street Journal
Today's renters really are worse off than their parents

It's not just your imagination. It is a lot harder to afford an apartment today than it was for your parents' generation.

 

Mortgage News Daily
Boomers' big impact on housing market

Baby Boomers, even as they age, continue to have an outsized impact on the housing market.  Freddie Mac recently conducted a large survey of those over age 55 to find out their housing perceptions and preferences.  The first data released from the survey dealt with responses from homeowners while a second analysis concentrated on those renting their homes.


Construction Dive
Redfin: Housing demand slips as buyers struggle to find available properties

The latest Redfin Housing Demand Index fell 5.3% in May to 114, the sixth month of consecutive declines.

 

HOUSING FINANCE

 

MarketWatch
Most mortgages sold by the government remain delinquent, FHFA says

More than three-quarters of the delinquent mortgages Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have sold since 2014 are still delinquent today, according to a new report.

 

The Wall Street Journal
FHA revises troubled-loan program, aiming to keep borrowers in homes

The Obama administration is making changes to a program that sells distressed mortgages to investors that will make it easier for borrowers to stay in their homes but could also cost taxpayers money. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Bloomberg
Fannie-Freddie would be lender-owned insurers in DeMarco's plan

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be put through receivership and turned into lender-owned insurers under a housing-finance overhaul plan co-authored by the companies' former regulator.

 

The Washington Post
Groups say Fannie and Freddie are gouging home buyers with add-on fees

Think of them as backroom surcharges that increase what you pay when you get a conventional home mortgage. They can also kill your loan application and make purchasing a house or condo much more difficult.

 

National Mortgage News
FHFA seeks comments on front-end risk Transfer deals for Fannie, Freddie

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is soliciting industry input on how to improve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's credit risk transfer transactions, for the first time considering front-end transactions rather than back-end deals. (Subscription may be required.)

 

MORTGAGE NEWS

 

The Wall Street Journal
U.S. homeowners could gain from Brexit vote

Britain's decision to leave the European Union could benefit a group thousands of miles away: U.S. homeowners. (Subscription may be required.)

 

The Wall Street Journal
Mortgage rates: How low can they go?

Mortgage rates are falling. And, thanks to Brexit, they may have further to fall. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury has fallen fast and far in the wake of the U.K.'s vote late last week to leave the European Union. On Tuesday, it was around 1.46%. Before the vote it was 1.74%.

 

MarketWatch
Yes, Brexit will help you refi, but upheaval may not be good for housing market

The morning after the United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union is turning out to be tough for markets. But one group stands to benefit: U.S. homeowners and those who want to buy.

HousingWire

 

Housing Wire


Quicken Loans now offering 1% down mortgages

While megabanks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase grabbed the headlines earlier this year by separately announcing plans to offer mortgages that only require a 3% down payment from the borrower, there is another major lender that is quietly requiring even less from borrowers.

 

 


Weekly News Digest from NAHB

Lots & Land


Lot Shortages Climb to All-Time High

Scarcity is especially acute in the Western U.S.


Zero-Lot Developments Can Save Time, Money and Land

Concept highlights the advantages of low-maintenance living. 


Rules & Regulations


Supreme Court Ruling a Victory for Property Owners

Decision should save thousands on wetlands permits disputes.


Understanding OSHA's Confined Spaces Standard

June 16 webinar will provide the information you need to comply.


Corps Proposes Changes to Nationwide Permits

NAHB is analyzing the proposals and will submit comments.


Industry Insight


Key Code Proposals to Watch 

Share this critical Top 40 document with your code officials.


Home Sales Accelerate in April

Homes Sales Accelerate in April

 

New and existing home sales posted gains as the economy improved after a weak first quarter. Revised figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicate the economy grew at a 0.8% rate at the start of the year. Incoming data suggest the economy has been growing at a 2% rate in the second quarter, reversing a recent trend of weakening growth.


Economic Conditions


First Quarter GDP Revised Up, but Trend is Down

Positive contributions included personal consumption expenditures, residential fixed investment, state and local government spending, and negative import growth.

 

Minutes from FOMC's April Meeting – Loud and Clear?

Several incoming economic data releases will be strong indicators of the Federal Open Market Committee's upcoming decision to potentially raise interest rates. 


Lending Standards Ease on AD&C Financing 

However, the pace of easing continues to slow from previous periods.


Mortgage Debt Outstanding Expands

The dollar value of mortgage originations has risen each quarter for two consecutive years.


Sales and Production Assessments


Pending Sales Soar to Highest Level in a Decade

Healthy gains in the South and West, while the Northeast and Midwest stayed much the same. 


Apartment and Condo Market Remains Steady

Latest index marks 17 consecutive quarters in which most builders reported favorable conditions. 


New Home Sales Surge

April's pace rose to its highest level since 2008. 


Existing Sales Continue Upward Trend

Activity among first-time buyers is on the rise. 

 

Built-for-Rent Homes Dominate Multifamily Production

Increased demand for rentals is impacting the average size of for-sale units. 


NAHB Releases New Estimates of Remodeling by ZIP Code 

Detailed records show total spending on improvements, average spending per improvement and the number of owner-occupied homes.


Industry Interests

 

Shortage of Lots is Worse than Ever

Highest percentage of builders on record report a "low" or "very low" supply of lots in their markets. 


Green Features Remain Desirable for Home Buyers

Buyers are generally willing to pay more in up-front costs to save on future utility bills, but within limits. 


Drones Used by More than One-Fifth of Builders

The size of the builder directly correlates with their three-year outlook on using drones at the jobsite.  


Trade Analysis 


Modest Cap on Canadian Lumber Threatens Nearly 9,000 U.S. Jobs

Study shows several alarming impacts of various trade barriers on softwood lumber. 


Serious Consequences of a 15% Tariff on Canadian Lumber 

Estimates indicate thousands of lost jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost wages and tax revenue. 


 


The Weekly News Digest of the National Association of Home Builders

Regulations & Trade 


Enough is Enough!

Virginia firm tells Congress of its nearly three-decade-long wetlands permitting nightmare. 


NAHB, OSHA Settle Litigation on Confined Spaces Rule

A free NAHB webinar on June 16 will explain what builders need to know. 


Supply Caps on Canadian Lumber More Harmful than Tariffs

Bilateral talks focus on parameters of a new deal. 


Economics


New Home Sales Reach Post-Recession High

April pace is the highest rate since January 2008. 


Apartment, Condo Markets Hold Steady in 1st Quarter

Reading marks the 17th straight quarter in positive territory. 


Your Business


Estimating Accurately to Build Client Trust

NAHB's three-part online course can help refine your technique. 


What are the 2016 Trendsetting Colors?

This pink-and-blue combo is "an antidote to modern-day stress." 
 


The latest in industry news and information from NAHB

Rules & Regulations 


Overtime Rule Doubles Salary Threshold

Regulation will take effect Dec. 1.


Court Makes Unusual Move with Clean Power Plan Rule

This rare change may signify the broad impact implementation of the rule could have on the U.S. economy.


Economics


Builder Confidence: The Song Remains the Same

Sentiment has held steady for four straight months.


Single- and Multifamily Starts Up in April

Housing production expected to ramp up moving forward.


On Capitol Hill


Senate Bill Would Expand Production of Affordable Homes

Measure would help preserve or create an additional 400,000 units over a 10-year period.


House HUD Funding Bill Contains NAHB-Supported Provision

Legislative language would delay HUD from implementing executive order on floodplains.


Business Matters


Security Concerns Invade Smart-Home Market

NAHB has created a guide to help builders navigate potential problem areas. 


3 Steps to Better Bids

This three-part course can help you beat the competition


 


Builders Remain Cautiously Confident

Builders Remain Cautiously Confident

 

April's home construction data and May's builder confidence reading tell a similar story with respect to home building at the start of the second quarter. Housing demand is promising, particularly given constrained conditions for existing home inventory. But while home building continues to grow, the industry is currently in a cautious stance given regulatory burdens and supply chain issues.


Construction


Slight Gains for Custom Home Building

The market share will likely experience ups and downs in the quarters ahead. 


Townhouse Construction Growth Continues

Long-term demand looks encouraging for medium-density neighborhoods. 
 

Flat Trends Continue for Single-Family Home Size

Typical homes will decrease in size as more entry-level homes are developed. 


April Starts Consistent with Builder Confidence 

Growth in home construction is a key bright spot in the U.S. economy. 


The Song Remains the Same: Builder Confidence Holds Steady

Single-family market hindered by persistent access issues and rising regulatory burdens.  


Builder Confidence in the 55+ Market Stays Positive

Expected sales for single-family homes reached its highest-ever index reading. 


Remodeling


Remodelers Identify Top Sources for Building Materials

Index shows specialty retailers are a go-to for home finishes. 


'Desire for Better Amenities' Drives Customers to Renovate

Remodelers report a few changes in consumer behavior for 2016. 


Finance


Serious Delinquency Rates Continue to Fall

Steady decline coincides with the easing of lending standards on net. 


Consumer Credit Expands to $3.59 Trillion

The increase reflects an expansion in the outstanding amount of non-revolving credit. 
 

Housing Affordability Posts Second Straight Quarterly Gain

Index identifies the most and least affordable markets in the nation. 


Employment


Number of Unfilled Construction Jobs Keeps Rising

Current job openings are at their highest monthly count since May 2007.


Employment Situation in April: A Bad Month

April's report is an outlier compared to the solid, two-year trend. 

 

Regulation


14 Million Households 'Priced Out' by Government Regulation

Federal guidelines add a whopping $84K to the sales price of a new, single-family home. 

 

Regulations Keep Driving Up Prices on New Homes

Costs have risen nearly 30% over the last five years.  

 

Economy


Nationwide Recovery Continues at a Steady Pace

Index shows positive movement across the board in permits, prices and employment. 


Personal Income Recovering after the Great Recession 

In 2014, young adults earned 11.2% less than their same-age counterparts did in 2000. 


Building Material Prices Increase in April

Widespread gains come on the tail end of trending reductions over the last eight months.  


Consumer Price Index Rose in April – Pumping Up Inflation 

A jump in the price of gasoline was the primary culprit.


 


The Latest in Housing and Construction Industry News

Regulations & Codes


OSHA Announces New Recordkeeping Rules

Agency fails to adequately address NAHB concerns. 


Smoke Alarms, Not Sprinkler Mandates, Says NAHB

Newer homes safer than older ones. 


Formaldehyde Rule Needs Clarity

EPA's ambiguity hurts builders and remodelers.

 

Building Codes Voting Guide Now Available

NAHB has pointers for ICC members to choose cost-effective building code proposals this month.

Supply & Demand


Don't Be Surprised if Lumber Prices Change

Supply-side issues could arise due to recent Canadian wildfires. 


Housing Affordability Posts Second Straight Quarterly Rise

Favorable home prices and mortgage rates fuel gains. 


Industry Insight


Fix Our Housing Finance System

NAHB Chairman Ed Brady sends the right message in response to George Will's op-ed.


BUILD-PAC Events Boost Industry

A goal of $3 million for this election cycle. 
 


A compilation of the week's top housing news

Economy

 

The Wall Street Journal
Home prices this year post steady but not spectacular gains
Home prices grew moderately in cities across the U.S. in the first quarter, as the market heads for steady, but not spectacular growth in 2016.


HousingWire
Report: Home sales hold ground despite TRID
Mortgage rates are close to record lows, and April home mortgage applications were at their highest since 2010, however lack of inventory continues to give sellers the upper hand, according to Capital Economics report, titled US Housing Market Monthly.


MarketWatch
As equity returns, HELOC values rocket
Americans opened more, and more expensive, home equity lines of credit in the first quarter as home values and owner confidence swelled.


CNBC
Mortgage applications up just 0.4%, despite rates near three-year lows
Despite the lowest interest rates in nearly three years, the number of people applying for a mortgage barely moved last week.


The New York Times
Tips for house hunting in a seller’s market
A lack of homes for sale in many parts of the country is making house hunting a challenge this spring, especially for first-time buyers.

 

The Wall Street Journal
Rising rents squeeze middle class
Rising rents in cities across the nation are hurting the poorest residents, but those who are higher on the income ladder might be bearing the brunt of the pain. (Subscription may be required.)


NPR
First-time buyers face housing crunch in big cities
Despite low interest rates, it's a difficult time for people who want to buy a house for the first time. Skylar Olsen of Zillow explains why so few houses are available and why prices are so high.


Forbes
Homeownership rates are falling, and it's not just a millennial problem
More people are renting than buying these days and they’re not just millennials.


The Wall Street Journal
Luxury condo boom is ending in Manhattan; Demand for luxury units slows amid unprecedented supply
The 1,004-foot Manhattan condominium tower known as One57 was the envy of the real-estate market as it was being constructed in recent years, garnering interest from so many wealthy buyers that it sparked a boom by developers betting demand for luxury apartments would keep climbing to the skies. (Subscription may be required.) 

 

GSEs

 

The Washington Post
The cost to taxpayers of shoring up Fannie and Freddie (letter to the editor by Ed Brady)
While George F. Will fretted in his May 5 op-ed, “Treasury’s Fannie and Freddie rip-off,” that a few hedge fund managers are being ripped off because they can’t recoup their long-shot investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the real focus should be on taxpayers.


The Wall Street Journal
Bets on Fannie and Freddie get help from lobbyists
Hedge funds that have bet hundreds of millions of dollars on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's stock aren't just leaving the fate of their investment to Wall Street. They are also working K Street.


The Wall Street Journal
Hedge fund cash flows to GOP lawmakers seeking to loosen government grip on Fannie and Freddie
Private shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have waged an intense lobbying campaign in an effort to drum up support for releasing the companies from government control and in the process restore some value to their shares.


HousingWire
Conservative groups join growing push to recapitalize Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
Over the last year, various groups, including community lenders, affordable housing advocates, civil rights groups, interested observers, and financial analysts, called for a change in governmental policy that would allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to rebuild a capital base.


National Mortgage News
Flood insurance bill could threaten the GSEs
Legislation that would authorize the use of private flood insurance on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages was overwhelmingly approved by the House late last month, but concerns about its potential impact are beginning to crop up. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Regulatory

 

The Wall Street Journal
Home builders say they are squeezed by rising compliance costs
The average cost for home builders to comply with regulations for new home construction has increased by nearly 30% over the last five years, according to new research from the National Association of Home Builders. (Subscription may be required.)


Las Vegas Review-Journal
Editorial: Making homes unaffordable
There are all sorts of burdensome government regulations that make it harder for average Americans to make ends meet — alarmist environmental edicts and inane occupational licensing rules to name just two.

 

Product News

 

MP Global
The Market is Warming Up for Electric Radiant Heat under Hard Surface Floors
While electric radiant under-floor heat systems for supplemental warmth started out years ago as a luxury option in new homes and high end renovations, they are now an increasingly popular perk for many types of new construction and remodeling projects. The concept is popular in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, family rooms, entryways, laundry areas, sunrooms, and other spaces where a bit of extra warmth underfoot would be appreciated. 


Integrity Windows and Doors
The 4-Panel Sliding French Door By Integrity: Our Biggest Door Yet
For homeowners who crave expansive vistas, Integrity has released their biggest door yet, the 4-Panel Sliding French Door. Making no compromises, its size invites maximum daylight into the home, illuminating a rich wood interior, while its exterior is made of durable, and virtually maintenance free, Ultrex pultruded fiberglass.  

 

TRID

 

The Washington Post
Agency seeks input from public on possible fixes for controversial home closing rules
A recent effort by the federal government to make the home closing process smoother and more transparent for buyers has instead turned into a quagmire of inconsistency and confusion, according to title companies and real estate agents.

 

Mortgage News


The Wall Street Journal
Private lenders remodel the mortgage market
Mike Klemens, 81 years old, is a bridge player, real-estate investor and part of a new generation of private lenders helping reshape the American home-mortgage market. From his ranch-style house in the hills above the San Fernando Valley, he services home loans financed from his individual retirement account and profits made in 35 years of buying and selling Southern California real estate. (Subscription may be required.)

 

Softwood Lumber Agreement

 

Sudbury.com
Canadian lumber producers reject rumoured U.S. calls for return to quotas
Canadian forestry company executives are eager for a new softwood lumber agreement but say they are not interest in a rumoured U.S. proposal to reinstate across-the-board quotas.


A Compilation of the week's top headlines

Economy

 

Construction Dive

5 charts that reveal the future of residential construction

The residential construction industry's recovery has moved along a slow and steady path as the housing market struggled to find its footing after the crash eight years ago. Despite the lack of surging growth in homebuilding, economists are optimistic about the industry's future — especially now that the market has been able to move past the boom and bust ramifications.


Construction Dive
CoreLogic: Home prices climb 2% as housing industry drives economic growth

U.S. home prices, including distressed sales, increased 2.1% between February and March and 6.7% between March 2015 and March 2016, CoreLogic reported in its Home Price Index Tuesday.


CNBC
Millennials are moving, but mortgages don't follow

It is the number one barrier to entry for young, would-be home buyers: Credit. Millennials are the first generation to come of age in a post-almost-apocalyptic housing market, where lenders, eight years later, are still paying billions in reparations for mortgage misconduct and outright fraud.

 

 

CNBC
Mortgage applications down 3.4% on another slight rate gain

It was yet another small tick higher for interest rates last week, and it was enough again to hold borrowers back from applying for a mortgage.

 

 

GSEs

 

The Hill
Housing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform

Housing industry and mortgage advocates say Freddie Mac's $354 million first-quarter net loss should sound an alarm on Capitol Hill that there is an urgent need to overhaul the nation's housing finance system.

 

 

MarketWatch
Freddie Mac reports small enough loss to avoid bailout

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac on Tuesday said it lost money in the first quarter, but the red ink wasn't large enough to force it to request a government infusion.

 

The Wall Street Journal
Fannie Mae to Pay $919 Million Dividend to Treasury as Profit Falls

Fannie Mae said it would send a $919 million dividend payment to the U.S. Treasury in June and reported that its net income declined in the latest quarter amid falling interest rates. (Subscription may be required.)

 

 

The Washington Post
Treasury's Fannie and Freddie rip-off

Gigantic government's complexity and opacity provide innumerable opportunities for opportunists to act unconstrained by clear law or effective supervision. Today's example, involving the government's expropriation of hundreds of billions of dollars, features three sets of unsympathetic actors — a grasping federal government, a few hedge funds nimble at exploiting the commingling of government and the private sector, and two anomalous institutions that should never have existed.

 

Forbes
What about Fannie & Freddie?

While the remaining White House hopefuls have discussed the intimate details of many policies and proposals, none have seriously addressed the future of housing finance reform. Given the significant size and scope of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , the two Government-sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), and their hyper leveraged, undiversified business models, presidential candidates owe it to the American people to provide detailed plans for housing finance and the role of government in the system.

 

 

American Banker
As Investment Portfolio Dwindles, Fannie Looks Elsewhere for Growth

Going forward, Fannie Mae will be relying more on loan guarantee fee income from its single-family and multifamily businesses.  (Subscription may be required.)

 

 

MULTIFAMILY


Reuters
U.S. regulator raises multifamily lending caps

The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said on Wednesday it raised the limits on the multifamily financing on the two housing agencies to $35 billion from $31 billion, effective immediately.


PRODUCT NEWS


Ply Gem
PVC Shake and Shingle

The style and grace of shake-and-shingle clad homes is part of the American architectural tradition, but the upkeep required to keep these exteriors looking good is more than most homeowners care to take on.


HOUSING POLICY


The Atlantic
Who can go after banks for the foreclosure crisis?

In the wake of the housing crisis, surprisingly few people or institutions have been held accountable for the risky lending practices that nearly wrecked the U.S. economy.  That's partly because the people who were most damaged by the foreclosure crisis—the people who lost their homes—don't have the resources to bring lawsuits.

 


IMPACT FEES


The Wall Street Journal
How City Hall exacerbates the entry-level housing squeeze

The housing market has recovered, but sluggish entry-level construction is putting a squeeze on families that would like to buy their first home. A new report pins the blame on City Hall.

 


Update on Economic and Construction News

Lackluster GDP Growth at the Start of 2016

 

The initial estimate of GDP growth for the first quarter of 2016 wasn't as strong as most economists expected, coming in at an anemic 0.5% annual rate, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Economic growth has been steadily softening since the second quarter of 2015, when it topped out at a 3.5% pace. The culprits include slowing personal consumption expenditures and falling exports. 

 

Investments


Gen X Homeownership Continues to Rise

All other age groups saw declines, but growth of household formations should spur demand.  


Kitchen and Bath Remodeling More Popular than Ever 

Room additions and whole-house renovations also increased in frequency.   


Multifamily Spending Continues Record-Breaking Pace

Residential construction spending had significant gains from one year ago. 


Sales


The Five HBAs with the Lowest Owner Vacancy Rates

Four of the five associations are in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. 


Home Price Appreciation Slows in February 

A more sustainable pace of growth is expected moving forward. 


Pending Sales Increase

Three of the four U.S. regions saw a rise in the number of signed contracts.  


Share of FHA-Backed Loans Rises Slightly

Conventional loans financed more than two-thirds of new homes sold in the first quarter of 2016. 


Inventory of New Homes Continues to Grow

The additional homes effectively flattened the pace of new single-family home sales.  


Forecasts 


GDP Growth – Double, Double Oil and Trouble

Economic growth has steadily declined since the second quarter of 2015.


Federal Open Market Committee April Meeting

The committee gave no hints about its intentions for the upcoming meeting in June. 


Personal Income Edges Up

Growth is largely driven by rises in compensation and assets revenue. 


Consumer Confidence Slipped in April 

Despite monthly volatility, the trends in the share of consumers planning to buy a home continue their post-recession recovery. 

 


The Weekly News Digest from NAHB

Economics 


Single-Family Sector Leads Housing to Higher Ground 
Economists predict a gradual upward trajectory.  


Pace of Existing Home Sales Reaches 10-Month High 
The busiest home buying season of the year is living up to its reputation.  


New Home Sales Hold Steady in March 
Pace is expected to rise through 2016.Rules & Regulations  

 

Rules & Regulations

 

Revised Overtime Proposal 'Unacceptable'   
NAHB Chairman Ed Brady blasts Department of Labor plan.  


Feds Loosen Building Restrictions Near Threatened Bats 
NAHB works with regulators to help ensure common sense prevails.  


Tennessee Rejects Costly New Stormwater Proposals 
A resounding success for a coalition of state and local HBAs.  


Industry Insight 


Never Make a Fruitless Sales Call Again 
May 11 webinar will help you target winning clients.  


Remodeling Month Kicks Off 
The springtime housing market isn't just for buyers and sellers.  
 

 


Latest News, Updates and Tips on the Construction and Remodeling Industry

News You Can Use

Avoid Online Embarrassment, Safeguard Your Reputation
It’s much easier to keep tabs on what people are saying about you online when you know how and where to look with our tips. Appraoching each issue with calm professionalism can turn even a nasty review into a potential lead generator.


Remodeling Market Index Dips in 1st Quarter
NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index posted a reading of 54 in the first quarter of 2016, dipping four points below the previous quarter but remaining in positive territory. Volatility in the financial markets during the first quarter may have impacted consumers’ readiness to commit to projects.


Rolling Deadline to Recertify for EPA Lead Paint Rule Began March 31
Though NAHB continues to beat the drum on the importance of a reliable, easy-to-use and inexpensive way to test for the presence of lead-based paint in walls and trim as key to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule, thousands of remodelers face a rolling recertification deadline that began March 31. These remodelers are required to get refresher training. As advocated by NAHB Remodelers, remodelers who are certified by the EPA to work on homes that may contain lead paint under the LRRP rule now have the option to complete refresher training online.


What Your Logo Says About Your Company
Consumers base 93% of their purchase decisions on color. Your logo's font and shape also play a role in how it is perceived. Consider some research to make sure your logo is sending the right messages.
Color


The Future of Color in Home Design
Color defines a home’s style, enhances architectural themes, places emphasis on the details and gives a residence an expression of permanence. As the housing market’s most prolific trendsetters and liberal idealists, millennials are setting the stage for the colors and styles will draw buyers in.
Membership Saves You Money


Remodeling Month


Free Resources for National Home Remodeling Month
Happy clients and beautiful homes - that's what it's all about. Join us as we turn up the volume in May to celebrate all things remodeling. We've created public relations, social media and other promotional resources for you to use during National Home Remodeling Month, saving you money on your marketing budget.


Save Time with Qualified Leads: Discounted Registration for May 11 Webinar

Don't waste your limited time and resources on leads that don't pan out. The goal of this webinar is to give attendees the information they need so that they never again go on a sales call with an unqualified prospect. NAHB Remodelers members get an additional $5 off registration.


Profits Matter: Join NAHB Study on Remodelers Finances
Knowing how much the competition is bringing in can help you better gauge your financial performance and further enhance your industry intellect. NAHB is confidentially surveying remodeler members to provide them with real-market benchmarks they can use to compare their business to others, pinpoint improvement opportunities and set budget targets. Survey participants will receive a free copy of the final report, the 2017 Remodelers’ Cost of Doing Business Study.


3-Part Business Accounting and Job Cost Course Live Online in May
Builders and remodelers need to understand accounting principles and job cost procedures and functions in order to properly manage their business. Held online May 10, 17, and 24, this course will provide the terminology and method foundation necessary to comprehend basic business reporting and job cost procedures, measurement and analysis. Members receive $100 off the registration price.


Performance Guidelines Updated For Remodeling, 10% Off
Manage customer expectations, protect your bottom line and deliver high-performance homes with the Residential Construction Performance Guidelines for Professional Builders & Remodelers (5th Edition). Providing a copy to consumers at or prior to a contract signing may help resolve customer concerns before they escalate into complaints, disputes or worse. NAHB Remodelers members receive 10% off the purchase price with code REMC10.


Awards


Barry Helms
Tulsa Remodeler Earns NAHB Remodeler of the Month

Treating your customers with respect and diversifying your projects are two guiding principles for Barry Helms, president of Renovations by Helms Inc., and NAHB’s Remodeler of the Month for April. Sticking to those principles has helped Helms find success in a boom-and-bust oil town.


Remodeler of the Year, CADREs, and Other NAHB Remodelers Awards Open for Applications in Late May
Think you have what it takes to be the next NAHB Remodeler of the Year, Hall of Fame inductee, Homes for Life recipient, or award-winning remodelers council leader? Start prepping your applications now! Applications for all NAHB Remodelers awards will open in late May and close in late July.


PR 40 Under 40
Professional Remodeler Names Members to 40 Under 40

NAHB Remodelers congratulates the following members who were recognized with a 2016 40 Under 40 Award at a ceremony at the Professional Remodeler GenX-Change conference in March.
Eric Adams, founding partner, Adams + Beasley Associates, Age 39
Brandon Bailey, owner, Bailey Remodeling, Age 36
Matthew H. Cole, president & CEO, Cape Associates, Age 37
Nathan Cross, president, NWC Construction, Age 38
Lucas Herrick, owner, Modern Touches, Age 34
Poster contest


A Family Affair: Poster Contest for NAHB Kids
What does home building and remodeling mean to your family? We’re asking the children of remodelers and anyone else involved in this great industry to design a poster that shows what mom or dad’s job means to them. The winning design gets $1,000. Entries due June 24 and should follow these guidelines.


Cautious Optimism Heading Into Spring

Cautious Optimism Heading Into Mid-Spring

 

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes was unchanged in April, remaining at a score of 58 on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. This marks the third consecutive month the index has stayed at this level.

 

Construction and Sales


Builder Confidence Unchanged in April

Healthy levels of job creation and low interest rates expected to support construction growth. 


Housing Starts Fall Back to Trend

Despite a decline in March, the pace was well above that of a year ago.


Existing Sales Rebound 

Still no signs of increased activity among first-time buyers.


Household Trends


Housing Preferences Across Generations (Part III)

Nearly two-thirds of all home buyers want a single-story home. 


Young Adult Migration Slows Down Sharply 

Share of the population that moved within the country continues its downward trend.


Public Finance


Homeownership Still Offers Significant Tax Advantages

Real estate tax and mortgage interest deductions accounted for more than $100 billion in savings.


Notable Variations in Property Tax Rates

Even within the same county, real estate tax rates can vary substantially.   


State of Federal Government Finances

Congressional Budget Office paints a worrisome picture of the Fed's future.


Inflation


Prices for Energy Rise, Decline for Services 

Inflation in prices received by producers declined 0.1% in March. 


Modest Increase in Core Inflation

The Consumer Price Index rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.1% in March.

 


A compilation of the week's top housing news

The Wall Street Journal
Why housing will spring ahead

Spring is coming to the housing market. Probably. It is over a decade since the housing bust began, and the U.S. housing market isn't close to what historically would be considered normal. Last year, a combined 5.1 million new and used homes were sold in the U.S -- not quite as many as in 1998, when the working-age population was one-fifth lower than it is now. (Subscription may be required.)

 

MarketWatch
Why stronger growth may lie ahead after March housing starts swoon

Disregard the dismal housing starts data out Tuesday, many analysts say: a spring rebound is in the cards.

 

MarketWatch
Existing-home sales soar 5.1% in March, as housing demand remains strong

Home resales rebounded strongly in March, signaling sturdy demand in the housing market even as the recovery remains choppy.

 

ABC News (AP)
U.S. mortgage rates remain low as home-buying season starts

Long-term U.S. mortgage rates stayed near 2016 lows this week, potentially good news for the housing market as the spring home-buying season begins.

 

CNBC
Mortgage applications rise 1.3% but buyers pull back

Interest rates held relatively steady last week, near one-year lows, but homebuyers were not enticed.

 

Bloomberg
U.S. home prices rose 0.4% in February from January, FHFA says

U.S. home prices rose 0.4 percent in February from the prior month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, as job growth fueled demand for a scant supply of listings.

 

The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. occupations at greatest risk of a labor shortage

The U.S. is at risk of running out of occupational therapists, railroad engineers, mathematicians, machinists and other workers, potentially leaving the economy in a long-term slump.

 

The Wall Street Journal
Why the great divide is growing between affordable and expensive U.S. cities

Across the country, a divide is emerging between cities that are growing outward and remaining affordable and ones that are hemmed in by geography and onerous zoning codes and are becoming more and more expensive.

 

The New York Times
In cramped and costly Bay Area, cries to build, baby, build

San Francisco does not have enough places to live. Sonja Trauss, a local activist, thinks the city should tackle this problem by building more housing. This may not sound like a controversial idea. But this is San Francisco.

 

ABC News (AP)
Missing ingredient for millennials: Down payment savings

Short of savings and burdened by debt, America's millennials are struggling to afford their first homes in the face of sharply higher prices in many of the most desirable cities.


The Wall Street Journal
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac shareholders argue against government's profit sweep

Lawyers for shareholders of mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac argued in federal appeals court on Friday that the U.S. government has illegally seized much of those institutions' profits during the past three years, effectively bilking them out of hundreds of billions of dollars. (Subscription may be required.) 

 

National Mortgage News
"Promising Road" to GSE reform? We've been here before

The debate over the future of our mortgage finance system is back in fashion. Sparked by a paper from Jim Parrott, Lew Ranieri, Gene Sperling, Mark Zandi and Barry Zigas, as well as a series of ongoing essays organized by the Urban Institute, commentators are again asking what direction we should go. Parrott et al., title theirs "A More Promising Road to GSE Reform." With all due respect to its authors, a few of whom I consider friends, going down this road would largely take us back to the pre-crisis status quo. (Subscription may be required.)

 

National Mortgage News
Shelby asks GAO, CBO to report on GSE policy moves

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is seeking input from the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office on the future of policies dealing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Subscription may be required.)

 

MP Global
Zip Up Under Deck -  A Perfect Way to Extend a Deck Job!

While electric radiant under-floor heat systems for supplemental warmth started out years ago as a luxury option in new homes and high end renovations, they are now an increasingly popular perk for many types of new construction and remodeling projects. The concept is popular in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, family rooms, entryways, laundry areas, sunrooms, and other spaces where a bit of extra warmth underfoot would be appreciated.  

 

Ply Gem
PVC Shake and Shingle

The style and grace of shake-and-shingle clad homes is part of the American architectural tradition, but the upkeep required to keep these exteriors looking good is more than most homeowners care to take on.

 

Professional Warranty Service Corp
Are You Marketing in a Way that Matters?

In 2016, in order to be competitive and reach the target audience of potential home buyers, builders and real estate professionals need to understand "How are home buyers across the U.S. researching new home builders and how does this influence their decision regarding who they want to build their home?"

 

The Washington Post
Looking for a low-down-payment loan? If your FICO score is good, you're in luck.

If you're planning to buy a home with a low down payment, you need to be aware of some important but virtually unpublicized price changes underway in the mortgage market.


HousingWire
Is TRID hysteria over? Time to close drops to 12-month low

Well, it's now been more than six months since the implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule.
 


Skyrocketing housing prices are diminishing middle-class Americans’ standard of living, says report’s author

The growing lack of affordable housing for America’s middle class could harm the economic health of the country, according to the author of a new report.

 

America's Housing Crisis, by the Houston-based Center For Opportunity Urbanism (COU), says that a growing crisis in housing supply is driving middle-class families out of many high-priced areas of the country, notes COU Executive Director Joel Kotkin.

 

Here, BUILDER talks with Kotkin about the ramifications of the high price of housing and what can be done about it.

 

Q: In the study, you talk about a housing shortage. Is that for all buyers or just first-time and low-income?
A: The housing shortage is affecting a wide range of buyers – from first-time to low-income to middle-income ones, especially in expensive metro areas.

In most major metropolitan areas of the nation, housing has been affordable for middle-income households since World War II. The median house price tended to be approximately three times the median household income. But in the past several years housing prices in some metropolitan areas have far outpaced incomes. In San Francisco and San Jose, for example, they're as much as nine to 10 times incomes. In Los Angeles and San Diego, they're more than eight times incomes. And in Portland, Seattle and Denver, they are about five times incomes.

All these cities have seen home prices double to triple their previous levels, and all have strong land use regulation, principally urban growth boundaries, which severely limit or even prohibit building on the urban fringe. The resulting shortage of land drives up prices and has been associated with lost housing affordability.



Q: What does this mean for buyers?
A: This means that younger people, and middle-income households that are not homeowners already have little or no opportunity to purchase housing that they desire. Many are forced to rent rather than buy, and others see no alternative than moving to metropolitan areas where housing is affordable.

Housing is the largest expenditure item in the household budget. Excessively high housing prices, which exist in places like San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle, leave less money available to households for other goods and services. This results in a lower standard of living than would otherwise be the case. Higher house prices help shut lower middle-income households out of homeownership altogether, possibly increasing demand for subsidized housing where there is also a shortage as is evident by the waiting lists in many cities.

 

Q: Is this housing crisis reflective of the country’s income inequality as a whole?
A: Housing, notes scholars in both Europe and the United States, has become the biggest driver of inequality in recent decades. As housing prices go out of reach, it becomes increasingly difficult for middle and working class families to purchase a home, or even find a place with affordable rents. The result has been to drive many working families into poverty; in California, where high prices are largely the result of regulations, upwards of one in four people lives in poverty, the highest rate in the country.

Without home ownership, most Americans lack any decent asset that they can rely upon as they approach retirement. This will create a new class of middle and working class people who will be utterly dependent on income transfers to make ends meet.

 

Q: Is urban living out of reach for middle-income Americans?
A: Today’s housing crisis is about middle-income households who have been driven from the market by high prices. This was not always the case.

From World War II until the 1970s, median house prices were approximately three times (or less) median household incomes in every major metropolitan area. Similar housing affordability remains today in many metropolitan areas, such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Columbus, Indianapolis, Nashville and others. However prices have doubled or tripled relative to incomes, with house prices now are severely unaffordable, at 5 to 10 times incomes, in places like San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Miami and others (each of these metropolitan areas had house prices of approximately three times or less household incomes in the early 1970s and later).

The difference between the affordable and unaffordable metropolitan areas is that the high cost markets have adopted overly restrictive land use regulations, especially those that ban or severely restrict development on the urban fringe (such as urban growth boundaries). When cities severely cut back land supply, land prices are driven up and house prices rise. In an environment of constricted land supply, there is little that can be done to make cities more affordable. Indeed, it can be expected that housing affordability will continue to get worse in the cities listed above and others with overly restrictive land use regulation. New Zealand is considering a proposal to reverse the problem. It would involve an automatic suspension of urban growth boundaries if housing affordability targets are not met.

Reform of restrictive land use policies is a prerequisite for improving housing affordability. At the same time, it will be very important for cities that have not implemented such strong regulations to avoid doing so. There is justifiable concern about the economic decline of the middle class. Much of this decline results from the reduction in discretionary incomes resulting that occur due to severely unaffordable housing.

 

Q: How should public officials “make it easier for U.S. housing developers to produce more starter and other homes to accommodate the demand,” as you say in the report?
A: Very simply, by reducing greenfield land regulation, so that houses can be built on land that represents a more reasonable share of the land and house price. That share has normally been around 20 percent, but has been driven much higher in recent years in markets with urban containment policy and related restrictive land use policy, such as California, Portland, Seattle, Denver and Washington DC. There is no higher domestic priority than a better standard of living and lower poverty rates. Housing is the largest expenditure item in household budgets. By unnecessarily driving up land prices through unreasonable regulation, public policy wrongly favors planning goals over human and social goals.


The Weekly News Digest of the National Association of Home Builders

Your Business


Closing Delays? We Want to Help

Provide details about your experiences and NAHB will seek solutions with regulators.


Safeguard Your Online Reputation

It takes years to build a strong brand but just seconds for it to crumble. 

 

Industry Insight


Home Builders, Others File Suit Over Silica Rule

Numerous concerns raised regarding OSHA's final provisions.


Small Homes that Live Big

Jewel box homes offer high-end, luxury amenities in a compact, more affordable space.


Drones Take Flight in Record Numbers

An innovative way to showcase your property is gaining altitude. 


Green Building


A New Way to Finance Home Energy Upgrades

Fannie Mae unveils HomeStyle Energy mortgage.

 

Zero-Energy Homes Approach the Mainstream

Market demand has grown significantly.

 

Roof Coatings Can Boost Energy Savings

An energy saver that hides in plain sight. 


Check out the latest economic, housing and product news.

Economy

 

MarketWatch

State-by-state look at house prices finds Washington, Colorado on top

When it comes to home prices, the West is still the best. The two states with the biggest yearly price gains in February were Washington and Colorado, data firm CoreLogic said Tuesday. Home prices there rose 12.4% and 10.5%, respectively, over the previous 12 months.

CNBC

Refinance reboot pushes mortgage applications up 2.7%

A sharp drop in mortgage rates was enough to spark a refinance rebound, but it did little to spur homebuyers in a spring market plagued by very tight supply.

USA Today

Millennials fuel apartment-building boom; will it last?

Jason and Rebecca Petersen's lives are in flux, just as they are for many young families. They like life as renters in the urban neighborhood in Denver called LoHi, where apartments are steadily replacing single-family houses, and crowds of millennials flock to trendy shops and restaurants.

Chicago Tribune

More older Americans becoming renters

Baby boomers are altering the American Dream. After having the home in the suburbs, the kids, the two cars, and maybe even the picket fence, a growing number now want to ride elevators to rental apartments and walk out the door to restaurants. When the kids are grown, an increasing number of empty nesters are selling homes and aspiring to live like urban millennials — in rental buildings full of amenities and free of lawn mowing, shoveling, mortgages and property taxes.

The Washington Post

Mortgage rates plummet to lows not seen in more than a year

Mortgage rates followed long-term Treasury yields downward, plummeting to lows not seen in more than a year.

The Hill

Home loan delinquencies continue steady drop

Consumers made their home equity loan payments on time during the final quarter of last year with the help of an expanding economy, another sign of the housing market's improving health, a new survey shows.

The Wall Street Journal

U.S. apartment market shows signs of losing steam

The apartment-rental market cooled in the first quarter, according to reports from three research companies, suggesting a six-year boom that has pushed the cost of housing to unaffordable heights in many U.S. cities might be coming to an end. (Subscription may be required.)

 

 

 

GSEs

The Wall Street Journal

Why Fannie and Freddie cannot be recapitalized

How much capital would Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need if operated as private companies?

PRODUCT NEWS

MP Global

What's Under Your Floors?

Here's a perfect way to streamline installation and boost long-term performance of new laminate floors: pair the planks with acoustic underlayment especially engineered to address the particularities of laminate.

Ply Gem

PVC Shake and Shingle

The style and grace of shake-and-shingle clad homes is part of the American architectural tradition, but the upkeep required to keep these exteriors looking good is more than most homeowners care to take on.

HOUSING POLICY

The New York Times

Federal housing officials warn against blanket bans of ex-offenders

Private landlords who have blanket bans on renting to people with criminal records are in violation of the Fair Housing Act and can be sued and face penalties for discrimination, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development said.

PERSUADER RULE

Construction Dive

ABC lawsuit against DOL claims 'persuader' rule will 'chill employers' First Amendment rights'

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and a coalition of other business groups filed a suit against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to contest the agency's expanded version of its "persuader rule," which obligates employers to reveal if they've consulted with outside sources in developing employee communication about unionization.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

American Banker

FHA adds another 'brick in the wall' to boost supply of affordable housing

With the supply of affordable housing shrinking rapidly, federal housing agencies continue to offer new incentives to encourage the development or redevelopment of multifamily properties aimed at low-income renters. (Subscription may be required.)

 

 


Up to the minute news and information on labor markets, economics and housing trends.

April 7, 2016


Number of Unfilled Construction Jobs Increasing

 

With the national unemployment rate at low levels, the labor force participation rate becomes an ever more important gauge of labor market conditions. If the size of the U.S. workforce does not grow, then the number of open but unfilled jobs will continue to increase and hinder the growth prospects of several industries, particularly residential construction.

 

Labor Markets


Construction Job Openings at Cycle High

The count of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector reached a post-recession high in February.

 

March Employment Situation – Gains in Labor Force Participation

Jobs report shows continuously strong payroll gains and an uptick in the unemployment rate (but in a good way).


Construction Employment Grows Faster in New England, Pacific

Forty-three states and the District of Columbia experienced positive year-over-year changes in February. 


Macroeconomics


Housing's Share of GDP Unchanged in 4th Quarter

The home building and remodeling component of GDP, however, expanded for the fifth consecutive quarter.


Steady Growth for Private Residential Construction Spending

February's annual rate was the highest since November 2007.


GDP Growth in the 4th Quarter Keeps Getting Better

Revised estimates show faster growth of personal consumption expenditures and better exports. 


FOMC March Meeting: Expect an April Freeze

Financial turbulence early in the year motivated committee members to freeze funds rates until at least June. 


Personal Income Growth Holds Firm

February's increase was mostly driven by the rise in interest income, rental income and personal transfers.


Consumer Confidence Rebounds in March

A surge in job growth gave consumers a boost of economic optimism.


Housing Markets


Pending Sales Strong

February's Pending Home Sales Index grew to its highest level in seven months.


NAHB Estimates 55,000 Single-Family Tear-Down Starts in 2015

Tear-down construction has become a significant modus operandi in some parts of the country.


Home Prices Approach Long-Term Trend

Surging sales due to the much-anticipated increase in interest rates put upward pressure on house prices in late 2015.


Property Tax Revenue Grows Nearly 4%

Property owners paid $519 billion in taxes during the four quarters leading up to Q4 2015. 


Housing Headlines, Week of March 21, 2016

USA Today (AP)

West pushes up sales of new homes in February

U.S. homebuyers in the West accounted for all of February's increase in sales of new houses, possibly signaling uncertain growth prospects for the broader real estate market heading into the spring buying season.

USA Today

Blame owners, not builders, for housing crunch

Gridlock in the housing market that's slowing both first-time home purchases and trade-ups to better units is the chief reason for a persistent housing shortage, according to a new study.

The Fiscal Times

The most and least affordable places for first-time homebuyers in 2016

Housing in four U.S. counties is so unaffordable that first-time homebuyers would have to spend more than 100 percent of their income to cover their mortgage payment each month.

 

The Wall Street Journal

More Americans are again moving to suburbs than cities

Economists to real-estate agents have debated whether the housing boom and bust of the last decade has dramatically remade the way Americans live or merely created a temporary disruption.

USA Today

Study: Millennials really want homes, but are waiting ... for now

They're graduating from college, starting new jobs, getting married and having kids. But one life goal that's eluding a lot of Millennials is homeownership, according to a new NerdWallet analysis.

The Wall Street Journal

Rent-to-own homes make a comeback

Wall Street firms have found a new way to profit from consumers with blemished credit who can't qualify for a mortgage: let them rent a home first with the option to buy it later. (Subscription may be required.) 

MarketWatch

Existing home sales plunge 7.1% to a 3-month low in February

Existing-home sales plummeted 7.1% in February, pointing to ongoing rockiness in a housing market struggling to find its footing.

 

The Washington Post

Fannie and Freddie: If you can't kill them, merge them?

A group including some of the chief architects of the Obama administration's housing policy released a paper Wednesday outlining a new proposal for how to deal with mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

MarketWatch

This plan to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac just might pass Congress

By many measures, the housing market is doing just fine. Home prices have largely recovered from the bust, lenders have tightened standards to avoid the risky behavior that caused it, and most Americans view homeownership as – surprise – a process of owning a home, not a get-rich-quick scheme.

The Wall Street Journal

Fannie, Freddie to cut mortgage balances for thousands of homeowners 

Thousands of homeowners will be eligible to have their mortgage balances cut under a plan approved by the federal regulator of mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to people familiar with the matter. (Subscription may be required.) 

 


ECONOMY

 

The Fiscal Times
The surprising problem that’s holding back the housing market
One reason that tight inventory continues to constrain the U.S. housing market is that homebuilders are having trouble finding enough workers to meet their needs.


The Washington Post
Where are the workers?
The Labor Department released some good news Tuesday: The number of job openings is exploding. We now have close to the highest number of vacancies on record.


Forbes
Building boom towns: The metro areas with the most new construction
Last year’s great oil price crash hit Texas hard–and the construction industry felt the effect. Greater Houston, America’s oil capital, weathered a 49% drop in construction starts as new activity in manufacturing plunged 97% from the year before. But 240 miles north, construction was on the rise in Dallas.


MarketWatch
5 most profitable housing markets in America
Counties where 2015 home sellers made a 49% or better return on investment


The Wall Street Journal
Home-price growth sped up last year, Realtors say
Home-price growth accelerated late last year, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors, as a lack of supply continues to drive up prices despite cooling demand.


MarketWatch
Mortgage rates hit 10-month low
Mortgage rates swooned again, touching the lowest since April 2015, mortgage provider Freddie Mac said Thursday.


CNNMoney
There are a lot of empty homes in Flint, Michigan
Nationwide, the average vacancy rate is 1.6%, according a report from RealtyTrac. But in Flint, the rate is nearly five times higher at 7.5%.


CNBC
Under one roof: Multigenerational housing big for builders
Jennifer Michaels didn't expect her Seattle-area house would sell so quickly, especially since she hadn't settled on a new home yet. With nowhere to go, the divorced mom moved herself and her two teenagers in with her mother, Lucy Abbott, thinking it would be temporary. Much to all of their surprise, they didn't hate it
.

 

MORTGAGE NEWS

 


American Banker
Why the 20-year mortgage is the answer to housing finance mess
A recent Associated Press poll found more than six in 10 respondents expressed only slight confidence — or none at all — in the ability of the federal government to make progress on important issues facing the country. (Subscription may be required.)


The Wall Street Journal
Quicken Loans Super Bowl ad: No, this isn’t housing apocalypse 2.0
Quicken Loans’s Super Bowl ad has sparked rumblings over whether we should worry about a new housing bubble.

 

PRODUCT NEWS

 


MP Global
Controlling Sound Between Floors
When addressing sound abatement for multi-family housing, products that enable buffering noise will make the building owners, building management, and tenants all a lot happier.

 

SUSTAINABILITY & GREEN BUILDING

 

Los Angeles Times
How and when to install a rooftop solar system
California regulators have set new rules for compensating rooftop solar owners, so now what? Do you buy a solar system now or later? Is a lease better than purchasing? How about a loan?

 


Bloombgerg TV
Are there hiccups on the horizon for the housing market?
Jerry Howard, National Association of Home Builders' chief executive officer, discusses the state of the housing market with Bloomberg's Vonnie Quinn on "Bloomberg Markets."


DS News
Ask the economist: Existing-home shortage has a ‘domino effect’ on the market


Q&A with NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
National Mortgage News
Consumers' confidence rises on housing market: Fannie
Consumers were feeling moderately confident about the housing market in February, Fannie Mae said.
The Wall Street Journal
Net worth of U.S. households rose to record $86.8 trillion in fourth quarter, Fed says
U.S. households ended 2015 with their home equity at the highest level in a decade, a housing-recovery milestone that could shield Americans pinched by financial-market volatility early this year. (Subscription may be required.)