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Housing demand may keep market afloat, even if rates rise



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.


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.)

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.

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?




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.


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.


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.



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.