State & National Updates
Vancouver, Washington, a bedroom community across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, has seen its inventory of homes for sale shrink as the housing market picked up after the Great Recession and available homes got snapped up. First-time home buyers and others looking for affordable homes see the area as an alternative to Portland, where rents and home prices have soared in recent years.
It seems nothing can stop housing demand, which just hit a new high, according to Redfin, an online real estate brokerage.
Home prices remained hot in May, bolstering owners' equity but locking many would-be buyers out of the market.
The math doesn't exactly make sense, but perhaps the sentiment does. More borrowers applied for home loans last week, even as interest rates made their largest five-day jump since just after the presidential election. Perhaps some thought it might be their last chance at low rates.
Interest rates are near historic lows and consumer confidence is high, but the market isn't booming. One reason may be mobility: people moving from state to state is half what it was two decades ago.
The Washington Post
Trump's budget plans have already cut financial support for low-cost housing
The pool of private funds available to build or preserve affordable housing in the United States has shrunk by about $1 billion since November, and President Trump's tax plan is to blame — even though it hasn't been adopted yet.
The prospect of Trump's tax overhaul has cut the value of low-income housing tax credits 10 to 15 percent. Funding for units across the U.S. is in question, and less housing will be built as a result.
The Washington Post
A surprising way to increase property values: build affordable housing
Despite the lawsuits, media spotlight and conventional wisdom, affordable housing developments built in poor, heavily black communities can lead to greater racial and income integration, according to new research by Stanford economists.
Just before he departed the House last week to become a Fox News contributor, Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz proposed a housing stipend for members of Congress. "I think a $2,500 housing allowance would be appropriate and a real help to have at least a decent quality of life in Washington," he said. "You shouldn't have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress."
HOUSING FINANCE NEWS
National Mortgage News
'If not now, when?' Fed's Powell on GSE reform
Federal Reserve Gov. Jerome Powell, who heads the agency's supervisory committee, called on lawmakers Thursday to move more quickly in crafting legislation to reform the government-sponsored enterprises, saying that "we're almost at a now-or-never moment here." (Subscription may be required.)
Will housing finance reform hurt small banks?
The battle over the future of housing finance may turn on whether whatever reforms or replaces Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will bypass small banks, delivering more market share and power to the biggest banks. (Subscription may be required.)
Two major changes in the mortgage market go into effect this month, and both could help millions more borrowers qualify for a home loan. The changes will also add more risk to the mortgage market.
U.S. News & World Report
The pros and cons of live-in home flipping
Mindy Jensen and her husband Carl have made up to $100,000 every two years by buying a house, fixing it up while living in it full time and then selling it for a profit. Call it live-in flipping.
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Universal design makes homes accessible and pleasing
In our 40s, we've accepted the aches and pains that remind us we're no longer 25. That said, the last thing we want to think about is how our health might look in our 60s and 70s, much less what living accommodations we might need to handle our changing physical abilities.
Donald Trump campaigned on restoring the "American dream," a 1931 metaphor for economic success that has become political shorthand for homeownership. But as president, Trump faces a unique challenge delivering on that promise: The country is in the grip of a new kind of housing crisis that Washington has virtually no power to solve.
Labor Dept. plans revision of stalled overtime rule
The U.S. Department of Labor has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to confirm that it is permitted to use salary as a factor in determining which workers are eligible for overtime before it begins a new rulemaking process to amend a pending overtime regulation, according to Bloomberg BNA.
I want to warn you from the top, this is a highly speculative post in multiple directions at once. I have a theory as to what is holding back the housing market, and another theory as to why that might be a good thing. There isn't a lot of data to back up either claim, and I wouldn't elevate other above conjecture at this point. But stick with me anyway.