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Is Getting a Mortgage Getting Easier?

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Is Getting a Mortgage Getting Easier? | Simplifying The Market There has been a lot of discussion about how difficult it is to get a home mortgage in this market. There is no doubt that the process is not as easy as it was eight to ten years ago and that’s probably good news. However, it does appear that availability to mortgage money is increasing with each passing day. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association publishes the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to their site the index is “a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time”. As we can see from the graph below, mortgage availability has been increasing dramatically over the last six months. Mortgage Availability | Keeping Current Matters Accompanying the latest index was this comment from Mike Fratantoni, MBA's Chief Economist:
"A number of factors contributed to a loosening of credit in March: Freddie Mac's introduction of their 97 LTV program (Fannie Mae's was implemented in December) [and the] additional loosening of parameters on jumbo loan programs… Although credit remains tight by historical standards, this increase in availability, coupled with low rates and job market strength, should lead to stronger home purchase activity this spring."

Bottom Line

If you have remained on the sidelines regarding homeownership because you were concerned about your ability to qualify for a mortgage, it may be time to get into the game.
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Housing Market is Healthiest in Years!

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Housing Market is Healthiest in Years! | Simplifying The Market According to Nationwide’s recently unveiled, Health of Housing Market (HoHM) Report, the US housing market is at it’s healthiest levels since the index’s creation in 2001. The index analyzes the health of the housing market across the country and in 373 metro areas every quarter. Using the data that they have collected over the past 15 years, Nationwide will look to give a “data-driven view of the near-term performance of housing markets based upon current health indicators.” The fourth quarter of 2014 ended with the highest indicator score in over 15 years of data analyzed by the study at 109.8. The report explains:
“An index value over 100 suggests that the national housing market is healthy, with lower chances of a housing downturn over the next year as the index moves increasingly above the 100 breakeven value.”
Employment, demographics, the mortgage market, and housing prices are all used to evaluate the health of each market. The top 10 healthiest housing markets according to the index are:
  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
  3. Philadelphia, PA
  4. Rockford, Ill.
  5. Burlington, NC
  6. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA
  7. Fayetteville-Springdale, AK-MO
  8. Idaho Falls, ID
  9. Tulsa, OK
  10. Kennewick-Richland, WA
The two ‘least healthy’ markets were Bismark, ND and Atlantic City, NJ who received “just slightly negative performance rankings”. David Berson, Nationwide’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, says “the quarterly report should serve as a resource to gauge how healthy housing markets are today but, perhaps more important, what to expect in the future and why.”

Bottom Line

The housing market continues to recover and surpass recent history. Meet with an agent in your local market to determine if you are able to take advantage of the opportunities available in real estate today.
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Pending Sales Surge: Great Sign for the Housing Market

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Pending Sales Surge: Great Sign for the Housing Market | Simplifying The Market The most recent Pending Homes Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors revealed that homes going into contract in February increased to their highest level since June 2013. The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing. The Index is now 12.0 percent above February 2014. The index is at its highest level since June 2013, has increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and is above what is considered “the average level of activity” – for the 10th consecutive month. Here is a graph showing the Pending Sales numbers: Pending Sales Here is a chart showing the Pending Sales increases by region: Pending Sales By Region | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

In an article from Investors’ Business Daily, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, explained what these numbers will mean to the overall market:
"It looks like the buyers want to come out to the market and they are eager to find the right home and make an offer. Therefore, I expect the second quarter of this year to be easily ahead of last year in terms of sales activity. Pending contracts are implying that the closing activity in coming months will be quite solid."
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New Study: Homeownership Creates Family Wealth

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New Study: Homeownership Creates Family Wealth | Simplifying The Market Matthew Rognlie, from the Department of Economics at MIT, recently released a paper: Deciphering the Fall and Rise in the Net Capital Share. One of the major findings of the report is that homeownership is and has been for the last fifty years a major component to family wealth. An article on the study in The Economist notes one of the findings of the study:
“The return on non-housing wealth, in fact, has been remarkably stable since 1970. Instead, surging house prices are almost entirely responsible for growing returns on capital.”
This came as no surprise to us as the Federal Reserve previously reported that the net worth of families that own their own home is 36 times greater than that of families that rent.

Bottom Line

HousingWire’s Senior Financial Reporter, Trey Garrison, summed it up well in his reporting on Rognlie’s study:
“Homeownership has consistently created generational wealth more reliably, and more ‘democratically’, than any other asset class. And it does so in a manner entirely ancillary to its primary purpose of giving you a place to lay your head and keep your stuff.”
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