Over Half Of Homeowners In The U.S. Currently Hold Considerable Amount Of Equity In Their Homes

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Over Half Of Homeowners In The U.S. Currently Hold Considerable Amount Of Equity In Their Homes. The National Association of Realtors revealed This Week in Real Estate that in Q4 2023, over 85 percent of U.S. metropolitan markets witnessed a rise in home prices during the fourth quarter of 2023, with 15 percent experiencing double-digit gains. This represents a slight uptick from the previous quarter’s 82 percent. According to the latest data from the Census and ATTOM, a substantial majority of homeowners (67.4 percent) have either fully paid off their mortgages (38.7 percent) or possess a minimum of 50 percent equity (28.7 percent). This indicates that approximately 70 percent of homeowners currently hold a considerable amount of equity in their properties.  Below are a few newsworthy events from the first week of February that influence our business:
MORTGAGE RATE OPTIMISM HITS SURVEY HIGH. The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) increased 3.5 points in January to 70.7, its highest level since March 2022, due primarily to increased consumer confidence in job security and another significant jump in the share of consumers expecting mortgage rates to decrease. In January, 82% of consumers indicated that they are not concerned about losing their job in the next 12 months, up from 75% last month. Additionally, an all-time survey-high 36% of respondents indicated that they expect mortgage rates to go down in the next 12 months, while 28% expect them to go up, and 35% expect rates to remain the same. “For the first time in our National Housing Survey’s history, a greater share of consumers believe mortgage rates will decrease over the next year, rather than increase. Consumers also expressed greater confidence in their job situations this month, another sign that housing sentiment may continue to improve in 2024,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. Duncan continued, “all in all, while a lower mortgage rate path supports our forecast for a gradual increase in housing demand and sales activity in 2024, until we see a meaningful increase in housing supply, we expect affordability will remain a significant barrier to homeownership for many households.” Read the full story here.
MORTGAGE DEMAND TICKS UP ON THE STRENGTH OF PURCHASE APPLICATIONS. Mortgage applications increased by 3.7% during the week ending Feb. 2 on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly mortgage applications survey. “Purchase activity has been strong to start 2024 compared to the final quarter of 2023,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist. Despite swings in Treasury yields, mortgage rates have remained stable since the beginning of the year. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.63% as of Feb. 1, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Read the full story here.
JOB GROWTH CONTINUES TO DRIVE ANNUAL HOME PRICE GAINS. CoreLogic released the CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) and HPI Forecast for December 2023. U.S. annual single-family home price growth continued its gradual upward momentum in December 2023 to 5.5%. As noted in CoreLogic’s most recent Loan Performance Index report, a healthy job market continues to drive mortgage performance and housing demand. In January 2024, the country added 353,000 new jobs, according to current U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. These economic and housing market dynamics are happening while the inventory of homes for sale remains slim. “The 2024 homebuying season should enjoy a boost because of pent-up demand, as well as a robust job market and wage growth,” said Selma Hepp, chief economist for CoreLogic. “But while appreciation is projected to slow, home prices will continue to extend to new highs entering the typically busy spring homebuying season. Also, while the recent dip in mortgage rates help improve some affordability challenges, additional rate declines may not arrive until the second half of 2024.” Read the full story here.

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