Tag Archives: Federal Housing Finance Agency

Home Price Increase Reported By FHFA

2 Jun

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), home prices increased 1.3 percent over the first three months of the year on a seasonally-adjusted basis for the purchase-only market.

“Although the first quarter saw relatively weak real estate transaction activity—in part due to seasonal factors—home prices continued to push higher in the first quarter,” said Andrew Leventis, principal economist for FHFA, with the release of the agency’s House Price Index.

Leventis cites the “modest inventories of homes available for sale” as a major factor in the first-quarter increase.

While the rose 1.3 percent over the quarter, first-quarter prices were 6.6 percent higher than prices recorded in the first quarter of last year, according to FHFA. This compares to just 0.8 percent growth in the price of other goods and services.

When adjusted for inflation, first-quarter home prices are 5.7 percent higher than they were one year ago.

Home prices rose in 42 states and the District of Columbia over the first quarter of the year.

On an annual basis, only one state posted a price decline over the year in March—Vermont, with a 1.24 percent decline.

Nevada ranked highest for annual price appreciation in March, with a 20.96 percent rise. The District of Columbia (19.78 percent) ranked second, followed by California (15.78 percent), Arizona (14.72 percent), and Florida (10.65 percent).

Among the nine Census divisions, FHFA noted “substantive decelerations” in prices over the past year in the two divisions that posted the greatest price gains over the previous year.

FHFA also tracks “distress-free” home prices in 12 large metros, which excludes sales of bank-owned properties and short sales. In nine of the 12, the distress-free index reported lower price appreciation than the traditional purchase-only indexes.

The agency’s index came out the same day as the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices [3], which showed prices up 12.4 percent in 20 of the nation’s biggest markets—a slight cut from a 12.9 percent increase recorded in February.

Article adapted from DSNews.com    Read the article here:


New Rules For Mortgages Less Restrictive

15 May

Federal Regulators seem to be loosening up mortgage lending standards, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal this week.

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt made comments saying Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should direct their focus toward making more credit available to homeowners—a reversal from previous directives to lessen their footprints in the mortgage market.

Six federal agencies, including the Federal Housing Finance Agency, are expected in the coming weeks to finalize rules for mortgages that are packaged into securities by private investors.

“Those rules largely abandon earlier proposals requiring larger down payments on mortgages in certain types of mortgage-backed securities,” WSJ said.  The rules also represent a shift from previous initiatives that emerged in the wake of the 2008 crisis, which pushed to restrict the the flow of “easy money” that ruled the bubble.

Critics of easing mortgage lending rules now, however, worry that regulators could be paving the way for another boom and bust.

“Do not confuse weakening underwriting standards and underpricing risk with helping people or promoting market efficiency,” said former FHFA Director Ed DeMarco in a speech this week during a banking conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.