Top News Of The Week

- Fannie Mae Survey: Consumer Confidence in Housing At All-Time High
- Even Warren Buffett Had a Mortgage — Here’s Why
- Wells Fargo Aims to Boost Black Homeownership
- One Million U.S. Homeowners Gained Equity in 2016
- Drones Are Changing Real Estate
- Why Some Buyers Are Keeping Themselves on the Sideline
- Millennials Flocking to FHA
- Rising Rents Should Push More To Buy
- Outside the Box Does Not Equal ‘Risky’ Loans
- Gen X Recovering, New NAR Study Finds
- Why Owner-Occupied Homes Become Rentals
- Lowe’s Goes Virtual In DIY Tutoring
- Freddie Mac: Many Seniors May Be Unable to ‘Age in Place’
- The Decline of the McMansion

Fannie Mae Survey: Consumer Confidence in Housing At All-Time High
Led by Millennials, consumer confidence in housing has never been higher, as measured by the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index.

It rose 5.6% points in February, to 88.3, the highest it’s been since the Index was started in 2011.

Fannie Mae senior vice president and chief economist Doug Duncan says, “Millennials showed especially strong increases in job confidence and income gains, a necessary precursor for increased housing demand from first-time homebuyers.”

The index shows the net share of Americans who say now’s a good time to buy a home was up 11%.

The net share who say it’s a good time to SELL also rose, by 7%.

Even Warren Buffett Had a Mortgage — Here’s Why
The Oracle of Wall Street is a big fan of the 30-year mortgage.

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett recently listed his vacation home in Laguna Beach, California for sale. He bought it in 1971., but instead of paying cash, he got a mortgage, and invested his cash in shares of Berkshire.

Buffett tells CNBC that for the average homeowner, the 30-year mortgage is a really sweet deal:

Incidentally, Buffett says the $110,000 or so that he invested in Berkshire, instead of his vacation home, is now worth about 750-million dollars.

Wells Fargo Aims to Boost Black Homeownership
A recent study by The Urban Institute found that black homeownership in America has dropped to its lowest level since the 1960s.

Wells Fargo & Company now says that in direct response to that low rate of ownership, it is launching a new initiative aimed at helping at least a quarter of a million African-Americans become homeowners over the next ten years.

Wells Fargo’s plan involves devoting $60 billion to qualified African-American consumers for home purchases by 2027.

Wells Fargo executive vice president Brad Blackwell says the bank is, quote, “proud to be the first mortgage lender to make a public commitment to help increase African-American homeownership.”

One Million U.S. Homeowners Gained Equity in 2016
A new analysis by CoreLogic finds that one million American homeowners with mortgages gained equity in 2016.

In fact they gained a total of $783 billion, an increase of 11-point-7 percent.

CoreLogic’s Homeowner Equity Report also reveals that just over a million borrowers moved out of negative equity in 2016. That means that currently, nearly 94% of all homeowners with a mortgage now have positive equity.

“Negative equity” peaked at 26% of mortgaged properties in 2009.

Drones Are Changing Real Estate
The spring homebuying season always produces a buzz.

And increasingly, as CBS News reports, that “buzz” is coming from drones that real estate professionals are using, to produce enhanced photos and videos of listings.

The FAA last year eased the regulations on drone use, and drones are now approved for commercial use.

CBS reports that while there are many “pluses” to drone use — including low-cost aerial photography, better views of larger homes, and the ability to give virtual tours — there are also some serious “minuses,” including increasing concerns over privacy and liability..

Why Some Buyers Are Keeping Themselves on the Sideline
St. Louis is a market full of buyers-in-waiting, says one expert. But some may not realize they can qualify for a loan.

Dean Pilcher, Vice president of First Bank Mortgage, told FOX 2 News in St. Louis that some buyers may still , mistakenly, think they can’t get a mortgage…

Pilcher says home prices in St. Louis are up, inventory is down, but mortgage rates are still at very attractive historically low levels,

Millennials Flocking to FHA
Millennials are flexing their homebuying muscle — with FHA’s help.

According to the Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker, Millennials accounted for 84 percent of closed loans in January.

And they are taking advantage of FHA loans, with their low down payment options, to achieve homeownership. More than one third of Millennial homebuyers in January used an FHA loan.

Ellie Mae executive vice president Joe Tyrrell says, “As more millennials enter the market, we expect to see the popularity of FHA loans continue to increase.”

Rising Rents Should Push More To Buy
Rents continue to rise across the country, and a new study says that means if you can afford to buy a home, now’s the time.

The latest Florida Atlantic University national index finds that the gap between the cost of renting and the cost of owning continues to narrow.

Outside the Box Does Not Equal ‘Risky’ Loans
The head of one of the nation’s leading non-bank mortgage lenders says his company is thriving, and lending lots of money to borrowers whose loans Fannie and Freddie won’t buy.

But Sanjiv Das, CEO of Caliber Home Loans, rejects the notion that those are “risky” loans, as he told CNBC…

Das says those loans have been “a great market” for Caliber — and his company has had no trouble securitizing those mortgages.

Gen X Recovering, New NAR Study Finds
An improving national economy, strong job growth, and a surge in home values have combined in Generation X’s favor over the past year, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors.

The NAR’s 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study finds Gen-X with a greater share of home purchases, compared with recent years.

Gen Xers generally got hit harder by the housing crisis than other demographic groups. They’re the most likely generation to have sold a distressed property, and the generation most likely to be “underwater” with their mortgage.

Why Owner-Occupied Homes Become Rentals
Why do homeowners decide to turn their homes into rental properties?

A new study finds that one of the main factors in a homeowner’s decision-making is their equity position.

The study by the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America finds that the more “negative equity” a homeowner is facing, the more likely it is that he or she will take their property to rental status.

Stuart Rosenthal, a Syracuse University professor who authored the study, says the transition to rental often occurs because of what he calls “reduced incentives to maintain the home and related decay.”

Lowe’s Goes Virtual In DIY Tutoring
Home improvement giant Lowe’s wants to use virtual reality to help you learn how to do projects.

CNN reports that Lowe’s is launching a virtual reality experience in one of its Massachusetts stores, and may soon roll it out to more outlets.

The idea is to give customers “hands-on” practice .. virtually. The first of the VR lessons is in how to tile a bathroom. Mix that mortar, place those tiles, and never get your hands dirty.

Later, Lowe’s says a broad range of home project tutorials could be offered in all of its stores.

Freddie Mac: Many Seniors May Be Unable to ‘Age in Place’
Older Americans overwhelmingly say they want to “age in place.”

But a new analysis by Freddie Mac concludes that for many homeowners, that goal may not be financially attainable.

Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti says retrofitting a home to accomodate changing physical needs of its occupants is going to be a big challenge in years toy come….

Freddie Mac’s analysis estimates that about 1.5 million existing homes will require retrofitting. But by 2030, that number will jump to 2 million homes.

The Decline of the McMansion
Builders are still building big houses, and Americans still like big homes.

But Business Insider reports that the “McMansion” — the suburban icon of the housing boom — is falling out of favor with buyers.

Business Insider says homebuyers today are emphasizing quality over quantity.

One blogger quoted in the article says many McMansions were built cheaply in order to squeeze in as many amenities as possible. Now owners are facing repairs, and looking at trading in their big house.

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