Mortgage Rates Up Slightly – According to Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Len Kiefer, the average mortgage rates have inched up, but the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remains below 4 percent and continues to offer home buyers and refinancers historically low rates. “Even with the recent increases, the 10-year Treasury yield is down from a year ago, and 30-year fixed mortgage rates are 36 basis points below the level we saw last year at this time,” said Keifer.
Existing-Home Sales Strongest in Decade – According to the National Association of REALTORS®, for the third consecutive month, existing-home sales were on the rise, posting a “significant hike in sales activity” last month. Total existing-home sales, which includes completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—increased 5.6 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.81 million. Sales are now 3.8 percent higher than a year ago and are at the strongest pace since December 2006. “Faster economic growth in recent quarters, the booming stock market, and continuous job gains are fueling substantial demand for buying a home as 2017 comes to an end,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
FHFA Seeks Input on Credit Score Changes – The Federal Housing Finance Agency is asking for input on a possible change to its credit scoring models. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are weighing an update or switch to its credit score requirements from Classic FICO to possibly another scoring model. The assessment is limited to mortgage loan applications received from lenders and mortgage loans acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “The FHFA’s request for input is a step forward towards creating a marketplace where credit scoring models can be judged on their predictiveness, innovation and inclusivity,” says Barrett Burns, VantageScore Solutions president and CEO.
Freddie to Expand Affordable Housing Options – Mortgage financing giant Freddie Mac announced a new plan to tackle the affordable housing crisis by financing more rural and manufactured housing and preserving more affordable housing for home buyers and renters across the country. Freddie says it will team with the mortgage industry, community nonprofits, organizations, and government officials to expand its products and consumer education to provide more aid to very low, low, and moderate-income households. “Freddie Mac is uniquely suited to tackle some of America’s most persistent housing problems, and we look forward to deepening this work,” says David D. Leopold, vice president of targeted affordable sales & investments at Freddie Mac Multifamily.