Average Credit Scores Surge to 8-Year High – According to Experian reports, Americans are boosting their credit scores, which bodes well for applicants seeking a mortgage to snag the lowest rates. The average credit score hit its highest level since 2011, reaching 682, two points higher than a year ago. Consumers also are taking on more mortgage debt than a year ago, and delinquency rates are decreasing too. “We’re seeing a promising trend in terms of how Americans are managing their credit as we head into a new decade,” says Shannon Lois, Experian’s head of analytics, consulting, and operations. “Average credit card balances and debt are up year over year, yet utilization rates remain consistent at 30 percent, indicating consumers are using credit as a financial tool and managing their debts responsibly.” Comparing borrowing behaviors between genders, women’s average credit scores are four points higher than men’s (686 vs. 682, respectively). Men tend to carry more mortgage debt than women, $220,421 compared to $203,603.
Source and link to the full article: Experian
Mortgage Rates Drop to Ring In the New Year – Based on Freddie Mac reports, home shoppers are being greeted with much lower mortgage rates to kick off 2020 than they were a year ago. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.72% recently, compared to 4.51% at the beginning of 2019. Improving economic data has led to a stability in mortgage rates over the last few weeks. Thirty-year rates have generally hovered around an average of 3.7% for the past two months. What a difference a year makes: “The stability is welcome news after the interest rate turbulence of the last year, which caused a slowdown in the housing market and other interest rate-sensitive sectors,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The low mortgage rate environment combined with the red-hot labor market is setting the stage for a continued rise in home sales and home prices.”
Source and link to the full article: Freddie Mac
Pending Home Sales Jump Despite Lagging Inventory – According to the National Association of REALTORS® latest housing report, pending home sales rose 1.2% in November after slipping the prior month. Year-over-year contract signings were up 7.4% nationally, according to the report. November’s Pending Home Sales Index reached 108.5; an index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001. The West region of the country reported the highest monthly growth in pending home sales at 5.5%, while the Midwest jumped 1%. The Northeast and South saw only minor adjustments in month-over-month contract activity. “Despite the insufficient level of inventory, pending home contracts still increased in November,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, noting that housing inventory has been in decline for six straight months. “Favorable conditions are expected throughout 2020 as well, but supply is not yet meeting the healthy demand.”
Source and link to the full article: https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2019/12/30/pending-home-sales-jump-despite-lagging-inventory
January Expected to Be Hot for Home Shoppers – Based on realtor.com® data, the busy home-shopping season will start early in January this year. The month of January in recent years has tended to have the second-most listing views across the year (just 1% below February). With sub-4% mortgage rates, low unemployment, and higher wages, industry insiders are expecting a bustling winter real estate season. “The shift to January’s newfound popularity does not mean that the other prime spring months have become less competitive,” says Nicolas Bedo, an economic data analyst for realtor.com®. “Realtor.com® data shows that views per listing used to ramp up into spring, but now competition starts high in January and stays high. What used to be a lopsided bias for April is now a feverish search starting in January, staying consistently competitive across the first four months of the year as hopeful home buyers look for just the right home.”
Source and link to the full article: “New Analysis: January Home Shopping Is Getting More Popular,” The Mortgage Reports (Dec. 31, 2019)