Home Supply Hits Its Lowest Level In History – The Mortgage Reports

NAR Existing Home Sales Inventory December 2016

Home Buyers Not Fazed By Rising Rates

Home sales again posted strong numbers in December, on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Rates are rising, but that hasn’t stopped buyers from moving forward with their home buying goals.

The December Existing Home Sales Report fully takes into account skyrocketing mortgage rates following the historic U.S. presidential election.

It hints that home buyers are unfazed by rising rates, or that they are moving fast before higher rates take effect later in 2017.

5.49 million existing homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis last month, a 2.8% decrease from the month prior.

That’s good for the housing market, bad for the buyer.

Ever-increasing sales are eating up home supply, which is at its worst level recorded since the National Association of REALTORS® started tracking data.

Home buyers could have an awfully hard time finding a home to buy in 2017.

Click to see today’s rates (Jan 29th, 2017)

Supply Utterly Fails To Keep Pace With Buyer Demand

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) released its December 2016 Existing Home Sales report, which showed 5.49 million homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis.

An “existing home” is a pre-owned house that is being sold again and does not include newly constructed homes.

December’s reading rounds out 2016, which was the best year for existing home sales since 2006.

The factor holding sales back now, though, is ultra-low inventory. As recently as 2012, home supply eclipsed six months, the inflection point between a “buyer’s market” and “seller’s market”.

Existing Home Supply fell to just 3.6 months nationwide in December.

There are now just over 1.5 million homes for sale in the U.S. That is down eleven percent from a year ago, when inventory was already tight.

Low home supply is driving up prices. NAR reports that year-over-year home values have risen 58 months in a row, up four percent since last year.

That could be good news. Higher prices could entice homeowners to sell, increasing inventory and tempering prices.

At least, that’s the hope. For now, homes remain scarce.

Click to see today’s rates (Jan 29th, 2017)

Buyers Scramble To Find Homes

Mortgage rates are rising, and it’s lighting a fire under home buyers.

First-time and repeat buyers alike realize it’s now time to buy before rates price them out of the home they really want.

December’s home supply reading is evidence of the trend.

Supply reached all-time lows as buyers snatch up every available home. The Existing Home Sales report has not once reported inventory at 3.6 months since the NAR started tracking data in 1999.

At this rate, homes would be “sold out” by April 2017. Fortunately, prices are rising, which is enticing more homeowners to put their homes on-market.

The NAR reports that the average home stays on the market just 53 days, down from 58 days a year ago.

If you are a buyer, no doubt you’ve noticed the tough competition. Your “ammunition”, then, is to secure a pre-approval from a lender. Sellers often won’t consider an offer without knowing the buyer is approved for financing. And, your real estate agent may require a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter even before you start viewing homes.

A pre-approval is better than a pre-qualification, because it is a complete, finalized approval, minus the property itself. It is based on the lender’s review of your documentation, such as bank statements, pay stubs, and tax returns.

A pre-qualification, though, is only the lender’s best estimate that you will be approved based on information given verbally. It’s not uncommon for mortgage applicants to accidentally overestimate their income when speaking to the lender.

Tax write-offs, a side business, or alimony and child support can diminish, on paper, perceived income. Sometimes buyers are not approved for as much home as they thought.

Prepared buyers are more likely to buy the home they want when it becomes available.

Click to see today’s rates (Jan 29th, 2017)

First-Time Buyers Return To The Market

First-time home buyers are entering the housing market in waves.

Low mortgage rates and low-downpayment programs — plus skyrocketing rent payments — are enticing “on-the-fence” home buyers.

First-time buyers made up 32 percent of sales in November, one of the highest readings since 2012.

Easing mortgage standards are helping this segment of home buyers.

A full 77% of home buyers get approved, and complete their home purchase within 90 days, according to mortgage software firm Ellie Mae.

That’s up from just sixty-eight percent in 2015.

First-time buyers, once turned down, often think they can’t be approved elsewhere. That’s not the case.

In fact, lender overlays make some applicants ineligible at one lender, but completely acceptable at another.

Overlays are additional rules that specific lenders add to “by-the-book” guidelines. For instance, FHA guidelines state a borrower needs a minimum 580 credit score to qualify, whereas a lender may up its minimum score to 640.

But home buyers often don’t realize that the lender across the street — or online — may accept a much lower FICO.

Lenders are constantly loosening their guidelines, and it’s showing up in NAR’s Existing Home Sales report.

There have been few better times than now to be in the market to buy a home.

Click to see today’s rates (Jan 29th, 2017)

5 Low-Downpayment Programs For First-Time Home Buyers

Mortgage rates alone are not enough to extend an opportunity to buyers. The more important piece is actually available mortgage programs.

Today’s market offers first-time home buyer down payment flexibility, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in nine years.

Even mainstays of affordable housing, such as FHA loans, have made it even easier to buy. Mortgage insurance premiums were reduced last year. And, more lenders are offering these loans at the FHA-suggested 580 minimum score.

Conventional lenders have eased downpayment requirements. The minimum down for loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is now 3%. The Conventional 97 mortgage and the HomeReadyTM loan are both lenient about the amount of money you need upfront.

The USDA home loan goes further than even FHA and conventional loans: it requires zero downpayment. And, closing costs can come from a gift or even a seller contribution.

Another zero-down loan comes from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA loan is a veteran-only mortgage for which current and former military service members earn eligibility with as little as 90 days of active service.

These mortgage programs and others are even more affordable because of today’s record-breaking mortgage rates. Home sales are rising, with little question that today’s home buying environment is one of the best in history.

What Are Today’s Mortgage Rates?

The U.S. housing market is advancing into 2017.  It’s an excellent time to buy a home, and the first step is getting a rate quote for your home mortgage.

Get today’s live mortgage rates now. Your social security number is not required to get started, and all quotes come with access to your live mortgage credit scores.

Click to see today’s rates (Jan 29th, 2017)

The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.

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