Mortgage Applications Up 10% From Last Year

Mortgage applications fell slightly last week from the previous week as home purchase filings and refinancing slowed down. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications decreased by 7.3%, but experts suggest that many times after a boost in mortgage activity levels will drop slightly. Additionally, mortgage applications are still 10% higher than levels seen this time last year, proving that the housing market is still making strides toward recovery. Average 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with a conforming loan balance jumped .08% while the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a jumbo loan balance increased .09% last week. More here

U.S. Housing Affordability Hits High Levels

According to the National Association of Realtors, United States housing affordability has increased to historically high levels in 2013’s first quarter. 73.7% of new and existing homes sold in the first three months of the year were considered affordable for Americans earning a median income. Housing affordability is subject to change based on geological location and market size. Rick Judson, NAHB Chairman said, “thanks to very favorable mortgage rates and prices, housing affordability has remained quite high over the past four years.” More here

Housing Market Recovery Spreads

The housing market continues to recover and spread to more areas as home prices in many metropolitan cities experienced their largest gain year-over-year in over seven years. The median closing price has increased by 11.3% for existing single-family housing, averaging around $176,600 for the first quarter of 2013 according to the National Association of Realtors. Additionally, the median home prices posted for 150 metropolitan cities showed that 133 metros report continued annual gains this year. More here

Fixed Mortgage Rates Show Slight Increase

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, 35-year fixed mortgages increased from 3.35% to 3.42% this week. The housing market is gaining more strength as it marches further into 2013 with low mortgage rates, more home sales, and construction starts and completions on the rise.  Additionally, 15-year fixed mortgages averaged around 2.61%. Low mortgage rates have encouraged many Americans to consider buying homes or refinance their existing loans. More here

Jobless Claims Decrease By 4,000 Filings

According to the United States Labor Department, the number of reported jobless claims filed by workers averaged around 323,000 claims last week, the lowest level seen since 2008. Unemployment claims have steadily dropped over the last few weeks, and the four-week moving average for U.S. jobless claims declined by 6,250 claims. An Econoday analyst said, “jobless claims are offering solid signs of improvement in the labor market. Initial claims are down for a third straight week, 4,000 lower in the May 4 week to a new recovery low of 323,000.” More here and here

Mortgage Delinquencies Fall 21%

More Americans are able to pay their mortgages as home values are on the rise and job creation grows. According to TransUnion, a credit reporting agency, individuals falling two months behind or more on their mortgages have dropped approximately 21% from this time last year, representing the largest quarterly decrease since 1992. The mortgage delinquency rate for the first quarter of 2013 was 4.56%, while home prices have continued to soar increasing by 10.5%. TransUnion’s group vice president of U.S. housing, Tim Martin said, “there is no reason to believe the decline in mortgage delinquencies will not continue.” More here

Housing Market Aids Truck And SUV Sales

Official auto sales forecasts look positive. SUV and truck sales are increasing as fuel prices begin to drop and housing sales continue to contribute to the U.S. economy. According to experts, many companies, large and small, as well as contractors and subcontractors are taking advantage of prime truck and SUV sales deals to acquire new company vehicles. Early data suggests that last month’s truck sales will be 26% higher than in April 2012. More here

Problem Loans Drop To Less Than 1%

According to the latest report from Lender Processing Services, problematic loans in the United States have fallen to less than 1%, the lowest percentage seen since mid-2007. New problem-loans in March 2013, hit around 0.84%, dropping to pre-crisis levels. The report also showed that today, only 9 million homeowners are currently underwater while, in 2011, 17 million homeowners were struggling for home equity. Additionally, the overall U.S. foreclosure presale inventory rate is approximately 3.37%. More here

Many First-Time Homebuyers Experience Stress

A recent study called the Psychology of House Hunting shows that 80% of first time homebuyers tend to know if a house is right for them when they take their first steps into the home. On average, first time homebuyers view 10 homes before making the decision to buy. An additional 39% confess they feel pressured into buying a home they may not feel is perfect for them. First time homebuyers report having many emotions throughout the transaction including excitement, anxiety, and optimism. Mortgage expert with BMO, Laura Parsons said, “It’s important to take a practical approach when house hunting and have a clear idea of where you stand financially to ensure you make a responsible home buying decision.” The study also stated that 44% of buyers say the reason they bought a home was because they felt it was a smart investment. More here

Housing Market Confidence Continues To Rise

Confidence in the housing market has reached levels not seen in years. 37% of homeowners are confident that their home value will continue to grow over the next year while 58% of homeowners believe their homes are currently worth more than when they purchased them, according to a recent Rasmussen Report national survey. Home prices and values continue to climb in many major cities such as Phoenix, AZ, Detroit, MI, Denver, CO, and numerous cities in California. More here