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The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Nov. 23 that it will increase the conforming loan limit for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the first time in 10 years. The current limit of $417,000 for single-family homes will go up to $424,100 in 2017.
A federal judge on Nov. 22 blocked a rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor that would have made an additional four million salaried employees eligible for overtime pay, Reuters reported. The rule would have taken effect Dec. 1 and doubled to $47,500 the salary a worker could make and still qualify for overtime.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Nov. 18 asked for a rehearing from the full slate of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in response to last month’s three-judge panel ruling that the agency’s structure is unconstitutional, The New York Times reported.
The U.S. Department of Justice ended its fraud case against Bank of America over the sale of allegedly defective mortgages by Countrywide to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through a loan origination process dubbed “hustle,” HousingWire reported Nov. 23. The DOJ initially won a $1.27 billion judgement against the bank, which was overturned on appeal.
Average fixed mortgage rates moved higher during the past week, topping 4 percent for the first time this year, Freddie Mac reported Nov. 23 in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
The student housing sector is expected to remain strong through 2017, as the demand for such purpose-built properties continues to exceed supply, according to property management software developer AppFolio, National Real Estate Investor reported Nov. 21. Developers are expected to deliver a minimum 45,700 new beds for the fall 2017 semester.
Multifamily builders and developers remained positive about the market during the third quarter, boosting the Multifamily Production Index by three points to 53, the National Association of Home Builders reported Nov. 17. The MPI measures sentiment about market conditions on a scale of 0-100; numbers above 50 indicate a favorable outlook.
The average multifamily unit was 1,146 square feet during the third quarter, down from a post-recession high of 1,247 square feet at the start of 2015, the National Association of Home Builders reported Nov. 22. Unit size should increase as developers build more for-sale units, which typically are larger than rental units.
The average square footage of new single-family homes is gradually shrinking, dropping during the third quarter to 2,602 square feet from 2,620 square feet, the National Association of Realtors reported Nov. 22. The downsizing is the result of a renewed focus on the entry-level market.
Despite ongoing issues with housing inventory, sales of existing homes increased in all major regions in October, marking the second consecutive month of growth and the highest rate of growth since February 2007, the National Association of Realtors reported Nov. 22.
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