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The government will limit use of the False Claims Act against mortgage providers in pursuit of settlements related to Federal Housing Administration loans, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told attendees at the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Conference Oct. 28 in Austin, Texas, HousingWire reported. HUD wants to coax big banks back to FHA lending.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Oct. 28 released its annual scorecard outlining goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the coming year, and this one emphasized the removal of the government-sponsored enterprises from conservatorship, HousingWire reported. The scorecard also addressed national housing finance matters and safe and sound business practices.
The Federal Reserve on Oct. 30 cut interest rates for the third time this year, but Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that monetary policy is in a good place and no further rate reductions would occur unless the economy worsens, Reuters reported. In contrast, President Trump is advocating further rate cutting.
The retail sector is in growth mode, real estate firm CBRE revealed in its U.S. Retail Figures report, Commercial Property Executive reported Oct. 25. Third quarter vacancy was 6.1%, down from 6.2% during the second quarter, with net absorption totaling more than 9.7 million square feet. Average asking rents rose 1% for the quarter and 5% for the year.
Increased demand for housing is putting single-family zoning at risk throughout the U.S., with California at the forefront since Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation last week increasing density and allowing homeowners to build up to three homes on property previously zoned for single-family.
Homeownership is on the rise, with 64.8% of Americans owning their residence — close to a five-year high — and the ownership rate has increased steadily since 2016, when it hit a 50-year low, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, HousingWire reported Oct. 29. The Midwest had the highest percentage of homeownership at 69%.
“Zombie” properties — those abandoned by owners facing foreclosure and left to sit vacant — continue to decline, with only 2.96% of homes in foreclosure sitting vacant at the beginning of the fourth quarter, down from 3.2% during the third quarter, analytics firm ATTOM Data Solutions reported Oct. 31. The Midwest had the highest rates of zombie foreclosures.
Mortgage applications ticked up slightly from the previous week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Oct. 31 in its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The seasonally adjusted Market Composite index was up 0.6% from the prior week and the adjusted Purchase Index was up 2%. The unadjusted Refinance Index decreased 1% from the prior week.
Mortgage rates increased again during the past week as strong purchase activity revealed continued homebuyer demand, Freddie Mac reported Oct. 31 in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. However, low housing inventory continues to be a barrier to would-be buyers and overall economic recovery.
Claire Aufrance, MAI, SRA, and Lynn Carmichael, MAI, AI-GRS, were appointed by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to the state’s Appraisal Board. The newest board members were announced Nov. 4.
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