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The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced April 28 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will implement a new refinance option for eligible low-income borrowers that could save consumers $100 to $250 per month. An appraisal credit of up to $500 from a lender will be included if a borrower doesn’t qualify for an appraisal waiver.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced April 27 that it will delay mandatory compliance with the General Qualified Mortgage final rule to Oct. 1, 2022. Compliance was set to begin this July, but the agency extended the deadline to help consumers who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Federal Open Market Committee announced April 28 that it will keep short-term interest rates close to zero and continue buying at least $120 billion per month in bonds, CNBC reported. The move comes as the economy remains strong and the Fed is unconcerned about a slight rise in inflation.
Now that 26% of workers in major cities have returned to the office, demand for space is rising, up 28% for the month of March, according to commercial leasing firm VTS, WealthManagement.com reported April 28. Despite the rebound, Seattle remains the nation’s only market where office demand is above the historic average.
Apartment rents are beginning to rebound in expensive markets after suffering a blow during the coronavirus pandemic, online marketplace Apartment List reported April 26. Nine of the 10 hardest hit markets have seen three consecutive months of rent increases, led by San Francisco where rates have climbed 7% during the past two months alone.
Mid-size markets have become the nation’s most competitive for apartment dwellers, with California’s Central Valley topping the list with a 98% occupancy rate, rental site RentCafé reported April 28. Other in-demand locations are Spokane, Washington, and Boise, Idaho, with each reporting a 97% occupancy rate.
More than 3 million homes in the United States have now been rated with a HERS Index Score, measuring a home’s energy efficiency. For appraisers, that means more homes in the Appraisal Portal to use as comparables when valuating energy-efficient green homes for appraisal. #3MHERSandCounting
Lumber prices have nearly tripled during the past year causing the price of the average new home to increase by $35,872, the National Association of Home Builders reported April 30. The higher lumber prices also have added about $13,000 to the cost of the average new multifamily home.
Home prices continue to climb as buyers seek more space, and prices for single-family homes in urban environments are up 20% year-over-year, the fastest growth rate for any type of residential property, online real estate marketplace Redfin reported April 27. The median sale price for an urban single-family home is now $286,000.
Mortgage rates were up slightly during the past week as the number of COVID-19 cases increased and caused Treasury yields to plateau, Freddie Mac reported April 29 in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Refinancing remains an option for many borrowers, but potential buyers continue to face tight inventory and strong competition.
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