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The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced March 23 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will ease standards for both property appraisals and employment verification in an effort to facilitate liquidity in the mortgage marketplace during the coronavirus outbreak, HousingWire reported. Specifically, the FHFA said appraisal alternatives will be used to prevent appraisers from having to inspect a home’s interior.
The Appraisal Institute announced March 24 that its free 90-minute webinar covering the latest appraisal developments on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is now available on AI’s website and on its YouTube channel.
Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria announced March 18 that the release of the capital proposal for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be delayed until the second half of May due to the coronavirus, HousingWire reported. Calabria said the efforts to combat the spread of the virus will complicate the feedback process.
Commercial real estate lenders are making loans despite the effect that COVID-19 has had on financial markets, noting there is still a significant amount of liquidity and that developers securing debt today will deliver projects in several years, after the virus outbreak is expected to be over, according to advisory firm Dekel Capital, GlobeSt.com reported March 17.
Nearly half the real estate agents surveyed by the National Association of Realtors reported decreased homebuyer interest due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, the association reported March 19. However, the survey noted that the shortage of houses on the market likely will keep prices steady.
Only 13% of homebuyers said that the coronavirus’s impact on the stock market has affected their ability to afford a down payment, according to a survey released March 17 by online real estate marketplace Redfin. Homebuyers in the Bay Area reported the biggest impact, since many workers there receive some compensation in stock.
Home prices at the end of the fourth quarter were overvalued by 1.5%, up from 1.2% during the third quarter, but the coronavirus is expected to slow home buying activity and cause home prices to drop — perhaps only temporarily, according to credit rating agency Fitch Ratings, National Mortgage News reported March 19.
Mortgage rates were up again during the past week as lenders increased prices to help manage high refinance demand, but the upward trend is expected to be short-lived, Freddie Mac reported March 19 in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Purchase applications have started to decline.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency on March 18 directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus. The action applies to homeowners with a single-family mortgage backed by the government-sponsored enterprises.
The Appraisal Institute announced March 25 that it has indefinitely delayed registration for the 2020 Appraisal Institute Annual Conference, which is still scheduled for Aug. 3-5 in Orlando, Florida. AI continues to monitor the rapidly changing environment involving the coronavirus, and will provide additional updates once information is available.
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