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November 2, 2023

Almost a third of homes for sale are new construction Redfin

In the third quarter of the year, new construction homes in the United States accounted for a record-high 30.6 percent of single-family homes for sale. This increase is attributed to a rise in homebuilding activity and a decrease in existing homeowners listing their properties for sale, mainly due to surging mortgage rates reaching a 23-year high of approximately 8 percent. High mortgage rates have sidelined many potential buyers, but those still in the market are increasingly opting for new construction homes. Builders are offering concessions such as mortgage rate buydowns to attract buyers, resulting in a 12.3% increase in purchases of new single-family homes. This competition with home sellers could potentially slow down new home construction. Read more.

Fed hits pause on rate hikes, third time since March 2022 Nerdwallet

The Federal Reserve has decided to keep the federal funds rate unchanged at 5.25 percent to 5.50 percent during its November meeting, marking the third pause since its campaign to combat inflation began in March 2022. While this move does not guarantee a pause in December or during next year's meetings, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's tone was less hawkish regarding future rate hikes. The U.S. economy is displaying resilience, with low unemployment, strong consumer spending, and a decreasing risk of recession. However, high spending can lead to inflation, and the Fed remains committed to reducing it from the current 3.7 percent to 2 percent. Financial tightening signs are visible, as Treasury note yields are at their highest since 2007, affecting mortgage rates. The Fed will convene for the final time this year on December 12-13. Read more.

Will home prices drop? Here's what 6 economists say

Economists have differing views on the trajectory of home prices in the near future. Moody's Analytics predicts a 10 percent decline in home prices "peak-to-trough" but anticipates mortgage rates to drop to 5.5 percent by 2024, assuming no recession. Goldman Sachs expects home prices to fall by 0.8 percent through December 2023 due to high mortgage rates and low inventory but projects a 3.4 percent increase in 2023 compared to the previous year. LPL Financial foresees only a modest decline in home prices by the end of the year, influenced by low inventory and affordability challenges for first-time buyers. CoreLogic suggests that while prices may fall slightly in the coming months due to seasonality and rising rates, there will be an overall 3.7 percent increase in home prices in 2023 compared to 2022. expects home prices to remain strong throughout the year, driven by a robust labor market. Finally, the National Association of REALTORS® predicts a slight 0.1 percent rise in the median home price to $386,700 for 2023 and a 0.7 percent increase to $389,500 in 2024, despite a drop in existing-home sales. Read more.

How a little-known law is expected to fight racial discrimination in housing

An update to the Community Reinvestment Act, a little-known law dating back to 1977, is set to combat racial discrimination in mortgage lending. Bank regulators recently revised the act, marking the first update since 1995. This amendment aims to counteract the historical practice of redlining by requiring banks to issue more mortgages in lower-income areas. However, it does not impact credit unions and nonbank lenders, which comprise a significant portion of mortgage providers. The change, effective in 2026, encourages banks to provide more loans in areas where they do substantial mortgage and small-business lending, potentially benefiting underserved communities and people of color. Concerns linger regarding potential bank withdrawals from lower-income areas, and only banks with assets exceeding $600 million will be affected.


Adjustable-rate mortgage demand jumps nearly 10% as buyers struggle to afford housing market CNBC

As mortgage rates reach a more than two-decade high, homebuyers are turning to riskier mortgage options to enter the housing market. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances slightly decreased to 7.86 percent, but it remains significantly higher than a year ago. In response, demand for adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), which offer short-term fixed rates and potential savings, surged by nearly 10% last week. ARM applications now constitute 10.7 percent of all mortgage applications, the highest level in nearly a year. However, overall mortgage demand is declining, with purchase applications at their lowest since 1995, and refinance applications at their lowest since January 2023. Market watchers are eagerly awaiting news from the Federal Reserve for potential relief from high interest rates.


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