Home prices set for new peak in 2017
Home prices increased 7.2 per cent in December, CoreLogic’s Home Price Index reveals.
The annual rise was helped by a 0.8 per cent increase month-over-month compared to November and the outlook suggests that prices will continue higher through 2018.
“As of the end of 2016, the CoreLogic national index was 3.9 per cent below the peak reached in April 2006,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “We expect our national index to rise 4.7 per cent during 2017, which would put homes prices at a new nominal peak before the end of this year.”
Optimism in housing market increased last month
The stronger US economy has boosted optimism in the housing market with more people expecting house prices to increase in the next 12 months.
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index increased by 2 percentage points in January with those expecting home prices to go up rising 7 percentage points.
“Three months after the presidential election, measures of consumer optimism regarding personal financial prospects and the economy are at or near the highest levels we’ve seen in the nearly seven-year history of the National Housing Survey,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.
More people said that now is a good time to sell a home while the share of those thinking now is the right time to buy declined. There was no change in the percentage of respondents expecting lower mortgage rates in the next 12 months.
Duncan says that despite the positive survey results, there are still potential headwinds for the housing market.
“Any significant acceleration in housing activity will depend on whether consumers’ favorable expectations are realized in the form of income gains sufficient to offset constrained housing affordability. If consumers’ anticipation of further increases in home prices and mortgage rates materialize over the next 12 months, then we may see housing affordability tighten even more,” he warned.
Mortgage availability increased
The availability of mortgage credit increased in January according to Mortgage Bankers’ Association figures.
Its analysis of Ellie Mae data shows that there was a 1.1 per cent rise in the MBA Mortgage Credit Availability Index, indicating easing lending conditions. Jumbo
loans saw the largest rise in availability (4.7 per cent) followed by Conventional (2.3 per cent) and Government (0.2 per cent) while Conforming loan availability was down 0.2 per cent.
"We saw a particular increase in agency jumbo programs that focus on loans in high cost areas that exceed the baseline conforming loan limit of $424,000 but which are still eligible for purchase by the GSEs,” Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics. “While the change in GSE loan limits may have had an indirect impact on the jumbo MCAI, there were other factors at play as several investors rolled out new jumbo loan programs in January."