Morning Briefing: This is the biggest barrier for the housing market in 2016

by Steve Randall15 Jan 2016
This is the biggest barrier for the housing market in 2016
Fannie Mae has published its latest outlook for the housing market and paints an optimistic picture for the year ahead. It forecasts household income and job security strengthening and mortgage lending restrictions easing but the issue of affordability will constrain growth. The report notes that home prices will continue to outpace household incomes, especially at the lower end of the market.

On mortgage rates, economist Doug Duncan says there has been minimal impact of the Fed’s first rise in 9 years adding: “we believe mortgage rates will edge up only gradually, ending the year around 4.2 percent. Despite our expectation of only a small rise in mortgage rates.”

Fannie Mae’s outlook for housing market activity is for sales to gain 4 per cent overall this year but for single-family home sales to rise 17 per cent.
Goldman Sachs reaches settlement over mortgage probe
The investigation into Goldman Sachs’ sale of mortgages prior to the housing bubble and financial crisis has been concluded. The bank will pay $5 billion in penalties, cash payments and consumer relief. While some other financial institutions have paid larger penalties for their part in the crisis, this settlement is the largest for Goldman Sachs.
Mortgage rates lower despite Fed
Interest rates may be higher than they were a month ago but mortgage rates continue to fall according to Freddie Mac. Its weekly survey of mortgage rates shows that in the week ending Jan 14. 30-year FRM’s averaged 3.92 per cent, down from 3.96 per cent a week earlier. For 15-year FRM’s the average rate was 3.19 per cent, down from 3.26 per cent; 5-year ARM’s averaged 3.01 per cent, down from 3.09 per cent. Lower Treasury yields and falling oil prices are behind the lower rates, Freddie’s chief economist Sean Becketti commented.
Miami, Manhattan housing markets to be tracked by Treasury
The US Treasury Department will begin tracking home prices in Miami and Manhattan as part of a crackdown on money laundering. The New York Daily News reports that certain title companies will be required to disclose details of transactions for homes priced above $3 million. The requirement will only apply to all-cash deals, some of which are suspected of being used as vehicles for illegal foreign cash.


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