Washington and the housing market are never far apart. Experts ranging from real estate professionals to the members of the Federal Reserve have reported that the state of the nation’s economic recovery relies heavily on a housing recovery.
According to the latest Legislative and Political Forum held at the Realtors 2012 Midyear Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo, housing will play a large part in deciding the outcome of the 2012 presidential election.
NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. “We believe efforts that help creditworthy homebuyers obtain mortgage financing and allow more people to stay in their homes or avoid foreclosure through streamlined short sales are important for a housing and economic recovery.”
For the majority of Americans, their home is their largest asset and the foundation of their familial stability. Taking steps to ensure homeowners keep their homes helps those not only those owners but also home values across the nation.
Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke also commented on the need for a healthy real estate recovery. She noted that the health of housing is the strength of the overall recovery.
When would-be buyers are worried about job security they aren’t thinking of buying. When potential buyers can’t access credit they can’t buy homes.
“Unfortunately, some buyers who would like to purchase a home are unable to do so because they cannot obtain a mortgage,” said Duke. She said the tightening of credit standards is apparent in the credit scores of borrowers, noting that the median credit score of borrowers rose from 700 in 2006 to 760 in 2009, where it remains today.
Duke added that tight credit standards have made obtaining a mortgage particularly difficult for first-time home buyers, since they tend to be younger than other homebuyers, and have lower credit scores and fewer financial assets.
“Just as uncertainty about job prospects or house prices has likely discouraged some potential buyers from purchasing homes, it is likely that uncertainty has also affected mortgage lenders,” said Duke. “Uncertainty surrounds several key aspects of mortgage lending, including the strength of the economic recovery and the trajectory of future house prices; the costs and liabilities associated with originating and servicing mortgage loans; and the future structure of the mortgage market.”
For now housing affordability remains at an all-time high. The NAR’s composite quarterly Housing Affordability Index (HMI) rose to a record high of 205.9 in first quarter of this year. The greater this number the more households that can afford to buy.
Veissi reports, “For those with good credit, we’ve never seen better housing affordability conditions or market opportunities than we see at present,” he said.
He continued, “Although home prices are stabilizing and sales are rising, some buyers still have to jump through a lot of hoops to convince a lender that they are creditworthy, even for a mortgage that would be well within their means. This is especially true for self-employed buyers.”
Currently the index shows the median family income of $61,000 can afford a home costing $325,500, which is double the national median existing single-family home price of $158,100.
Published: May 21, 2012