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American Title Guaranty and their underwriters provide stability, integrity, experience and personal service that home buyers and sellers should insist on.

Protect yourself against the loss due to title defects. Insist on title insurance policies from American Title Guaranty, Inc.

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Housing Prices Continue to Rise

Author: Cody Galuardi August 6, 2014

dsnews8-11-14CoreLogic has released its Home Price Index (HPI) report showing that home prices increased in June 2014 by 7.5 percent when compared with a year earlier.

It is the 28th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in national prices among distressed sales. When distressed sales were excluded from the statistics, year-over-year growth was slower at 6.9 percent.

According to Mark Fleming, the chief economist with CoreLogic, the ongoing slowdown in price appreciation reflects a “reversion to normality” that is “expected to continue across the country and should further alleviate concern over diminishing affordability and the risk of another asset bubble.”

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Moving from renting to homeownership could get easier

Brena Swanson
August 6, 2014 3:08PM

housingwire8-8-14Adding in rental history to a credit score could make all the difference for potential homeowners, according to an article in Businessweek.

Experian published an analysis on almost 20,000 people in government-subsidized housing who pay their monthly rent on time. The survey found that before adding in rental history, 11% of the same had no credit file at all, which makes it extremely hard to get loans. However, once the rental history was included, 59% of that group had prime credit scores, and another 38% had “nonprime” scores, while only 3% were considered subprime.

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Fed: Banks easing lending standards

Paul Davidson, USA TODAY 6:22 p.m. EDT August 4, 2014

usatoday8-5-14The home mortgage market improved last quarter as demand increased and many banks eased their lending standards for the most creditworthy borrowers, the Federal Reserve said Monday.

Banks also loosened lending criteria for a variety of other consumer and business loans as the economy improved and demand picked up.

“The July survey results showed a continued easing of lending standards and terms for many types of loan categories, and a broad-based pickup in loan demand,” the Fed said in its senior loan officer survey.

The developments could foreshadow a turnaround in the housing market, which has slowed this year amid last year’s increases in mortgage rates and higher home prices.

More favorable credit conditions have been cited as a key driver of stronger economic growth recently. Last week, the government said the economy grew at a better-than-expected annual rate of 4% in the second quarter.

Credit standards for many types of loans, including mortgages, are still more stringent than they were before the 2008 financial crisis, but they’ve eased in recent months, the survey shows.

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Mortgage lenders may be easing credit score requirements slightly

By KENNETH R. HARNEY
Are mortgage lenders finally loosening up a little on their credit score requirements — opening the door to larger numbers of home buyers this summer and fall?

It depends on what type of loan you’re seeking. If it’s a Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgage, the answer is a resounding yes. The average FICO credit scores for approved applicants for FHA home purchase loans have been dropping steadily this year, according to new data from Ellie Mae, a Pleasanton, Calif., company whose mortgage origination software is used by most large lenders.

But if you’re shopping for financing in the much broader conventional market — where most mortgages are bought or guaranteed by giant investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — scores have not budged for months. FICO scores averaged 755 in June, the same as in January, 4 points below their average for all of 2013. FICO scores run from 300 to 850; higher scores indicate lower risk of default.

Though credit scores represent just one factor that lenders use in determining whether to grant an applicant a mortgage, today’s average scores required of borrowers are far above historical norms and represent a high hurdle for many would-be purchasers — especially first-time, minority and moderate-income buyers.

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Renting drives U.S. homeownership to 19-year low

BY LUCIA MUTIKANI
WASHINGTON Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:53pm EDT

A vacant home is shown in North Las Vegas(Reuters) – Homeownership in the United States hit a 19-year low in the second quarter as tight finances continued to drive Americans toward renting, one of the lasting legacies of the recession.

The seasonally adjusted homeownership rate fell to 64.8 percent, the lowest level since the second quarter of 1995, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

That compared to 65.0 percent in the first three months of 2014 and 65.1 percent a year ago.

Economists said homeownership, which peaked at 69.4 percent in 2004, could fall even further as banks maintain stringent lending practices and wage growth remains tepid, despite an acceleration in job creation.

“We are becoming more of a rental society. It’s becoming harder to own a home,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. “People who lost their homes to foreclosure are now renting and credit standards have tightened significantly.”

The 2007-2009 recession, sparked by the collapse of the U.S. housing market, has left the economy with deep scars that will take long to heal. Wage growth remains lackluster, even though the unemployment rate is at six-year lows and the economy has recouped all the jobs lost during the downturn.

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New-home sales fall 8.1% in June

Doug Carroll, USA TODAY4:03 p.m. EDT July 24, 2014

usatoday7-25-14Sales of new single-family homes fell 8.1% in June, and May’s previously reported surge was slashed by a record revision.

Paired with June’s slippage, newly updated sales figures for March, April and May show the industry’s spring performance was weaker than previously estimated, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.

June sales hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 406,000, the second-weakest pace of the year, Census said. May’s level was cut to 442,000 from the 504,000 annual pace Census reported a month ago.

Instead of rising nearly 19% from April, May’s sales were only up about 8%. The magnitude of the change was a single-month record for new-home sales data, according to Census records on revisions that date to 1996.

Economists were bracing for lower June sales, but they anticipated an annual sales rate of 480,000, based on the median forecast in Action Economics’ survey.

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A Father, a Daughter, and the Housing Market

By Lorraine Woellert July 17, 2014

David Stevens, chief executive officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association, has spent his career making the case for homeownership—crunching loan data, selling houses, and lobbying Congress to shore up the market in the chaos of the financial collapse. Yet one person still isn’t buying his pitch: his daughter. Sara Stevens, 27, understands that interest rates are low, rents are high, and a home can build wealth. But she also witnessed up close the worst real estate slump since the Great Depression. “The world has changed,” she says.

Six years since the financial meltdown, a psychology of uncertainty has altered the homeownership calculation for young adults. It’s more than the weight of student loans, an iffy job market, and tight credit. Even those who can buy are hesitant. The doubt is so pervasive that it’s eroded entry-level sales. In May, the share of first-time buyers fell for the third month, to 27 percent of primary home purchases, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Historically, it’s been about 40 percent. “We have a younger generation that has sat on the front lines of this housing recession,” says Stevens, 57. “They’re clearly being more thoughtful about it, and they’re clearly deferring that decision.”

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Time to downsize? Not for baby boomers

Mary Umberger
On Real Estate
11:32 a.m. CDT, July 6, 2014

Not ready to downsizeThe baby boomer who’s itching to ditch the responsibility of a single-family home and move into an apartment – now, there’s a relatively rare bird.

That may be something of a surprise, given the media reports and demographic prognostications that have painted an impression of a stampede of downsizing boomers into apartments, condos and town houses. But that’s just not happening — yet, according to Fannie Mae researcher Patrick Simmons.

In an edited interview, the director of strategic planning for Fannie Mae’s economics group said that though such a wholesale change probably is inevitable, boomers these days show little inclination to leave the single-family home lifestyle that, to an extent, has defined their generation:

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First-Time Buyers and New-Home Demand: Reverting to Normal

By Brad Hunter

Our forecast of rising new-home demand is founded on a reversion to long-standing typical behavior patterns.

One of these relates to the “doubling-up” of households during and after the recession.  We are seeing some evidence that young people who had moved in with their parents or relatives are now finding the means and the motivation to move out and get their own place.

The Current Population Survey for 2013 showed a drop in the percentage of twenty-somethings living with parents. This was the first decline since 2005, back when the speculative foundations of the housing market started to crumble.  The decline may seem tiny when you look only at the percentages: the percentage of people in the group aged 18 to 24 living with parents or a related subgroup fell from 56 percent to 55 percent in one year.  One should bear in mind that the magnitudes associated with these percentages are huge. The one-percentage-point decline amounts to 300,000 people who are now looking for a place of their own who were previously living in their parents’ house.

More improvement can be expected.  A recent study by the Harvard Joint Center on Housing shows that last year 2.1 million more people between in their 20′s lived with their parents than would have typically been the case based on normal headship rates.

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Rates on 30-year mortgages down from last year

Teke Wiggin Staff Writer Jul 3, 2014

inmannews7-10-14For the second straight week, homebuyers enjoyed rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages that were lower than they were at the same time last year, Freddie Mac reported.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.12 percent with an average point of 0.5 for the week ending July 3, down from 4.14 percent last week and 4.29 percent a year ago, according to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, said the rock-bottom rates should help with home affordability in many markets.

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