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Homeownership

FHA is messing with the MIP policy again and it could cost you big

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) You may have heard the FHA’s recent decision to reduce the annual premiums for MIPS, it sounds good, but what does it really mean on a local level.

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The Federal Housing Administration

In early January, we reported that the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) intended to cut annual premiums for Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) from 0.85 percent to a much lower 0.60 percent, a highly anticipated, but highly doubted reduction.

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However, in late January, the newly installed Trump administration worried potential home buyers when the administration froze a number of policy changes set in place by the Obama administration. One of these changes was a 25 basis point decrease MIP.

FHA’s reduction

At first glance, it may not seem like much of a reduction, but as we reported in January, “when a homeowner is part of the FHA mortgage program, they pay MIP at closing (currently a 1.75 percent fee) and then in 12 monthly installments annually, so this reduction will make a wide impact.”

The previous article covered the broader reach and implications of the FHA’s reduction, but the let’s take a look at the local impact of the FHA’s fee freeze.

How it will help home buyers

According the National Association of Realtors’® (NAR®) blog, previous NAR® research estimated that “30,000 to 40,000 home purchases would be lost in 2017 and another 750,000 to 850,000 home buyers would face higher costs.”

These statistics were then re-estimated at the local level using 2015 HMDA figures for purchase mortgages which have created widely varying results.

The MIP in FHA predominate markets

The NAR® found that markets with high shares of purchase mortgages, financed with FHA support will experience the broadest impact of the higher MIP fees. The top 10 markets in terms of FHA shares were in smaller communities in Texas and California, along with small portions of the Southeast and the what the NAR terms the “rust belt” (see map for clarification).

More than 40 percent of home purchases in the top 10 markets were financed with FHA backing.

So naturally, these markets would have received the biggest boost to affordability from the proposed lower monthly payments.

The NAR points out that the regions most likely to feel the impact of the FHA decision, are Laredo (TX), Vineland-Bridgeton (NJ), and MacAllen-Edinburg-Mission (TX).

The other seven areas are: Visalia-Porterville (CA), Madera (CA), Merced (CA), Brownsville-Harlington (TX), Odessa (TX), Yuma (AZ), and Bakersfield (CA), in order of highest to least shares of FHA backings.

National Averages

Nationally, approximately 25.3 percent of mortgages were backed by the FHA in 2015, so a large portion of home buyers will be impacted by the FHA decision.

The NAR® points out however, that because the MIP is figured based on the outstanding mortgage balance, buyers in FHA markets where homes have the highest prices, would not necessarily receive the greatest reduction in annual cost.

For example, markets that are notoriously costly, like California and Hawaii, would have saved approximately $1450 with a FHA loan in 2015.

The new 25 basis point MIP reduction would have a much broader reach, helping those homeowners who need it most.Click To Tweet

What it looks like in your area

Curious about what the 25 basis point system looks like in your area?

The NAR® crafted a chart detailing the potential savings from a 25 basis point reduction in the MIP for over 300 metropolitan areas in the United States, go check it out.

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Homeownership

Demand for newly built homes soars, but so is the cost of lumber

[HOMEOWNERSHIP] Many potential buyers are looking for newly built homes, but will builders be able to meet this demand with lumber prices on the rise?

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COVID-19 has had an undeniable effect on the U.S. economy. In the housing market, increased interest in single-family, new-construction homes has given builders a bright spot in the crisis. Builder confidence in this market has now reached a 35-year high, but builders are not out of the woods yet.

Potential homebuyers are showing up in hoards (figuratively speaking, we hope) this fall with a keen interest in new-construction homes. Buyers looking to take advantage of record-low interest rates are knocking on model home doors, seeking improved living arrangements with more space and functionality. The market sentiment for single-family homes is positive, but rising lumber prices are tempering home builders’ excitement for booming business.

Many white-collar workers are staring down an indefinite stretch of remote working arrangements, with some large tech companies even considering making the change to remote work permanent. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced workers to make big shifts in their everyday life. These lifestyles changes, along with low interest rates, have prompted a new wave of homebuyers.

Unfortunately for builders, the pandemic has had a much harder impact on blue-collar workers and a negative impact on supply and demand. While office workers sit on their couches and open up their laptops to Zillow, places like lumber mills and factories had no choice but to shut down during the height (if that is even past us) of the pandemic.

Many lumber mills and factories remain closed or are dealing with severe labor shortages as these blue-collar workers are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and access to adequate health care.

Prior to shutdowns, the market was not expecting this type of boom in new-construction interest from homebuyers. Builders are now seeing lumber prices rise as a result of increased demand and dwindling supplies.

Mortgage rates hit record lows in early August, and while those have risen somewhat since then, it is unlikely that rates will skyrocket anytime soon. With no end to the pandemic in sight for the U.S., potential homebuyers will keep coming and builders will just have to deal with the premium on lumber for the foreseeable future.

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Homeownership

The split realities of renters vs. homeowners

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) The housing market is telling a tale of two countries: Between renters and homeowners, wealth inequality has split the country in two.

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The pandemic has generated a tidal wave of house hunters attempting to relocate; previously ignored markets all across the country, particularly in suburban areas, are awash with new clients eagerly seeking an escape from expensive and densely populated cities. Record low mortgage interest rates in the US have only bolstered this migration scramble. The ultra-wealthy are even opting to leave the US entirely, fleeing to regions with fewer cases, such as New Zealand.

Renters, on the other hand, generally don’t have the luxury of being able to afford a house. Most are currently trapped between a rock and a hard place (proverbially speaking).

The extra unemployment assistance granted by the CARES Act, which was helping countless Americans pay rent, expired two weeks ago alongside the federal eviction moratorium. State and local moratoriums on evictions are also withering away. Young adults have holed up with their parents where they can (myself included). Meanwhile, the Senate continues to deliberate on the details of the HEROES Act, which – hopefully – will extend the $600 weekly unemployment bonus, and provide more stimulus checks to people in need.

As renters face destitution, landlords have in turn seen their incomes dry up. Twitter is rich with specific examples of threats and harassment received by tenants from their landlords for failure to pay rent, despite the unemployment crisis, and the cutthroat job competition it’s created. In all fairness, though, small landlords are themselves facing similar heat from their banks. One survey of landlords in Massachusetts, performed by MassLandlords, showed that one-fifth did not know how they would make ends meet this year – clearly a ripple effect from this preventable rental crisis.

The role of demographics here is important to note, as is often the case when housing is concerned. Of course, Millennials have been mostly relegated to renting for a long time. It’s been a meme among my generation for the better part of a decade that very few Millennials will ever end up buying homes, and Gen Z is on a fast track to join us. Not to mention that the historical impact of redlining, which extends several decades, has yet to be reconciled. It can still be seen in the national rates of homeownership which are disproportionately low among non-white, and particularly Black, Americans.

If youth, people of color, and impoverished renters are about to face mass nationwide evictions, the HEROES Act is their best shot at a miracle. But if it fails… then, I guess, Congress will ask that they eat cake.

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Homeownership

Hilarious things that are left behind when people move out of their house

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) People often forget what changes and additions they’ve made to a house until it is too late. This Twitter thread is a hilarious reminder to take everything with you when you leave.

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There are moments when social media brings people together and gives us comedy gold. Have you ever left something behind when you moved, something that while maybe not so crucially important to you, will definitely offer an interesting insight into your life? Such as a message written behind a wall, or a note hidden in an air duct? Well a twitter thread posted earlier this week opened up Pandora’s box for amusements on this topic and some of these are just getting stranger and stranger.

The original poster, @KaylaKumari, brought it up originally when she asked her mother, who had just recently moved out of her last home, if she’d uninstalled the special fire alarms that she recorded in her voice yelling, “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE BECAUSE MOM’S CANDLES CAUGHT THE HOUSE ON FIRE”. A perfect line, short and succinct. Now some poor family is going to have a fire and some woman’s voice will be ushering them out instead of an alarm. Hopefully there won’t be too much confusion there.

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My parents sold their house like a month ago but my mother JUST realized she did not uninstall the special fire alarms she had put in that are a recording of her own voice screaming at me and my sister to “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE BECAUSE MOM’S CANDLES CAUGHT THE HOUSE ON FIRE”

After that, the tweets and retweets just kept coming. Some of them mostly relating to habits or forgotten moments. In four days, the post has gotten over 17K retweets and/or comments and some of these are gems.

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A lot of people seem to enjoy feeding wildlife as well. Lots of fun shocks to go around. I would recommend however, to disclose that upon sale of the house so you don’t get sued. But this just goes to show that social media can be nice sometimes. A nice uplifting moment in our days.

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