Conforming loan limits set to rise again in 2019

Posted by at 10:57 am

Due to generally rising home prices, the Federal Housing Finance Agency will increase conforming loan limits in 2019 for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It’s the third straight year with an increase after nearly a decade without a change. Limits will rise to $484,350 from $453,100 in all but 47 counties in the U.S., an increase of 6.9%. Loan limits will also be increasing in what the FHFA calls “high-cost areas,” where median home prices are more than 115% of the baseline cost. Most of the high-cost counties in CA, CO, MA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, TN, UT, VA, WA and the District of Columbia will have a ceiling of $726,525, which is 150% of $484,350. In Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the baseline loan limit will be $726,525 for one-unit properties. For a county-by-county...
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Water Floods Future Real Estate Concerns

Posted by at 10:18 am

The construction and ongoing maintenance of utilities, roads and other infrastructure is essential to meeting the growing housing need in the 21st Century. First among these needs is ensuring the availability of usable water, especially in drought-stricken parts of the Southwest and West already dealing with supply issues. In May, California became the first state in the nation to pass laws permanently limiting indoor water use: 55 gallons per person per day by 2022, gradually dropping to 50 gallons by 2030. The Department of Water Resources says it will recommend standards for outdoor use by October 2021. Water districts who fail the to meet the goals face fines of up to $10,000. Officials say they put the onus on providers to motivate cleaning up overall system problems. Estimates say up to 30 percent of urban water loss comes from supplier...
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Housing taking a peak?

Posted by at 11:02 am

After rapid acceleration for most of the past two years, home prices in many parts of the country are slowing as interest rates rise and inventory in some markets increases. Evidence that the market is cooling can be seen in price drops. In October, 31.3 percent of homes for sale had at least one price drop of more than 1 percent after listing, 6.3 percent higher than last October’s level of 25 percent. Ten years after the financial crisis, the notion of a housing “peak” – which would naturally be followed by a downturn – seems downright spooky. Is it time to start talking about a “housing bubble?” Most economists say no. Historically, price crashes are usually caused by over-supply. In contrast, the present moment is probably a simple “cycle top” – the kind of correction normal in any consumer...
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November 14th, 2018

Builders feel pinch of fewer young workers

Posted by at 9:41 am

There is a shortage of construction workers, especially in the Northeast and California. The nation lost tens of thousands of workers during the economic downturn. Even as demand has returned, the industry is having trouble replenishing its ranks. The share of workers 24 years old or younger has declined in 48 states, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data. After hitting a peak of 11.7 million during the Housing Boom years, the number of construction workers fell to 10.2 million by 2016. States hit hardest by the housing bust saw the greatest decrease in younger workers between 2005 and 2010, led by Delaware, Vermont, Maryland, California and Arizona. Home construction per household has dropped to the lowest level in 60 years – a big reason why U.S. home prices are rising, and why the home ownership rate remains stuck...
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