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Author Archives: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a contributing writer for DS News. He is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing, and has studied abroad in Athens, Greece. An East Texas native, he also works part-time as a photographer.

The Week Ahead: Prices Still Rising, Inventory Still Dropping

On Wednesday, at 9 a.m. EST, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release its House Price Index (HPI) for March. The Index covers single-family housing, using data provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Previously, the FHFA reported in its February HPI that home prices rose 0.8 percent month-over-month. In the report, January’s former unchanged index was revised to a 0.2 percent increase.

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High Down Payments Alter Young Homebuyer Priorities

Many young homebuyers are more focused on personal achievements, such as dream jobs and travelling, than “traditional,” long term life milestones, such as marriage and parenthood. Shifting priorities along with high down payments and the amount of time required to save for these payments are among the reasons why millennials aren't quite settling yet.

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Freddie Mac Prices First RPL Sale This Year

On Wednesday, Freddie Mac announced its first re-performing structured sale of 2017, a $292 million sale of a pool of seasoned loans from its mortgage investments portfolio. The pool of loans, currently being serviced by Select Portfolio Servicing Inc., includes loans with step-rate modifications and GSE loans modified under GSE proprietary modifications.

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Utilizing Tech Effectively

Although the industry has been slow to adopt, about three in five mortgage lenders agree that their firm is making the best use of data for their business. However, most lenders call themselves “technology followers,” not early adopters, and less than half stated that the pace of technological innovation in the industry has been too slow. Mortgage firms are starting to adopt new technologies like Application Programming Interfaces (API) in order to reduce errors and costs and speed up transactions.

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New York: A Property Tax Epicenter

When it comes to prices, nothing tops New York. 83 of the 100 buildings with the highest property taxes are located in New York City, according to a recent study. Topping the list is the the General Motors Building, which paid a total of $71,681,674 in taxes in 2016.

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Homes are Shrinking Again

New single family homes have been shrinking, according to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). According to the NAHB data, home sizes reached a plateau in 2015 and 2016 after experiencing a steady rise post-recession, but have started to drop off since. The post-recession increase in single-family home size is consistent with the historical pattern coming out of recessions.

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Examining Credit State By State

A recent study by LendEDU examines how credit has shifted by state. Experian’s data puts Minnesota at the top with an average credit score of 718. The top three metros witht eh highest credit scores were all in Minnesota: Mankato, Rochester, and Minneapolis. Nationally, the VantageScore average grew from 669 to 673 in 2016.

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Household Debt Reaches Recession-Level Highs

On Wednesday, the New York Federal Reserve released its Q1 report on household debt and credit. According to the report, total household debt totaled $12.73 trillion in Q1 2017. This means that household debt has finally surpassed its $12.68 trillion peak reached during the recession in 2008. This is a $149 billion quarterly increase.

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Falling Inventory Stock is Troubling

The falling inventory has many industry professionals worried, especially as demand picks up. Data from Redfin shows that homes in April sold the fastest since 2010, and sold 10 days faster than a year previously. Many homes, one in four, sold above their list price.

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OneWest’s Financial Freedom Settle Allegations

Financial Freedom, a division of OneWest Bank agreed to a settlement of over $89 million on Tuesday, resolving allegations from the Department of Justice that the accusing the company of violating the False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 in connection with its participation in a federally insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages or ‘reverse mortgage’ program.

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