An increase in credit access was reported in April according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Credit Availability Index (MCAI).
The Index increased 0.5 percent month-over-month to 122.0 in April. The increase was driven by new offerings of FHA’s 203K home improvement program, new VA offerings, and new jumbo products.
The MCAI and its four components are designed to show relative credit risk/availability based on information about borrower eligibility and underwriting criteria gathered for over 95 lenders and investors and combined with data from Ellie Mae’s All Regs Market Clarity product.
In an effort to sign more eligible homeowners up for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is holding its third HARP outreach event in October, 2014.
The goal is to get the word out about HARP to borrowers who are current but underwater, and help borrowers who are either delinquent or at risk of losing their home recognize that they too have options.
Borrowers are eligible for a HARP loan if they meet the following requirements:
Their loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac;
The loan must have been originated on or before May 21, 2009;
LTV ratio must be greater than 80 percent;
Borrower must be current on mortgage payments.
Borrowers who could benefit from HARP are referred to as “in the money” borrowers; they are “in the money” if they meet all the HARP eligibility requirements, have a remaining balance on their loan of greater than $50,000 with more than 10 years left on their term, and have an interest rate of more than 1.5 percent more than current market rates.
As of June 2014, about 3.1 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP since it was introduced by FHFA and Treasury in 2009 as part of the Making Home Affordable Program.
Sales of new single family houses in August 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000, up from July’s printing of 427,000, the fastest rate in six years and the biggest monthly jump since January 1992.
The biggest gains and by far the reason for the big increase were new home sales in the West, one of the two largest housing markets, along with the South.
New home sales in the West were up 50% over July.
The South saw an 8% increase. The South is by far the largest region for new home sales, outdistancing all other regions combined.
The median sales price of new houses sold in August 2014 was $275,600; the average sales price was $347,900.
Wealthy home buyers are paying lower average rates on high dollar loans, and in some cases, they don’t even have to worry about a large down payment or mortgage insurance.
For months, lenders of jumbo mortgages have been charging interest rates that are lower than what average borrowers pay. Jumbo loans are mortgages that above $417,000 or $625,000 or more in high-priced markets.
Many lenders also have requiring as little as 10 percent, which is about half the normal rate, waiving the private mortgage insurance, and even lowered their credit standards for jumbo loan originations.
Luxury homes are selling faster than last year, according to data through July from Realtor.com. The median age of listings ranged from 80 days for homes listed at $1 million or more.