Existing homes sales surged to their highest annual rate in 18 months, showing a promising beginning according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors.
The total number of existing home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, jumped 6.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in March from 4.89 million in February, this is the highest annual rate since September 2013 that it was also 5.19 million.
Total housing inventory at the end of March grew as well up to 5.3% to 2 million existing homes available for sale. Unsold inventory is at a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.7 months in February.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is the first of six financial regulators to release the final version of the long-awaited qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule. The National Association of Realtors applauds this action because it will make possible to incorporate rules that include a broad definition for Qualified Mortgage standards implemented earlier this year.
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Under the QRM rule, loans are generally considered qualified if the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio is 43 percent, among other things and there is not onerous down payment requirement, as regulators had originally proposed.
The NAR strongly opposed earlier versions of the rule that included 20 and 30 percent down payment requirements, which would have denied millions of Americans access to the lowest-cost and safest mortgages
For lenders, having these two rules in alignment provides the clarity they’ve long been asking for, widening and deepening loan eligibility and availability, which has been one of the main stumbling blocks to increased home sales.
Homebuyers will have now more credit availability reflecting an increase in home purchases, and refis. Way to go!