Rents and inventory increase; rates rewind

INCREMENTAL INCREASESThe housing market is changing according to Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas, who says, “The number of homes on the market is hesitantly inching higher–now approaching the highest level in a year and a half. The first quarter of 2019 is shaping up to be more competitive than the lull we saw as 2018 came to a close.” The number of homes for sale has increased in four of the last five months after four years of decreases; however, Terrazas says, “…buyers should not mistake a few more options for a sudden bounty.”
LINGERING LULLMortgage interest rates trended downward to a 12-month low according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) for the week ending February 14. Freddie Mac cites a “combination of cooling inflation and slower global economic growth” for the latest drop.
RISING RENTSSingle family rent prices are up for the month of December according to CoreLogic’s Single Family Rent Index (SFRI). Rent increases still trailed home price growth during the same period. However, CoreLogic Principal Economist Molly Boesel gives a broader perspective, saying, “The strengthening in rent prices reflects strong economic and labor markets. Single-family rents increased an average of 3 percent in 2018, exceeding the 2.7 percent average pace experienced in 2017.”
PRECIOUS PERSPIRATIONThe Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded $10-million in “sweat equity” grants through its Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program. The money will help low-income families and individuals become homeowners through the work of four non-profit organizations. Grant Amount Housing Assistance Council in Washington, D.C. received $1.2-million, WA-based Community Frameworks $1.3-million, Tierra Del Sol Housing in NM $2.1-million, and $5.3-million went to Habitat for Humanity International in GA.

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