According to the FHFA Home Price Index, U.S. property values climbed in July, the eighth straight month of home price growth nationwide. Home values are up 4.4% percent from last year and appear headed higher into fall.
Demand for homes is outweighing supply; and today's mortgage rates are so low that they're changing the economics of "Buy vs Rent".
30-year mortgage rates have dropped to near their lowest levels of 2014 and are now the best they've been in close to 16 months.
The FHFA Home Price Index is a product of the Federal Home Finance Agency (FHFA). It tracks changes in a home's value between subsequent sales. Data is supplied via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of the mortgage approval process.
The Home Price Index is benchmarked to a value of 100, which is meant to represent the U.S. housing market as it existed in 1991.
In July 2014, the Home Price Index climbed to 212.7 -- its highest reading since April 2008.
Matching the value from April 2008 is significant to today's U.S. housing market. At the time, last decade's housing downturn was less than 12 months old and home values had yet to drop in many U.S. markets. The Housing and Recovery Act had yet to be created; and the HARP refinance program was nearly twelve months from its inception.
The July Home Price Index shows a housing market in expansion, albeit a slowing one. Demand still outpaces supply, and listing prices for home are still rising. Competition for homes remain fierce.
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 40% of all homes are selling in 30 days or fewer. For today's buyers, it's become tough to find great, inexpensively-priced homes.
Thankfully, current mortgage rates are cheap.
Freddie Mac's weekly mortgage rate survey puts the 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage at 4.20 percent, on average, nationwide. Many lenders routinely quote mortgage rates and APRs in the 3s, however, and adjustable-rate mortgage rates can be in the 2s.
FHA and VA mortgage rates are even lower.
Low mortgage rates give buyers extra purchasing power and expanded home affordability.
The FHFA's Purchase-Only Home Price Index rose 0.1% in July 2014, and is up 4.4% from one year ago. The index is at its highest point in more than 6 years.
Home values cannot be considered on a national level, however. Indices such as the Home Price Index examine housing broadly, and do little to capture the buyer-seller activity of any one state, city, or neighborhood.
The Home Price Index does group its findings by region, however, and, in July, the East North Central and New England regions led all U.S. markets, expanding 0.4% from the month prior. The Middle Atlantic Region was the laggard, losing 0.5 percent.
Over the last 12 months, home price growth has varied by region:
The New England Region, an area which includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut is +3.2 percent since last year.
Home values are higher nationwide but mortgage rates are down. The average 30-year mortgage rate is lower than it's been in more than one year, and today's low rates help to keep homes affordable. Low rates can't last forever, though.
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The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.
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2014 Conforming & FHA Loan Limits
Mortgage loan limits for every U.S. county,
as published by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, and the FHA.