Values for U.S. condominiums are rising faster than values for single-family homes.
According to the Case-Shiller Index, a national tracker of home values, January 2016 price growth was higher among condos than detached residences, in general, with stark differences in New York City and Chicago.
Today's mortgage rates are low, which helps to keep condos affordable, but the shift has put a squeeze on first-time buyers.
First-time home buyers are more likely to buy in big cities where condos are most prevalent, and a condo building's relatively-low price point as compared to "city homes" renders them an attractive option for city living.
Today's 30-year mortgage rates are south of four percent. Mortgage payments on today's homes are as affordable as they've been in more a year.
The most recent Case-Shiller Index shows U.S. home values up close to 6 percent for the twelve months ending January 2016. The results are based on the Case-Shiller Index's 20-City Composite.
Monthly gains for the month were led by Los Angeles, California (0.5%); Miami, Portland, and San Diego, California all had gains of 0.4%. Followed by Las Vegas, Nevada (0.3%).
The biggest one-month loser was San Francisco which dropped 0.7%
In terms of price growth from one year ago, all twenty tracked cities posted gains. Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco were the top three gainers. The cities showed 11.8%, 10.7%, and 10.5% growth, respectively.
Chicago, Illinois was the growth laggard, with values rising 2.1%.
Also near the bottom of the pack was New York City, which showed annual growth of 2.8 percent year-over-year. This is noteworthy because the New York City housing market -- a market which includes Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island -- is considered to be one of the country's hottest.
So why does a "hot" market show such anemic annual growth? Because of the Case-Shiller Index's methodology.
The Case-Shiller Index tracks single-family home sales only and the New York market is more of a "condo" market.
In New York City, housing stock is over-weighted with condominiums and co-ops -- housing types which the Case-Shiller Index ignores in its primary market index.
In New York, condo values are up 7.4% from last year -- nearly triple the increase for the city's single-family homes.
The difference between condos and single-family homes is present within Case-Shiller Index-tracked cities, too:
Condo home price growth in increasing relative to growth among single-family homes in many U.S. cities, and values overall continue to climb.
Home values have recovered all of last decade's losses, non-adjusted for inflation.
Meanwhile, as home values have climbed, mortgage rates have dropped.
The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate is near 3.75% with lenders quoting low rates and APRs. For homeowners choosing VA mortgage rates, rates are even lower.
VA mortgage rates currently beat conventional rates by 30 basis points (0.30%) or more, and VA mortgages never require mortgage insurance.Click to see today's rates (Aug 27th, 2016)
Getting a condo mortgage can sometimes be a challenge.
Remember that, last decade, condo lending burned lenders for hundreds of millions in losses. Today's lenders, therefore, are a bit more cautious. They carefully review what they'll lend, to whom, and in which condo building.
Condos buyers have fewer mortgage choices as compared to single-family home buyers. They sometimes pay higher costs, too.
As one example, buyers using a conventional mortgage via Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac pay extra fees on a condo loan when the downpayment is less than 25%. There may be other costs assessed as well, simply for buying a condo.
Buyers who have VA-eligibility, though, can use VA loans for condos.
VA loans allow 100% financing in condos with no mortgage insurance required.
Mortgage rates tend to be relatively low with a VA loan because all VA loans are guaranteed by the government.
However, your condo building's warrantability will be verified before your loan is approved. The same is true for FHA approved condos.
"Warrantability" is a mortgage term which describes whether loans in a given condo building are eligible for purchase by a government agency such as the VA, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Buildings filled with "non-warrantable condos" are typically turned down for funding, but not always.
A building's warrantability is based on a host of traits, some of which include :
To determine whether a building is warrantable or non-warrantable, mortgage lenders will often use a "condominium questionnaire" which delves into the building's structural, legal, management, and financial details.
Non-warrantable condos can still be financed, it should be mentioned. Product availability remains limited, though, and mortgage rates are sometimes higher.
The Case-Shiller Index reports rising condo values and, in many cities, condo prices are rising faster than prices for detached, single-family homes.
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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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2016 Conforming, FHA, & VA Loan Limits
Mortgage loan limits for every U.S. county, as published by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)