Housing News

January '09 Real Estate Wrap Up

We review the past month’s property news.

The past month’s real estate news reflects the lingering pessimism in the nation’s economy. Apart from President Obama’s formal inauguration, some record-setting figures remain dismal and may show no signs of taking a different route this month. Among the prominent headlines include the following.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released report stating that November home price fell by 1.8 percent MoM. It also plunged by 8.7 percent YoY – a 17-year record low for the FHFA’s index.

Also last month, U.S. homebuilder confidence fell to its lowest as fewer homebuyers are availing of bargain prices. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index reported a score of 8 in January, the highest being 50 indicating a highly positive sentiment in the market. Homebuilders are expecting more gloom this year as seen on this related video from 13WHAM TV in Rochester, NY.

On a brighter note, consumer confidence has been largely influenced by President Obama’s entry to the White House. The four-month high in January was registered at 61.2 by the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers index.

In the middle of January, mortgage refinancing applications leaped as the rate for the most popular 30-year fixed mortgage hit 4.89 percent. This was the lowest rate in the history of Freddie Mac’s data collection. However, the following week brought the rate increasing by 0.35 percentage points and caused a drop in mortgage applications.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac is asking for an additional $30 to $35 billion to sustain its operations. That’s just months after falling into government control and announcing a third-quarter loss of $25.3 billion.

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