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National Association of Realtors (NAR)

Existing-Home Sales Slide in December; 2016 Sales Best Since 2006

Source: National Association of Realtors®

Existing-home sales closed out 2016 as the best year in a decade, even as sales declined in December as the result of ongoing affordability tensions and historically low supply levels, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, finished 2016 at 5.45 million sales and surpassed 2015 (5.25 million) as the highest since 2006 (6.48 million).

In December, existing sales decreased 2.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million in December from an upwardly revised 5.65 million in November. 

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the housing market's best year since the Great Recession ended on a healthy but somewhat softer note. "Solid job creation throughout 2016 and exceptionally low mortgage rates translated into a good year for the housing market," he said. "However, higher mortgage rates and home prices combined with record low inventory levels stunted sales in much of the country in December."

Added Yun, "While a lack of listings and fast rising home prices was a headwind all year, the surge in rates since early November ultimately caught some prospective buyers off guard and dimmed their appetite or ability to buy a home as 2016 came to an end."

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Industry Reacts: Is Trump's Suspension of FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium Cut Good or Bad?

Source: HousingWire

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s decision to suspend the reduction of Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance premiums didn’t come as a shocker.
FHA mortgage insurance premiums have been under heightened scrutiny ever since the FHA’s flagship fund, the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, reached its Congressionally mandated threshold of 2 percent ahead of schedule in November 2015.

 
The cut will have an impact on future borrowers, said National Association of Realtors President William Brown. 

“According to our estimates, roughly 750,000 to 850,000 homebuyers will face higher costs and 30,000 to 40,000 new homebuyers will be left on the sidelines in 2017 without the cut,” Brown said. “We’re disappointed in the decision but will continue making the case to reinstate the cut in the months ahead.”

“We hope HUD and the Trump administration will make it a priority to quickly review the reduction in the FHA mortgage insurance premium,” said CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) President Geoff McIntosh. “Homebuyers in California, who would have saved an average of $860 a year, will be negatively impacted more than any other state by the decision to not reduce the FHA premium.”