Mortgage News for the Week of March 15, 2019
Home Prices Up 0.6% in February-Smallest Year-Over-Year Gain Since March 2012

U.S. home-sale prices increased just 0.6 percent in February compared to a year ago, to a median of $287,400 across the metros Redfin tracks. This is the smallest year-over-year price increase recorded since prices stopped falling year-over-year in March 2012.  Read more from Redfin.
Average Loan Amount Hits Record High
With more inventory in their price range compared to first-time buyers, move-up and higher-end buyers currently have the most success finding a home.
Purchase Applications Resume Upward Climb

Overall mortgage application activity resumed an upward trend last week, with another strong showing for purchase volume.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, increased 2.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended March 8. On an unadjusted basis, the Index was up 3 percent compared with the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index gained 4 percent from the prior week and was 6 percent higher unadjusted.  Purchase applications were 2 percent higher than during the same week in 2018.
The Refinance Index dipped 0.2 percent and refinance applications dropped to 38.6 percent of the total from 40.0 percent the prior week. It was the lowest share for refinancing since the week ended November 23, 2018.  Read more at Mortgage News Daily.
January New Home Sales Fall Short of Expectations, Down 6.9 Percent

Zillow: Rent Growth Hits a 10-Month High in February
U.S. median rent reaches $1,472, adds extra $400 in expenses for average renter

While the housing market continues to experience a  slowdown in  home sales and  price appreciation, new data from Zillow suggests the rental market is heating up.

According to the company's Real Estate Market Report, February's rental prices climbed at the fastest rate in the last 10 months.
In fact, February's 2.4% year-over-year price appreciation drove the U.S. median rent price up to $1,472. 

Not only is this a jump from last year's $1,438, but it also translates to more than $400 in additional annual expenses for the average renter.  Read more at Housing Wire.
Seniors Now Have a Collective $7 Trillion in Home Equity
Housing wealth among the senior set reaches record levels.

Housing wealth for homeowners 62 and older continues to grow at a steady clip, reaching a record $7.05 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2018.
According to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, the NRMLA/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index revealed that housing wealth for the senior set grew 1.4% in the last quarter.

The index rose to 254.10 in Q4 - the highest level since it was established in 2000.

NRMLA said the increase was largely driven by an uptick in senior home values, which rose an estimated 1.3%, and that the growth was offset by a 0.7% increase in senior-held mortgage debt.  Read more at Housing Wire.
Mortgage Rates Drop, Making Home Buying Less Costly

house and graph Mortgage rates declined decisively this week amid various market reports, a strong bond auction and further uncertainty around the Brexit deal, which all contributed to driving bond yields lower. At 4.31 percent, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is at its lowest since February of last year. While these low rates will certainly get the attention of prospective homebuyers, the supply of homes for sale remains stubbornly low.

We hope you enjoyed this week's Market News. For more information about how PMA can help you, please contact us.

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Information and analysis is obtained through third parties and is deemed accurate but not guaranteed.  Philadelphia Mortgage Advisors is a licensed mortgage lender by the PA Dept. of Banking and Securities, NJ Dept. of Banking & Insurance, the state of DE, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, MD Mortgage Lender #23004 and VA State Corporation Commission #MC - 6797. NMLS #128570.

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