In early January a sharp decline in interest rates, coupled with buzzing announcements to reductions on popular federally-insured home loans, resulted in both purchase and refinance volume at their highest in six years, according to a CNBC report.
After rates dropped in the first full week of the year, total home loan applications almost doubled in the week following. By mid-month, purchase applications were two percent higher than the same time last year, and demand for refinances was at its highest in eight months. According to a Wall Street Journal report, rates on the popular 30 year fixed home loan were at their lowest since May 2013.
Big Housing Announcements
The housing industry was already the talk of the town after President Barack Obama announced cuts to mortgage insurance premiums on new government-insured Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. The reductions will result in more affordable monthly housing payments and provide new opportunities for as many as 2 million borrowers over the next three years. In other mortgage insurance news, legislation was again passed which makes any payments on mortgage insurance premiums in 2014 tax deductible.
It may be too soon to tell whether the housing market will continue on its strong start to 2015, or slow down. "We have to see strong and sustained income growth before we're going to see housing make a significant move upward," said Doug Duncan, the Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, in a recent Wall Street Journal report. A December Fannie Mae survey also revealed that only 64 percent of consumers said it was a good time to buy a home.
The Bottom Line
Continued low rates and higher demand for popular first-timer home loans may drive up housing activity. If you have any questions regarding housing or know of friends, family or colleagues who wish to discuss buying or refinancing a home, please get in touch.
Sources: CNBC, Wall Street Journal