Guardian Residential Lending Industry News, April 11-18, 2019

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In the Know: A Roundup of This Week’s Local and National Real Estate Stories 

Green Homes Sell for More; Gen Z Americans already saving to buy homes before they turn 30, and more…


Want to sell your home for more? Go green (HW, April 17)

More than 80% of homebuyers say energy efficient features are a must. A recent study found that homes that feature solar energy systems sold for 4.1% more on average than their counterparts in 2018.


Gen Z Americans already saving to buy homes before they turn 30 (National Mortgage News, April 11)

Fifty-nine percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 23 want to buy a house in the next five years, and more than half have already started saving for one, according to a survey by Bank of America.


Portland area home sales cool in March; prices rise, but just barely (The Oregonian, April 16)

New numbers from the listing service RMLS showed fewer sales, more homes on the market and only the slightest increase in prices over the past year.

That all suggests a calmer market for would-be homebuyers, while sellers will need to practice patience.


Portland area’s population growth is losing steam, census numbers show (The Oregonian, April 17)

The Portland area’s mid-decade growth spurt has slowed dramatically, new census numbers suggest.

Population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show the metro area’s population growth rate for 2018 was just 0.9%, or about 430 new residents a week — half what it was in 2016.

As a result, Portland has plummeted down the list of fastest-growing large metro areas, from 24th in 2016 to 42nd last year among the largest 100 metros. Growth has slowed in each of the area’s largest counties, but the numbers suggest the slowdown is more acute in the population center of Multnomah County.

Economists have said the region’s economy is essentially maxed out, which has slowed hiring and resulted in fewer people moving to Oregon for work. Migration is the state’s primary source of new residents.

Still, Portland’s growth remains strong by historical standards. It’s gained an average of 30,000 people per year over the past two decades, a level exceeded only by the even more rapid growth of the 1990s.


The HGTV effect: 60% of home shoppers are willing to renovate (HW, April 15)

Americans spent $336.9 billion on remodeling projects, up 7.4% from the $313.6 billion a year earlier.


West Coast Buyers Get One Benefit From Sales Slowdown: Choice (Bloomberg, April 15)

The tightest housing markets in the U.S. are unwinding in time for the key spring selling season, giving buyers an edge for the first time in years.


12 cities with the highest purchasing power for home buying season (National Mortgage News, April 12)

Portland is on the list of the 12 cities where consumers wield the most purchasing power for the upcoming home buying season. Right now, mortgage rates remain low and wages continue to grow.
“While 2018 was largely characterized by declining affordability, ending the year with a 5% yearly decline in house-buying power, this trend reversed sharply in early 2019,” Mark Fleming, chief economist for First American Financial Corp., said in a press release. “Moderating home prices, in conjunction with gains in household income and declining mortgage rates, boosted affordability for potential homebuyers.”


Portland’s metro area was tied for the 4th-lowest rental vacancy rate in 2018 (PBJ, April 12)

The Portland region’s rental housing vacancy rate fell to 3.8 percent last year. That ties the Rose City, Boston and Denver for the fourth-lowest rate among the nation’s 75 largest metro areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


Here’s what you need to know about first-time homebuyers (HW, April 12)

First-time buyers generally take out smaller mortgages than repeat buyers. 
And, this gap is widening. In 2000, the average origination mortgage balance was $117,000 for first-timers was and $143,000 for repeat buyers. In 2016, the average origination mortgage balance was $213,000 for first-timers was and $273,000 for repeat buyers.

First-time buyers traditionally have lower credit scores than repeat buyers.
In 2000, first-time buyers had an average credit score of 670, while repeat averaged 705 – representing a 35-point difference. The subsequent housing boom and then bust drew credit scores down around 2003 and then up again in 2007. They continued to rise until 2013 and then remained stable for three years. In 2016, the spread between the two was 37 points – relatively unchanged from 2000.

First-time buyers have smaller student loan balances than repeat buyers. 
While in 2000, average student loan balances for both first-time and repeat buyers were about the same, around $13,000, although first-timers generally had a slightly higher balance. But average student loan balances have trended upward over the last 17 years, and the disparity between the two demographics grew. As of 2016, the conditional average student loan debt for first-time buyers was $29,000, compared with $42,000 for repeat buyers.

First-time buyers are getting younger every year.
The average first-timer was 35.4 years old in 2016 – quite a bit younger than 2000’s average of 37.9. The age of first-time buyers has increased incrementally every year for the past 17 years. Conversely, repeat buyers are getting older, averaging 44.7 in 2000 and reaching 47.5 in 2016.

First-time buyers are purchasing homes in cheaper neighborhoods than repeat buyers.
Researchers looked at the average income in zip codes where buyers were purchasing homes. They determined that there is a relatively consistent difference of about $9,000 in average income in neighborhoods chosen by first-timers versus repeat buyers.


Just For Fun

Own a Game of Thrones castle for $650K (Curbed, April 12)



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