MReport September 2022

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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M REPORT | 57 O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST DATA Women of Color Particularly Impacted by Current Market Conditions "Women have always taken on the heaviest burden of a socioeconomic system that was designed to profit from their underpaid and undervalued labor," said Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women's Law Center. T he National Women's Law Center has re- leased a new report with the collabora- tion of the Insight Center and Groundwork Collaborative called The Roots of Discrimina- tion Housing Policy: Moving Toward Gender Justice in Our Economy, which explores the "inextricable" links between housing justice and gender justice and outlines a few solu- tions to advance the concept of housing as a public good. This report takes advantage of the Consumer Price Index, find- ing that prices went up 8.5% year over year in July while rent rose 6.3% over the same period of time, the highest rate in over 35 years. "Women have always taken on the heaviest burden of a socioeco- nomic system that was designed to profit from their underpaid and undervalued labor," said Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women's Law Center. "In this powerful collaboration, my colleagues excavate the harmful housing policy decisions that litter our history and created the mess we face today. And, importantly, this paper reminds us of the better policy choices and sensible solutions that can put us on a path to a more equitable tomorrow." The extensive 48-page report examines the current market conditions to find its effect on women of color. According to the report, wom- en—particularly women of color— were already more likely than white non-Hispanic men to spend the majority of their income on housing before the pandemic. Black and Latina women have consistently been more likely than white, non- Hispanic men to be behind on rent and mortgage payments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. "Stable housing is an essen- tial part of families' economic security—and a critical part of a healthy, sustainable economy," said Dr. Rakeen Mabud, Chief Economist and Managing Director of Policy and Research at Groundwork. "Policymakers must use every available tool to address the acute crisis that so many women and families are facing today." Andrea Flynn, Senior Director at the Insight Center added, "Safe, accessible, and affordable hous- ing must be invested in not as a commodity, but as a public good. Housing shapes opportunities and outcomes related to employment, education, health, transportation, caregiving, and overall well- being across generations. A safe home, in a community full of opportunity, is a prerequisite to human flourishing and economic security." Slowing Market Boosts Negotiating Power More and more buyer home-purchase agreements were cancelled in July to the highest mortgage rates seen in two years. A ccording to a new report from Redfin, roughly 63,000 people cancelled their home-purchase agreements in July 2022, roughly equal to 16.1% of homes that went under contract that month. With the exception of the first two months of the pandemic, that's the highest percentage on record. For comparison, that number was 15% in June 2022 and 12.5% year over year. This has been caused by higher mortgage rates and declining competition as more and more buyers are being priced out of the market. This has resulted in newfound buying power that has allowed buyers to walk away, using contract contingencies that allow them to back out because sellers refuse to bring the price down or make requested repairs. "Homes are sitting on the market longer now, so buyers realize they have more options and more room to negotiate. They're ask- ing for repairs, concessions, and contingencies, and if sellers say no, they're backing out and moving on because they're confident they can find something better," said Heather Kruayai, a Redfin real estate agent in Jacksonville, Florida. "Buyers are also skittish because they're afraid a potential recession could cause home prices to drop. They don't want to end up in a situation where they pur- chase a home and it's worth $200,000 less in two years, so some are opting to wait in hopes of buying when prices are lower." Alexis Malin, another Redfin agent in Jacksonville, warns that there's no guarantee buyers will be able to find better deals in the future. Annual home-price growth has started to slow—to 8% to- day from 17% a year ago—but prices are still on the rise and Redfin economists don't expect them to crash. "Some buyers who are backing out of deals have this mindset that the market is crashing, and they'll be able to get a home for $100,000 less in six months. That's not necessarily the case," she said. "Homes in many parts of Florida are still selling for a pretty penny, so I warn my buyers that the grass might not actually be greener on the other side." Redfin noted that buyers may also be backing out due to the rising cost of borrowing money, as they started searching for a home when the rate was 3% and cannot afford the additional cost as mortgage payments have soared over about 40% in the last year.

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