The Psychology Behind the Recovery

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 54 of 67

Th e M Rep o RT | 53 O r i g i nat i O n s e r v i c i n g a na ly t i c s s e c O n da r y m a r k e t ANALYTICS the latest credit availability grows "Divergent trends" lead to an overall loosening in mortgage credit. m ortgage credit access opened up in January following a flat December, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) revealed. MBA's Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a gauge of lending standards measured with data from the AllRegs Market Clarity product, increased 1.85 per- cent to an even 113. The index was benchmarked at 100 in March 2012. MBA chief economist Mike Fratantoni said January's net gain in credit offerings "represented the combination of two divergent trends." "First, the market continues to adapt to the new QM (qualified mortgage) regulation by eliminat- ing products that do not fit inside of the QM box. This tightening is being offset, both in the market for higher-balance loans, where lenders continue to loosen terms for jumbo loans, and in the refi market, where more lenders are offering streamline refinance pro- grams," Fratantoni said. MBA's latest index fits with Fannie Mae's January National Housing Survey, in which more consumers expressed their belief that getting a mortgage today would be "easy." Both measures stand in contrast to the Federal Reserve's most recent Senior Loan Officer Survey, which showed slightly tighter stan- dards among lenders on net—a discrepancy Fratantoni addressed in MBA's release. "The Federal Reserve's Senior Loan Officer Survey showed mortgage credit standards loos- ened somewhat among larger institutions but tightened for smaller lenders. The data underly- ing the MCAI is predominantly from larger, wholesale lenders and investors," he explained. economist examines link Between tech Boom, Home Prices Trulia's Jed Kolko argues correlation is not causation. a new analysis by Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko notes some inter- esting numbers for the housing market of the top 10 "tech hubs" across the United States. Using Census Data, Kolko cre- ated a "tech score" for each of the largest 100 metro areas, averaging "the share of local employment in the software publishing, data pro- cessing and hosting, and Internet publishing, broadcasting, and search-portal industries," as well as the area's "share of local employees in the computer programmer, soft- ware developer, and Web devel- oper occupations" compared with the rest of the population. San Jose, California; Seattle, Washington; and San Francisco, California, were the top three mar- kets. Other markets at the top of the list include Austin, Texas; and Raleigh, North Carolina. Kolko notes month-to-month asking prices nationally were up 1.1 percent in January, the largest gain since June 2013. Despite recent protests bemoaning the fate of San Francisco's rising cost of housing, year-to-year home prices in tech hubs like the Bay Area remain fairly consistent with the rising national average of 11.4 percent, a 2 percentage point difference from the 13.4 percent gain in the 10 larg- est tech hubs. The slight increase from the national average is not based on technology businesses in the area, according to Kolko. Rather, tech hubs "had steeper price declines during the bust and have fewer homes stuck in foreclosure today— and both of those factors are driv- ing the current price rebound." However, certain conclusions are clear: Homes, on average, are more expensive in tech hubs around the nation. Compared to other areas, the average cost per square foot of a home in the top tech areas is $242. Compared to the rest of the nation's cost per square foot of $133, homes in the tech hub represent an 82 percent difference in cost. Qualifying factors must be considered for current cost-per- square-foot numbers in relation to pre-bust numbers, writes Kolko. In 1990, home prices in tech hubs were 52 percent higher than the national average. Major research universities, technically skilled workers, computer manufacturing, and nice climates made certain areas more attractive to technology companies. Tech hubs were more expensive in the pre-Internet age, and the trend continues. San Francisco is often repre- sentative of all technology-centric markets, but the city's unique geography makes purchasing a home particularly arduous. On average, out of 1,000 homes, a mere 117 new homes are new constructions. Other tech hubs like Raleigh and Austin experienced new home construction at rates ten times and eight times higher than San Francisco, respectively. San Francisco's location near an ocean, on a bay, and adjacent to steep cliffs severely hampers new housing construction that could lower home prices for a growing workforce. Kolko notes home afford- ability is not a new problem for tech hubs; rather, the rising cost of homeownership stems from low home production coupled with an attractive area.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of TheMReport - The Psychology Behind the Recovery