MReport July 2017

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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50 | TH E M R EP O RT 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 Houston Tops for Domestic Movers Data shows Americans are moving to Houston, Chicago, and San Antonio in 2017. H ouston, Chicago, and San Antonio have been ranked the top domes- tic markets for incom- ing movers, according to data from U-Haul. A stable economy and low cost of living attract DIY movers to these areas. According to U-Haul, Houston is one of the most popular cities of 2017, a position it has held for eight years in a row, despite a 3.4 percent decline in mover arrivals from 2015 to 2016. "Houston is growing by leaps and bounds," said Jerry Lunn, President of the U-Haul Company of Gulf Coast Texas. "In the last year, I've seen countless skyscrap - ers and condos being built." U-Haul International reports the list of Top 50 Destination Cities every year, which is determined by the number of arriving one- way U-Haul truck rentals in a city over a calendar year. The three top cities are joined by Orlando— which dropped from third to fourth place this year—Las Vegas; Brooklyn, New York; Philadelphia; Kansas City, Missouri; and Charlotte, North Carolina, which jumped from 14 to 10. The tenth position was previously held by Phoenix in 2016, but the city dropped to 14 this year. The last five spots on the list were taken by Alexandria, Virginia; Memphis, Tennessee; Bakersfield, California; and Durham, North Carolina. Movers are attracted to top cities like Houston due to the job op - portunities and diverse selection of industries, according to U-Haul. In fact, Houston is the country's No. 1 job creator, said Gabriel Mendieta, President of the U-Haul Company of East Houston. It's also home to 24 Fortune 500 companies, has a low cost of living, and boasts low taxes that help stretch a paycheck. Millennials Want to Buy, Forced to Rent A new survey shows most younger adults long for homeownership, but affordability is getting in the way. T he number of home- owners in the U.S. has reached a historic low, and many question if the largest living generation— the millennials—will purchase homes at similar rates to previ - ous ones. According to a recent survey, they plan to—but afford- ability is holding them back. According to an Apartment List survey—which included input from 24,000 millennials—80 percent of renters in the U.S. plan to eventually purchase a home; however, affording a home is a significant obstacle. The survey showed that based on current saving rates, millenni - als born between 1982 and 2004 vastly underestimate the amount of savings necessary for a down payment. Many millennials may need up to a decade to save up the needed amount. In many parts of the country, recent improvements in the labor market have not made starter homes any more affordable to mil- lennials. According to Apartment List, this leaves millennials with three choices: extend their budgets and purchase at higher debt-to-in- come ratios, heightening the risk of mortgage default; migrate to more affordable areas; or delay buying a home. Most, it seems, are choos- ing the latter. Using Dallas as an example of this trend, Apartment List found that of 82 percent of millennials that plan to buy, 72 percent are waiting because they cannot afford to buy. Forty-five percent of millennials say they are not ready to settle down, and 37 percent are waiting for mar - riage to purchase a home. According to Apartment List's survey, the expected number of years to save for a down payment in Dallas was 5.1 years; however, based on their current savings rate, Dallas millennials will need 9.3 years on average to save enough for a 20 percent down payment. Though millennials in Dallas estimate the down payment to be $20,380, based on the me - dian apartment condo price, a 20 percent down payment would be $33,660— 39 percent more than the estimated amount. Apartment List said homeowner- ship has traditionally been a key component of the American Dream and the primary driver of wealth creation for families. Despite recent leveling off following the aftermath of the 2008 housing market collapse, rates have not shown signs of re - covering to their prerecession peak. Lack of savings combined with the shortage of affordable starter homes could leave a large number of mil- lennials renting for years. Bad News for Starter-Home Hopefuls Data shows new home sales might not improve as much as expected. T hough the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that sales of new homes are expected to jump 10.7 percent from 560,000 in 2016 to 620,000 this year, the U.S. Census Bu - reau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Develop- ment jointly announced in May that new residential sales for April were down 11.4 percent from the revised March rate of 642,000. This puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate at 569,000. "[This is] bad news, especially for first-time and lower-income buyers," said Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner, Ph.D. "This month's drop in home sales and the stagnation in new home inven - tory will continue to exacerbate the national inventory shortage which will result in even higher prices and lower affordability." The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2017 was $309,200, with the average sitting at $368,300. More often than not, new homes are more expensive than existing ones. Builders have to handle shortages of land and labor on top of rising costs of materials and difficulty getting financed. According to NAR, the price tag is likely to continue rising. NAR predicts prices will jump 5 percent in 2017 and an additional 3.5 percent in 2018. "A short supply of new homes means more competition and higher prices for everything else," Kirchner said. "Buyers will have even more difficulty finding a suitable home to purchase—and they've been having enough trouble as it is." According to Kirchner, a decrease in production of lower- priced homes will exacerbate the persistent trend away from the sale of affordable homes. "The percentage of new homes under $200,000 since November has dropped by about a third since the previous two years," Kirchner said. "Builders are focus - ing on the mid to upper price ranges, which is reflected in the lack of affordable new homes on the market. Without more afford - able options, millennials and other first-time buyers will continue to face challenges getting into their first homes."

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