MReport January 2018

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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44 | 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 The First-Time Homebuyer Impact The first-time homebuyer market is growing faster than other buyer demographics, according to Genworth Mortgage Insurance. T he latest First-Time Homebuyer Market report finds four key takeaways. First, purchase mortgages continue to grow—particularly those with less than a 20 percent down payment. Second, the supply of new single-family homes priced under $250,000 is not growing. Third, low down payment mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers continue to expand, led by the private mortgage insur - ance industry. And finally, despite an overall halt in home sales, first- time homebuyers continue to heat up the market. So what does this mean for the current housing cycle? According to Genworth Chief Economist Tian Liu's analysis, growth in the first-time homebuyer market has represented 85 percent of the growth in single-family home sales. Overall, the impact of the first-time homebuyers has changed the mortgage market. "In the housing market, the growing presence of first-time homebuyers is beginning to show up in rising homeownership rates among younger households," Liu explains. "They have a long way to go before getting back to their historical levels and differences among homebuyers matter to un - derstanding the housing market. First-time homebuyers are buying their first home to get more value than just a financial return—that's why they can outbid other buyers in their price range." Liu also notes that unlike repeat buyers, first-time homebuyers don't have a home to buy and sell at the same time therefore, the increase in first-time homebuyers is creating challenges in the housing market. "Their presence is an important reason why housing inventory has been declining, while sales and price growth have been up," Liu said. "Compounding this chal - lenge is that rising demand from potential first-time homebuyers has not been met by a large in- crease in affordable new homes." As a result of the pullback of repeat homebuyers this quarter, the supply shortage is hurting buyers and limiting the growth of the housing market. In addition, the disconnect between first-time homebuyer demand and supply means that home price gains will continue. "While many forecasters are predicting a slower pace of home price growth, we see that as an unlikely scenario in 2018," Liu added. "In fact, our expectation that the conforming loan limit would rise to around $450,000 in 2018 was already fulfilled even before the release of this report." Top 10 Markets for Financial Success What if borrowers could turn the stressors of financial stability into one of their greatest strengths? They can—depending on the location they choose to call home. A ccording to Wal- letHub's 2017 Best and Worst Cities for Wallet Fitness, making financially sound decisions—like saving up for a down payment on a home—is easier if a buyer con - siders a market with high media credit scores, low foreclosure rates, and low non-mortgage debt. In order to determine the best cities for financial strength, or "wal - let fitness" WalletHub's analysts compared 182 cities across five key dimensions, including credit stand- ing, responsible spending, savings, risk exposure, and earning power. These dimensions are then evalu- ated using 29 relevant metrics, with each metric graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 represent- ing the most favorable conditions for achieving top wallet fitness. Which city earned the No. 1 spot? With the highest median credit score in the entire rank - ing—along with the lowest non- mortgage related debt, Fremont, California, earns the title of the city with the best wallet fitness. Following suit is another California city that might come as a surprise. But with one of the highest media credit scores and lowest non-mortgage debt, it makes sense that San Francisco would rank No. 2. Ranking in the top for credit standing and responsible spending, Madison, Wisconsin, takes the third spot for wallet fitness. Rounding out the top five are Columbia, Maryland—which has the highest median household income—and San Jose, California, as one of the cities with lowest non-mortgage debt. Completing the top 10 financial - ly strong cities for homebuyers are Seattle, Washington; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Bismarck, North Dakota; Warwick, Rhode Island; respec - tively. WalletHub expert Ann Holmes, Assistant Dean for Finance and Administration for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland, expressed how in the end, financial stability is self-controlled no matter where one chooses to live. However, sometimes relocation is key. "Living within your means is the key no matter where you live," Holmes said. "That said, I know that some locations will never have the same opportunities for good-paying jobs. It's a tale as old as time. Sometimes, moving is the only way to stay afloat." "Living within your means is the key no matter where you live." —Ann Holmes, WalletHub expert and Assistant Dean for Finance and Administration for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland

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