From low mortgage rates to higher appraisal thresholds, 2019 was an interesting year in the world of housing.
In honor of that, we compiled a list of the top 10 most-read articles that HousingWire published this year. This is a two-part series, so for now, here is the first half of our top 10.
Despite being published in late November, this story made it in to our top 10 most-read stories of the year. And why wouldn’t it? It’s pretty stunning to find out that about a third of homes in the U.S. are owned by those who are 60 and older. According to a report by Zillow, in the 2020s and 2030s, this generation will create a “Silver Tsunami,” allowing for more homes on the market as they move out of those homes.
Coming in at No. 9, the news of a Los Angeles-based startup is claiming it will get Americans into homes without a mortgage traveled fast. Fleq, which will launch this January in Pittsburgh, doesn’t plan on originating mortgages. Instead, its plan is to simply buy the home a purchaser wants and sell it back to them, bit by bit, in shares. The buyer can choose the length of time that they want to pay for the home.
Recently, HousingWire Columnist Logan Mohtashami described the past 10 years as the “no recession decade.” Even so, plenty of experts have been on edge, including Benn Steil, director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. This story, based on his report, highlights what Steil cites as a recession warning sign, namely, a “surging gap between the growth in home prices and household income.”
As this marked the first change to the appraisal threshold since 1994, this story was bound to turn heads. Of course, we said it September and we’ll say it again here: loans sold to or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac would still require an appraisal, per each agency’s rules.
They say bad news sells, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. No one hesitated to jump into a story about lower mortgage rates, and we can’t blame them. This particular headline was from July, when Fannie Mae issued a new forecast that predicted the average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage will be 3.7% in the second half of 2019. In the last two weeks alone, this rate has held steady at 3.74%, according to Freddie Mac.
Keep an eye out for part two of our Top 10 list, coming soon.