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Commentary

How Affordability Affects Housing’s Spring Season

Outlook | March 27, 2017

Recent indications of stronger growth convinced the Federal Reserve to raise the Federal funds rate this month and to signal further increases later this year. These Fed actions are unlikely to derail the moderate improvements in growth and employment, but rising interest rates will reduce mortgage originations and put a cap on home sales in 2017. Read More

Reflation & the Housing Market

Outlook | February 27, 2017

Recent reports indicate that consumer price inflation is rising, reigniting the reflation debate—whether or not we are shifting from a world of low consumer price inflation to one of moderate inflation. Rising inflation would have a significant impact on housing markets by driving up mortgage interest rates. Read More

Can I Age in Place?

Insight | February 21, 2017

Older Americans overwhelmingly prefer to age in place. According to our recent survey of the 55+ population, nearly two-thirds of older homeowners want to remain in their current home. And 44 percent of older renters want to do the same. Read More

Multifamily 2017 Outlook: Positioned for Further Growth

Multifamily Outlook | February 7, 2017

The multifamily market has enjoyed several years of rapid growth and seems poised to continue to grow in 2017, although at a more moderate pace. Read More

Grappling with Uncertainty

Outlook | January 30, 2017

The U.S. economy is now in its eighth year of expansion and the housing market is coming off its best year in a decade. Prospects remain good for future growth. However, uncertainty weighs on our Outlook for 2017 and 2018. We must grapple with uncertainty about fiscal policy, foreign investments in U.S. real estate, and the size of the mortgage market. Read More

After housing's best year in a decade, what's next?

Outlook | December 20, 2016

The year is drawing to a close and it is time to take stock of where housing and mortgage markets have been and where they likely are headed. Read More

Interest Rates Headed Higher. What that Means for Housing.

Outlook | November 30, 2016

Interest rates surged higher over the past two weeks following the U.S. presidential election.  The 10-year Treasury closed at 2.35 percent on November 18, 2016, up over 50 basis points since the close on November 8. Higher rates have been driven by higher than expected inflation and the near certainty the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) will raise the federal funds rate at their December meeting. Read More

Three Trends That Are Shaping the Future of Housing

Insight | November 16, 2016

Three long-standing trends–ones that have been building quietly over decades–ultimately will have more influence on housing than the week-to-week oscillations of mortgage rates or any of a host of other short-term indicators of housing activity. Read More

We've Been Here Before

Outlook | October 20, 2016

Economic growth is bouncing back from a weak first half, the labor market is holding steady with low unemployment and modest wage gains. And Fed watchers are coming to the conclusion that a December rate hike is likely and worldwide economic growth is weak and prospects have gotten worse. We've been here before… last year. Read More

Why are the Experts Pessimistic About the Future of Homeownership?

Insight | October 12, 2016

The national homeownership rate has been declining for over a decade. According to the experts, we can expect further declines. Read More

Mortgage Originations Poised to Surge

Outlook | September 20, 2016

Even as housing market activity begins its seasonal cooldown, our forecast for the best year in total home sales since 2006 looks increasingly on the mark. Read More

The Return of the $2 Trillion Mortgage Market

Outlook | August 15, 2016

For the first time since 2012, mortgage originations are forecasted to top $2 trillion in 2016. Here’s why. Read More

Fun After Fifty

Insight | July 19, 2016

According to the common wisdom, Baby Boomers — like Peter Pan — refuse to grow older. Instead of retiring, they launch second — and third — careers. Instead of moving to seniors-oriented communities, they “age-in-place” or, even better, move into the heart of a walkable city. Human interest stories in the Sunday papers claim that 70 is the new 40 and 60 still has bad skin and trouble talking to girls. These clichés make great copy, but how accurate are they? Read More

Despite Global Risks, U.S. Housing Markets Remains Stalwart

Outlook | July 12, 2016

With the U.K.'s decision to exit from the European Union, global risks increased substantially leading us to revise our views for the remainder of 2016 and all of 2017. Nonetheless, the turbulence abroad should continue to create demand for U.S. Treasuries and keep mortgage rates near historic lows; thereby, allowing mortgage originations to surpass 2015's level. Read More

Will the homeownership rate fall below 50 percent?

Outlook | June 28, 2016

In this month's Outlook, we review recent economic developments and their impact on our projections for the remainder of 2016 and all of 2017. We then shift our focus to the future of the homeownership rate. Finally, we highlight recent trends in refinancing. Read More

How to Worry About House Prices

Insight | May 31, 2016

Decades from now, scholars will still be debating the causes of the Great Recession of the mid-2000’s, but it’s generally agreed that the collapse of the housing sector was at or near the eye of the hurricane. House prices fell around 25 percent between 2006 and 2011 erasing $6.2 trillion in housing wealth. As a result, almost 23 percent of borrowers found themselves underwater, owing more on their mortgages than their houses were worth. Delinquencies and defaults skyrocketed. Almost two million borrowers lost their homes to foreclosure and short sale. The homeownership rate in the U.S. dropped from 69 percent in 2006 to less than 64 percent today. Read More

Low mortgage rates keep housing on track

Outlook | May 18, 2016

Housing remains on track for the best year in a decade despite tepid economic growth and a labor market that's throttling back. Low mortgage interest rates are supporting affordability in the face of rapidly rising house prices. And lower mortgage rates are providing additional opportunity for current homeowners to refinance. Housing remains a bright spot in the economic outlook and should propel the U.S. economy forward for the balance of this year. Read More

Life's a Beach

Insight | April 26, 2016

So you've always dreamed of living at the beach, but you're discouraged by the high price of beachfront property? Not to worry. We've found just the place for you. Three bedrooms, two baths, just under 2,000 square feet.  Zillow®'s estimate of the value of the home is $105,398, but the listed price was recently reduced to $54,900. Oh, one more thing. According to the information on Zillow, the property is "Located very close to 'Wash Away Beach,' home…will have to be moved off the property soon due to the land eroding away." Read More

Economic outlook darkens, but housing remains bright spot

Outlook | April 22, 2016

Recent data darkened the growth outlook for the first quarter of 2016. However, despite the disappointing economic reports, we still forecast housing to maintain its momentum in 2016. Read More

Improving America’s housing stock, one loan at a time

Insight | March 31, 2016

Home improvement spending keeps the U.S. housing stock up-to-date and adequate to the needs of a changing population. Many home improvement and maintenance expenditures are small and paid for out-of-pocket, but large projects tend to be financed through cash-out refinances or home equity loans. With many millions of homeowners “underwater”, this source of credit has been limited, but as house prices rise, home improvement lending should rise in tandem. Given strong house price appreciation this year, we expect home improvement lending to increase by at least $5 billion in 2016 relative to 2014. Read More

Slower Growth and Lower Mortgage Rates

Outlook | February 29, 2016

The pace of growth in the U.S. slowed to a crawl in the last quarter of the year, raising questions about how much life is left in this aging expansion. In addition, expectations of global growth continued to ratchet down. The market volatility in the first two months of 2016 only heightened concerns about the health of the world economy and probably forestalled any further monetary tightening by the Fed until June. Read More

Knowledge Is Good

Insight | February 29, 2016

The opening shots of the 1978 film “Animal House” show idyllic scenes of the fictional Faber College. At one point, the camera zooms in on a statue of Emil Faber, the founder of the college. The inscription on the base of the statue displays Faber’s motto: Knowledge Is Good. Read More

Featured Insight

Can I Age in Place?

Older Americans overwhelmingly prefer to age in place. According to our recent survey of the 55+ population, nearly two-thirds of older homeowners want to remain in their current home. And 44 percent of older renters want to do the same. Read More

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