Real estate challenges and opportunities in the New Year. Whether you’re buying a home, selling a home, or investing in real estate here’s what you need to know about the housing market in 2019.
As we start 2019, there are some important changes that you need to know about, starting with the increased loan limits from FHA.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced an increase in loan limits in most areas across the country for 2019. Maximum loan limits for FHA forward mortgages will rise in 3,053 counties, but in 181 counties, FHA loan limits will remain unchanged. Recognizing that it’s getting more expensive to buy a home, FHA loan limit ceilings in high-cost areas of the country will increase to $726,525 from $679,650, and FHA will also increase its floor to $314,827 from $294,515. The National Mortgage Limit for FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), or reverse mortgages, will also increase to $726,525.
According to the FHA, the rise in loan limit was prompted by, “robust increases in median housing prices.” Reuters polled 35 property market analysts who generally agreed. When asked to rate affordability of U.S. homes on a scale of 1 being the cheapest and 10 being the most expensive, the median response was 7.
“Already, rising mortgage payments eclipse home-value gains, a phenomenon that can both encourage homeowners to stay put – to hold onto low mortgage rates that are disappearing in the rear-view mirror – and discourage would-be first-time buyers,” says Aaron Terrazas, Director of Economic Research at Zillow, in Zillow’s 2019 housing market forecast.
It’s not all bad though, The Urban Institute had some good news to report in its November Chartbook. FHA cash-out refinances increased by 6.3 percent from 141,885 in 2017 to 150,883 in 2018, likely because owners have more home equity to play with. And, while increasing levels of debt is a problem, serious mortgage delinquencies continued to decline with just 2.13 percent of loans seriously delinquent or in foreclosure in the second quarter of 2018.
Research by CoreLogic observed that Alaska had the same mortgage delinquency rate as in September 2018, and states overall saw a decrease in serious delinquencies. However, their research found the less serious 30-day delinquency rate jumped in areas where Hurricane Florence had a significant impact. It’s another reminder that natural disasters can cause considerable economic disruption on top of the destruction and devastation they already bring to the table.
Over 12 percent of those who can afford to buy a home will change states, according to migration research by LendingTree. Most people who left a state headed south. Florida is the number one destination for those moving out of any state. It’s a particularly attractive relocation spot for retirees. Coastal states are attractive, but can also be a risky investment. In their housing forecast, Zillow pointed to growth in flood loss projections for homes inundated by rising sea levels and storms surges over the course of a typical 30-year mortgage.