Access to mortgage credit in the United States tightened in the first quarter of 2015, marking a pause in easy accessibility for buyers.

It had been getting progressively easier to obtain a mortgage since 2012, but the first several months of this year marked a change, according to according to the latest Zillow Mortgage Access Index (ZMAI).

mortgage credit price home us

mortgage credit price home us

Mortgage credit availability is almost unchanged from a year ago, meaning despite fluctuations from quarter to quarter, there has been little progress toward making mortgages easier to obtain over the last year. In the long term, experts expect mortgage access to continue improving.
In a survey earlier this summer of more than 100 economists and housing experts, more than 60% said they expect mortgage regulations to loosen further, with many expressing concern the market will become too lax over the next year.

A high number in the Zillow Mortgage Access Index means credit is easier to obtain, while a lower number means credit is tighter.

Mortgage credit was easiest to obtain in July 2004, when the ZMAI reached 136.4. But availability tightened over the next few years. In May 2007, both the housing and mortgage availability began a multi year plunge, leaving home values down more than 22% and credit the tightest in recent history. Mortgages were the toughest to obtain in September 2010, when the ZMAI was at 11.8.
Today, access to mortgage credit has improved significantly, and is at 65, more than two thirds of the way back to 2002 pre-crisis levels.

‘Recent market volatility is causing some lenders to be more cautious in their underwriting. Tighter mortgage access will make it harder for people with low credit scores to get a home loan, and even people who can get approved for a mortgage will have fewer options in terms of available mortgage products,’ said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell.

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A climb in home sales throughout the United States amidst insufficient supply caused home prices to steadily rise in most metro areas during the second quarter of 2015.
The median existing single family home price increased in 93% of measured markets, with 163 out of 176 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) showing gains, according to the latest quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors.

Just 13 areas or 7% recorded lower median prices from a year earlier and the number of rising markets in the second quarter increased compared to the first quarter, when price gains were recorded in 85% of metro areas.

The data also shows that 34 metro areas or 19% experienced double digit increases but this was a decline from the 51 metro areas in the first quarter while 19 or 11% double digit increases in the second quarter of 2014.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said that the housing market has shifted into a higher gear in recent months. ‘Steady rent increases, the slow rise in mortgage rates and stronger local job markets fuelled demand throughout most of the country this spring,’ he explained.

‘While this led to a boost in sales paces not seen since before the downturn, overall supply failed to keep up and pushed prices higher in a majority of metro areas. With home prices and rents continuing to rise and wages showing only modest growth, declining affordability remains a hurdle for renters considering homeownership, especially in higher priced markets,’ he added.

The national median existing single family home price in the second quarter was $229,400, up 8.2% from the second quarter of 2014 when it was $212,000. The median price during the first quarter of this year increased 7.1% from a year earlier.

The five most expensive housing markets in the second quarter were the San Jose, California metro area, where the median existing single family price was $980,000, followed by San Francisco at $841,600, Anaheim-Santa Ana, California at $685,700, Honolulu at $698,600, and San Diego at $547,800.

The five lowest cost metro areas in the second quarter were Cumberland where the median single family home price was $82,400, Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio, at $85,000, Rockford, Illinois, at $94,700, Decatur, Illinois at $96,000, and Elmira, New York at $98,300.

Total existing home sales, including single family and condo, increased 6.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.3 million in the second quarter from 4.97 million in the first quarter, and are 8.5% higher than the 4.89 million pace during the second quarter of 2014.

‘The ongoing rise in home values in recent years has greatly benefited homeowners by increasing their household wealth,’ said Yun. ‘In the meantime, inequality is growing in America because the downward trend in the home ownership rate means these equity gains are going to fewer households,’ he added.

At the end of the second quarter, there were 2.3 million existing homes available for sale, slightly above the 2.29 million homes for sale at the end of the second quarter in 2014. The average supply during the second quarter was 5.1 months, down from 5.5 months a year ago tamiflu cost.

Metro area condominium and cooperative prices, covering changes in 61 metro areas, showed the national median existing condo price was $217,400 in the second quarter, up 3.1% from the second quarter of 2014 when it was $210,800. Some 50 metro areas, 82%, showed gains in their median condo price from a year ago while 11 areas had declines.

Rising home prices weighed on affordability in the second quarter compared to the second quarter of last year despite an uptick in the national family median income to $66,637. To purchase a single family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5% down payment would need an income of $49,195, a 10% down payment would require an income of $46,605, and $41,427 would be needed for a 20% down payment.

A breakdown of the figures show that total existing home sales in the Northeast increased 10.3% in the second quarter and are 8.6% above the second quarter of 2014. The median existing single family home price in the Northeast was $269,300 in the second quarter, up 5.2% from a year ago.

In the Midwest, existing home sales jumped 13.4% in the second quarter and are 12.7% higher than a year ago. The median existing single family home price in the Midwest increased 8.7% to $182,000 in the second quarter from the same quarter a year ago.

Existing home sales in the South fell rose 1.1% in the second quarter and are 6.3% above the second quarter of 2014. The median existing single family home price in the South was $202,900 in the second quarter, 8.7% above a year earlier.

In the West, existing home sales climbed 8.1% in the second quarter and are 8.1% above a year ago. The median existing single family home price in the West increased 9.6% to $325,200 in the second quarter from the second quarter of 2014.

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