Big Boost for Buyers
Housing affordability has reached an 18-month high. Commenting on the release of the latest Mortgage Monitor Report, Black Knight Financial Services Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske said, “The decline in 30-year rates has been equivalent to a 15% increase in buying power, meaning that prospective homebuyers shopping for the average-priced home could now purchase $45,000 more than last fall while keeping monthly payments the same.”
Mortgage interest rates remained stable according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending August 1. Regarding the absence of movement, Freddie analysts said, “The combination of low mortgage rates, tight labor market and high consumer confidence should set up the housing market for continued improvement in home sales heading into the late summer and early fall.”
Data breach victims hoping to get a $125 check from Equifax will be disappointed. Equifax’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for the security breach that exposed private information of nearly half the U.S. population included a choice between cash and a combination of free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance for affected consumers. So many people have chosen the cash option that the anticipated $125 amount will be drastically lower. The FTC says the monitoring and other protections are a far better value.
What would you pay for the ability to choose your neighbors? Quite a bit according to a survey by rent.com. Single-family home dwellers are willing to pay an additional $157/month for the privilege of choosing their neighbors, while those in multi-family properties would go to $179/month. The “neighbor premium” also varies by area. Urban residents are willing to pay an extra $187/month to select neighbors, while those in rural and suburban communities said they would pay $161 and $158/month respectively.