What’s new in the housing industry? Here’s a quick look at the biggest news and trends over the past few months:
Newly Constructed Homes Gain Momentum
The sale of newly constructed, single-family homes surged in February, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000. That was a 6.1% increase from January and a 12.8% increase from the year prior. The pickup in new home sales was likely due to a drop in prices, as well as unseasonably warm weather. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this February was the second warmest on record.
Fed Funds Rate Goes Up… Again
After nearly a decade of declining interest rates, the U.S. Federal Reserve voted to raise the Fed Funds Rate — not once, but twice. In mid-December, the Fed raised rates by 25 basis points, then did the same again in March, placing it at a range of 0.75% and 1.00%.What does this mean for consumers? Let’s break it down.
Fed officials expect to hike rates by 25 basis points two more times in 2017. That means, if you are considering buying a home, it’s best to do so before rates go up again. Read more about the impact of rising rates here.
Existing-Home Sales Reach 10-Year High
Data released in mid-April brought welcomed news for the housing industry, with home sales reaching a record high for the first time in 10 years. Existing-Home Sales is a report that measures the sales of existing (i.e., not new construction) single-family homes, town homes, condos, and co-ops across the country.
The strong data was an indicator that people are still interested in making the dream of homeownership a reality. But low inventory continues to pose a challenge for prospective buyers.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), said in a statement, "Although finding available properties to buy continues to be a strenuous task for many buyers, there was enough of a monthly increase in listings in March for sales to muster a strong gain. Sales will go up as long as inventory does."
The key to keeping up with buyer demand? Get more homes on the market. If you’re interested in selling your home, the current housing climate is rife with opportunity.
Myth vs. Reality: What It Takes to Buy a Home
I need 20% down to buy a home.
Almost two-thirds of millennials who recently bought a home put down less than 20%, with 36% of them putting down less than 5%.
I need a credit score above 780 to buy a home.
While the average borrower’s FICO score is around 720, the minimum credit score requirement for a loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac is 620, and the minimum score for an FHA loan is 500. 
It’s cheaper to rent.
If you plan to live in your home for more than 1 year and 11 months, buying is cheaper than renting. 
Keep in mind, each borrower’s circumstances are different. You should consult with a mortgage professional to understand what requirements will apply in your situation.
 U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, New Residential Sales, February 2017.
 NAR Existing-Home Sales, March 2017.
 Digital Risk survey of 1,344 millennials between the ages of 18 and 34.
 February 2017 Origination Insight Report by Ellie Mae®.
 Zillow’s Q4 2016 Breakeven Horizon.