Confidence about the outlook for the next six months improved across all property types, according to the February 2015 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey.
In the single family market, the REALTORS® Confidence Index – Six-month Outlook increased to 75 (72 in January 2015; 68 in February 2014). For the first time, the index for townhomes and condominiums also hit the 50 mark. An index of 50 means that the number of respondents who view the market as “strong” outnumber those who view the market as “weak.”
REALTORS® reported that the 0.5 percentage points reduction in the monthly mortgage insurance premium and the offering of the 3 percent down payment loan were likely to help homebuyers. However, REALTORS® in states with large oil/gas industries (TX, OK, ND) expressed concern about the impact of the low oil prices on their economies.
 For loans originated starting January 26, 2015, FHA charges a monthly mortgage insurance premium of 0.85 percent on the outstanding loan balance, down from 1.35 percent. The GSEs (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) also increased the maximum loan to 97 of the house’s value, up from 95 percent. However, loans with lower down payment are charged higher extra fees (a.k.a. loan level pricing adjustments) for the increased risk.