Economist Commentaries Archive

August 2017 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is up from last month but down from a year ago. Mortgage rates increased to 4.19 percent this August, up compared to 3.74 percent a year ago. Housing affordability declined from a year...

Home Purchase Originations Rose by 10 Percent in 2016, But are Still Below Pre-Housing Crash Level

Amid improving macroeconomic conditions, residential lending continued to increase in 2016, based on the recently released 2016 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data. [1] [2] The number of first-lien loan originations for the purchase of one-to-four unit properties intended...

2016 Survey of Consumer Finances Takeaway: Income and Wealth Share of 90 Percent of Families Has Declined in Past 27 Years (1989-2016)

The Federal Reserve Board just released the much anticipated 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), a survey conducted every three years that collects information about family incomes, their net worth/wealth, and other financial characteristics of families. The survey shows...

91 Percent of Closed Sales in August 2017 Had Contract Settlement Contingencies

Contract contingencies give the buyer and seller the right to back out of the contract if these conditions (contingencies) are not met. According to a monthly survey of REALTORS®, 91 percent of closed sales in August 2017 had contract...

August 2017 Pending Home Sales

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that August’s pending home sales pace is down 2.6 percent from last month and also down 2.6 percent from a year ago. Pending sales represent homes that have a...