Housing experts say there are many reasons why Americans shouldn’t be concerned about a housing crisis repeat anytime soon, including:
1. Fixed-rate loans have become more common. Many Americans have refinanced to a fixed-rate mortgage so when interest rates begin to rise – which is largely predicted to happen next month – there will not be as much shock with short-term Adjustable Rate Mortgages compared to the 2008-2009 era. In 2008-2009, many Americans had their ARMs reset and then could no longer afford their mortgage payments, which sent defaults skyrocketing.
2. Old distress is being flushed out through bank repossessions. Bank repossessions have recently reached the highest levels in more than two years. But the reason behind the climb has been attributed to banks who are flushing out old distress rather than adding more.
3. Foreclosures have fallen dramatically. Despite the uptick in bank repossessions, the number of loans in foreclosures is 2.1 percent. That marks the lowest level since 2007, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
4. First-time buyer programs are bringing new buyers into the market. New programs to assist first-time home buyers with a down payment are growing. The Federal Housing Administration this year moved to reduce its annual mortgage insurance premiums by up to $900 per year. That move alone has been predicted to help jump-start home sales by up to 5.6 million, which would be the most since 2006. What’s more, it could lure 140,000 new buyers to the market, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
5. The economy is strengthening. Over the past five years, the U.S. has added jobs at a steady rate, now replacing many of the jobs that had been lost during the recession. Also, the quality of jobs is improving as the economy strengthens.
6. New-home construction remains dismal. The supply of existing homes for-sale is lower today than it was in 2000 – despite the population growing by more than 14 percent. Also, new single-family starts remain 60 percent below the peak in 2006 and are about 25 percent below the average for the past 15 years. An oversupply of the homes on the market isn’t likely any time soon.
National Association of Realtors (NAR)