Monthly Archives: January 2012

Housing Crisis to End in 2012 as Banks Loosen Credit Standards

BY: KRISTA FRANKS BROCK

Capital Economics expects the housing crisis to end this year, according to a report released Tuesday. One of the reasons: loosening credit.

The analytics firm notes the average credit score required to attain a mortgage loan is 700. While this is higher than scores required prior to the crisis, it is constant with requirements one year ago.
Additionally, a Fed Senior Loan Officer Survey found credit requirements in the fourth quarter were consistent with the past three quarters.
However, other market indicators point not just to a stabilization of mortgage lending standards, but also a loosening of credit availability.
Banks are now lending amounts up to 3.5 times borrower earnings. This is up from a low during the crisis of 3.2 times borrower earnings.
Banks are also loosening loan-to-value ratios (LTV), which Capital Economics denotes “the clearest sign yet of an improvement in mortgage credit conditions.”
In contrast to a low of 74 percent reached in mid-2010, banks are now lending at 82 percent LTV.
While credit conditions may have loosened slightly, some potential homebuyers are still struggling with credit requirements. In fact, Capital Economics points out that in November 8 percent of contract cancellations were the result of a potential buyer not qualifying for a loan.
Additionally, Capital Economics says “any improvement in credit conditions won’t be significant enough to generate actual house price gains,” and potential ramifications from the euro-zone pose a threat to future credit availability.

Fannie Mae sees 2012 home sales up 3.5% to 4.74 million

by ANDREW SCOGGIN

The housing sector will likely take incremental steps forward in 2012, though total originations will fall on fewer refinances, according to economists at Fannie Mae.

The second half of the year should outpace the first six months in terms of growth, though fiscal policy and political uncertainty in Washington will likely drive consumer and business activity, the mortgage giant said.

Chief Economist Doug Duncan said positive consumer activity and challenges in housing and the global economy will equate to moderate growth for the year.

“We’re entering 2012 with decent momentum, especially on the employment side, which is fostering positive household and consumer behavior,” Duncan said in a release. “Unfortunately, we expect this momentum to slow as we move through the first half of the year.”

The report released Friday forecast total home sales to increase 3.5% to about 4.74 million in 2012 from 2011 with another 5% gain in 2013 to nearly 5 million. New home sales could jump 10.4% for 2012. Continue reading