The LA Times reported this weekend that lenders, like Wells Fargo, have begun loosening some of the restrictions which have stymied many would-be home buyers over the last several years. The article, “Lenders begin easing requirements to get a mortgage,” can be found here. The article cites lower required down payments, as low as 3%, by Fannie Mae and additional policy clarifications from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac is expected to match Fannie Mae’s down payment requirement, according to the article. The article also noted more flexibility with credit scores by major player Wells Fargo.
HUD and the Census Bureau have reported gains in home sales from November to December in 2014, and from 2014 over 2013. According to HUD:
Sales of new single-family houses in December 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Census Bureau.
This is 11.6 percent (±16.5%)* above the revised November rate of 431,000 and is 8.8 percent (±17.9%)* above the December 2013 estimate of 442,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2014 was $298,100; the average sales price was $377,800. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 219,000. This represents a supply of 5.5 months at the current sales rate. An estimated 435,000 new homes were sold in 2014. This is 1.2 percent (±2.9%) above the 2013 figure of 429,000.