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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Start of year sees strongest home price growth since 2005

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Hispanic homeownership is booming

This week, the U.S. celebrated Cinco de Mayo! Fun fact – Mexicans don’t celebrate this back in Mexico, except maybe in the state of Puebla. Also, to clear all confusion, this isn’t the Mexican independence day, which actually occurs September 16, but celebrates the Battle of Puebla, which the Mexicans fought and won against the French despite the overwhelming numbers against them back in 1862.

But, since the hype is still high during this time as we eat street tacos and sip margaritas, it’s also a good time to examine the state of Hispanics in the U.S. economy and home buying market.

As we discussed back in April, currently, the Hispanic community continues to drive homeownership rates in the U.S.

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals posted last week that Latinos are the youngest, fastest growing demographic in the U.S., and are even the primary driver of the new mainstream economy.

In other news that comes as no surprise – home prices are increasing. In fact, home prices rose more in the first two months of 2018 than the start of any year since 2005, according to the latest Mortgage Monitor from Black Knight.

About 60% of all U.S. metros saw an acceleration in the rate of price increases through February this year. San Jose, California saw the largest increase in home prices, rising 24% year-over-year. In fact, its $226,000 annual increase in median home prices is even greater than the actual median prices in more than half of the nation’s 100 largest markets.

“While almost all markets are seeing home prices rise, rates of appreciation vary across the country with the highest being seen in Western states,” said Ben Graboske, Black Knight data and analytics executive vice president. “In fact, of the 11 markets with price gains of 10% or more, all 11 are in the Western United States.”

“Across the country, we see an approximately 60 to 40 split in the number of markets experiencing home price appreciation versus those with some degree of deceleration,” Graboske said. “By far, the heaviest areas of acceleration are San Jose and Las Vegas. The former has seen the rate of appreciation increase by 18% from just under 6% at the start of 2017 to a 24.1% annual rise in home prices as of February.”

In all, median home prices grew 1.24% nationally since the start of 2018, with January and February each having the strongest respective single-month growth rates since 2005.

A full 98 of the top 100 largest markets and 97% showed annual increases in home price appreciation. The lower-priced homes are seeing the brunt of this appreciation, increases at a rate of 8.4%, but now, even higher-end homes are starting to pick up speed – increasing at an annual rate of 5.6%.

One report suggests the changing housing demographics in the U.S. could be attributed to the shrinking size of the American middle class.

An article by Mikaela Sharp for Business Insider says that the shrinking middle class, or those making between two-thirds and double the median household income, has made several key changes to the housing market.

Some of those changes include more rental demand, more demand for homes at the highest and lowest price points

From the article:

Among households headed by those under age 65, middle-income households plunged from 57% of American households in 1970 to only 45% today—a decline of 12%. (Though today’s 45% is up slightly from an average of 43% over the previous seven years.)

But even as home prices rise, lenders are increasingly searching for ways to give a certain type of borrowers loans. These borrowers, while they come with outstanding amounts of student debt, are also probably one of the most credit-worthy borrowers.

That’s right, we’re talking about doctors.

Mortgages made just for doctors have been growing more popular over the past few years, according to an article by Helen Zhao for CNBC.

From 2008 to 2017, Bank of America explained the mortgage volume issued to physicians grew by about 900%, according to the article.

From the article:

Smaller banks also report increases. Stillwater, Oklahoma-based Bank SNB, owned by Simmons First National, issued $50 million in physician home loans last year and is on track to double that amount this year, said Drew Daniels, a mortgage sales manager who launched the loan program.

Meanwhile, SunTrust Banks’ largest subsidiary, based in Atlanta, has doubled its staff dedicated to serving physicians and medical practices over the last four years as it sees more demand for the mortgages, according to a company spokesman. And LeverageRx, a website that compares physician mortgage lenders, has seen a 51 percent increase in doctors searching for the loans year-to-date, compared with the same period last year.

With an average annual salary of nearly $300,000, physicians enjoy higher salaries and a more stable job market than many other professions, making them a low-risk and favorable target for mortgage lenders.

Programs doctors can take advantage of include mortgage options which allow them to put little to no money down, are more forgiving in their debt-to-income ratio calculation and don’t require mortgage insurance.

Have a great week!

Source: Housing Wire

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