Mortgage lenders increased prices to mitigate intense refinance demand, resulting in higher interest rates according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending March 19. Freddie Mac’s analysts expect rates to recede once lenders work through the backlog of borrowers seeking to reduce their payments.
The U.S. housing market was robust in February, logging a 6.5% month-over-month increase in sales and an 8% year-over-year rise in the median home price according to the latest Existing Home Sales report from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun tempered the news in light of the coronavirus outbreak, saying, “These figures show that housing was on a positive trajectory, but the coronavirus has undoubtedly slowed buyer traffic and it is difficult to predict what short-term effects the pandemic will have on future sales.”
Government-sponsored entities (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offering relief to renters and landlords of multi-family properties financed by loans backed by their agencies. Both GSEs worked with the Federal Housing Finance Agency to enact loan deferrals of varying lengths due to hardships caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Both agencies’ forbearance plans require that borrowers not evict tenants solely for non-payment of rent during designated time periods.
Tinseltown power couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell put action behind words and waived April rent for tenants in residential buildings they own in the Los Angeles area. Shepard and Bell joined a growing list of celebrities providing relief during the pandemic.