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A Look Back: The Past Year In Real Estate and Mortgage

As the year comes to a close, let’s take a look back at what shaped real estate and the mortgage industry in 2017:

Interest rates weren’t as volatile as some expected. Although the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate two times in 2017, mortgage interest rates were fairly steady throughout the year. According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the highest monthly rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.2 percent in March and the lowest monthly rate was 3.81 percent in September, a difference of only .39 percentage points.

Home prices and home values continued to climb. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median selling price of existing homes nationally in October rose for the 68th straight month year-over-year. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index—which is an indicator of home values—rose each month in 2017 and the latest figures from September are at an all-time high.

The market shifted in favor of home sellers. Even with the continuing rise in prices, many areas of the country saw the real estate market swing towards sellers, especially in the second half of the year. One reason for this shift was because total housing inventory—as of the end of October—was 10.4 percent lower that of September of 2016 and now has fallen year-over-year for 29 straight months.

The Equifax data breach affected over 145 million people. This was one of the biggest stories of the year and will likely affect the credit industry well into the future. In July, the credit bureau Equifax experienced a data breach that impacted 145.5 million consumers. The breach allowed access to personal information such as names, addresses, social security numbers, and—in some cases—credit card data.

Several changes to mortgage rules helped borrowers. Two of the bigger changes to mortgage rules included Fannie Mae raising its standard loan limit to $424,100—up from $417,000—and Fannie Mae also making a favorable change to how student loan debt is viewed. Also, the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)—which helps “underwater” homeowners refinance—was extended until the end of 2018.

Although these newsworthy items were on a national scale, real estate and mortgage at the local level also experienced highs and lows in 2017. As always, to get the best information on your particular area, talk to your real estate agent and mortgage professional.

For more than 25 years, Omega Financial has been serving mortgage clients in Massachusetts. Our brokers have approximately 50 years in the mortgage business. You always will receive fast, courteous, and accurate information. Omega Financial, Inc. is a company duly licensed to operate in Massachusetts as a Mortgage Brokerage. We are located in the Town of Norwood, Massachusetts where we have been operating as Omega Financial Incorporated since 1988.

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