The Mortgage Bankers Association expects the interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to jump from 6.2 percent to 6.5 percent by the end of the third quarter, as investors lose hope that the Federal Reserve will slash short-term rates any time soon. In a long-term forecast released this week, MBA Chief Economist Doug Duncan predicted existing-home sales will decline by about 7 percent this year compared to 2006, and that sales of new homes will decline by about 8 percent. Sales in both categories are projected to rebound in 2008 by about 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively, in 2009. Duncan expects existing-home price appreciation to slow "significantly" over the next three years, and that median prices should remain relatively flat for new and existing homes. Price gains for both types of housing are expected to be limited to about 2 percent in 2008 and 2009. With interest rates up and home sales down, total residential mortgage production in 2007 is projected to be $2.39...
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