The House Committee on Financial Services has scheduled several hearings during the week of February 11, including one on homelessness on February 13 and another on affordable housing in rural areas on February 14.
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An analysis by Zillow looks at the income gap among homebuyers, existing homeowners and renters. The typical homebuyer in 2017 earned 6.5 percent more in household income than the typical homeowner. The gap in median household income between buyers and owners amounts to about $5,000 a year – and in some markets, the difference is more than twice that. Zillow points out that the disparity “underscores how much more expensive housing has become for buyers, and the difficulty faced by renters looking to become homeowners in high-demand markets.” For example, in 2017 a typical new buyer household in Dallas earned almost $12,000 more than the typical homeowner. Furthermore, the study shows that the average homebuyer earns twice as much as the average renter household – in some metros, the gap is almost three times. Significant challenges remain to achieving homeownership for low-income renter households: in 2017, the U.S. median household income was $79,900 for buyer households compared to $38,300 for renter households.
The Senate Banking Committee is scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing on February 14 for President Trump’s Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) nominee, Mark Calabria. Mr. Calabria is currently serving as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief economist and was previously the director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute. The FHFA oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which – through a small assessment on their books of business – fund the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), the first new program in a generation dedicated to building and preserving homes for the nation’s lowest-income people. The hearing will be held on February 14 at 10:00 a.m. ET in 538 Dirksen Senate Office Building. The hearing will be streamed live at: https://bit.ly/2I901kK
According to the National Association of Realtors, U.S. existing home sales in December dropped 6.4 percent month-over-month and 10.3 percent year-over-year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.99 million, which marks the lowest level since 2015. The median sale price for an existing home in December rose 2.9 percent from a year earlier, the smallest increase since March 2012 and an indication that home-price growth has slowed significantly. The Wall Street Journal suggests that existing home sales were “weighed down by a surge in stock-market volatility, uncertainty as the government shutdown began and rising interest rates, which pushed up mortgage rates in November to their highest level in seven years.”