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Confluence of events could bolster housing market

NEW YORK – Jan 12, 2015 – A confluence of events could bolster the U.S. housing market, especially for entry-level buyers, according to Fitch Ratings.

While no recent actions will independently push the needle for housing higher, they could cumulatively have a “relatively meaningful impact on homebuyer psychology, pent-up demand and housing trends in 2015 and beyond,” Fitch says.

During the past few months, the government has started loosening credit qualification standards for entry-level homebuyers. It has also addressed lender concerns about loan put-back risks and a key Dodd-Frank issue/risk that might have curtailed residential lending.

In addition, fuel prices have fallen sharply, increasing consumer discretionary income and making outlying suburban markets potentially more affordable for homebuyers.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also announced last week that it would be reducing mortgage insurance premiums by 0.5 percentage points to 0.85 percent. And this past fall, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced plans to lower the minimum downpayment requirements for loans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back for certain home buyers to 3 percent from 5 percent.

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