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HUD No. 98-149
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Thursday
Or contact your local HUD officeApril 9, 1998


WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today released the results of its latest survey of market conditions for fixed rate, long-term, level payment home loans as well as interest rates for home construction funds. The March 1, 1998, survey found that the most frequently quoted contract rate for HUD/FHA Section 203(b) mortgages being sold in the secondary market for immediate delivery was 7.00 percent. Typical prices for 7.00 percent contract interest rate loans produced a national average secondary market yield of 7.06 percent.

The findings are obtained from a survey of home loan market conditions conducted by officials in 70 HUD Field Offices. Information is obtained from over 240 lending institutions and builders located in major metropolitan areas across the country.

Regional FHA secondary market yields were mixed. Changes in secondary market yields on the most frequently quoted Section 203(b) contract rate ranged from a decrease of 7 basis points in the North Central region to an increase of 4 basis points in the Middle Atlantic and Southeast regions.

In the FHA primary mortgage market, the average FHA effective rate for all reported primary market quotes was 7.32 percent. Lenders reported that the most frequent rate being quoted to potential FHA homebuyers for 60 days or more "lock-in" commitments was 7.50 percent with an average of 8 basis points and an effective interest rate of 7.51 percent. Average points for the 7.50 percent primary rate were: zero basis points in the Northeast, 17 basis points in the Middle Atlantic, zero basis points in the Southeast, North Central, and Southwest, and 14 basis points in the West.

The national average contract rates for commitments on conventional loans for new and existing homes in the primary mortgage market went up 6 basis points to 7.22 percent in new home loans, and up 5 basis points to 7.22 percent in existing home loans.

The proportion of HUD offices reporting an adequate supply of construction funds on March 1 was 98 percent for FHA and 98 percent for conventional financings.

For the trend of builders' plans, the percentage of builders planning to expand construction activity for all priced homes was 19 percent on March 1, up 2 percent from one year ago. In the latest survey, the majority of builders remained in the stable building plan category for each home price class. The proportion on March 1 was 78 percent for low-priced homes, 72 percent for moderate-priced homes, 71 percent for high-priced homes, and 81 percent for all homes.

On March 1, the proportion of HUD Field Offices reporting a stable trend in builders' unsold inventory of new homes was 74 percent, while 21 percent noted a declining trend and 5 percent an advancing situation. An advancing trend is indicative of a growing inventory of homes, meaning either overproduction and/or slower new home sales. Conversely, a declining inventory of new homes indicates somewhat of a sellers' market, where demand would be relatively stronger than supply. One year ago the proportion of offices reporting a stationary trend was 88 percent, a declining trend 11 percent, and an advancing trend 1 percent.

Date of next release: April 23, 1998

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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