The financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 sent the American housing market into a tailspin. New construction all but ground to a halt, and the market for existing homes was at its lowest point in recent history. As hundreds of thousands of families watched the equity in their homes slip away, the demand for new mortgages dropped to a staggeringly low number. It's been a long slow struggle back, but the US economy is finally making a welcome recovery. New constructions are on the rise, the real estate market is on the rebound, and more and more consumers are applying for new mortgages. Proof of the recovery, if proof were needed, can be found in the annual mortgage statistics that are collated by both the government and other independent research firms.
If you're interested in the current state of the US mortgage market, you need look no further. We've gathered together some of the most telling mortgage statistics to give you a general overview of the American housing market.
The US mortgage market continues to feel the effects of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, but the numbers are on the rise. According to the Federal Reserve, outstanding mortgage debt for single family residences declined significantly from 2011 to 2012, but has been growing in fits and starts since 2013. Interestingly, outstanding mortgages for multifamily residences held steady, and even managed grow, despite the economic crisis. By contrast, non-residential mortgages have remained relatively steady, even showing some consistent growth over the same four year period.
|1-4 Family Residence||10,200,883||9,975,949||9,884,642||9,852,661||9,850,599||9,868,822||9,886,777||9,855,269|
The forecast for the US mortgage market is strong, with an anticipated compound annual rate of growth of 2.9%.
The following Bankrate table shows current mortgage rates in your local market.
Despite the general decline in the American housing market, home secured debt still makes up more than 75% of all consumer debt in the United States. That includes new and existing mortgages, as well as home equity lines of credit (ie reverse mortgages and home equity loans). As of 2013, and the latest US census, mortgage and home secured debt stood at just over 8.5 trillion dollars; a 12% drop from peak levels recorded in the last quarter of 2008.
From 2010 to 2013 the number of families with home-secured debt fell from 47.0% to 42.9%. These numbers reflect both a decline in home-ownership, and a reticence on the part of consumers to take out extended home equity loans. That being said, home-secured debt remains the most common type of debt held by families in the US.
Again, according to the latest census numbers, the conditional median value of home-secured debt for families in the United States fell by 2% from $117,500 in 2010 to $115,000 in 2013. The conditional mean value of home-secured debt during the same period fell from $165,400 to $156,700, showing a 5% drop in the average home-secured debt being held by families in the US. These declines clearly show a loss of consumer confidence following the financial crisis of 2008. Still, forecasts are positive, and all economic predictors point to an uptick in mortgages and other home-secured loan products.
There has always been a small percentage of mortgages that slip into delinquency or default, regardless of the prevailing economic climate. From 1979 through to 2006, the share of mortgage loans that were classed as ‘seriously delinquent' (in excess of 90 days past due or in the process of foreclosure) averaged 1.7%; with a low of 0.7% in 1979 and a high of 2.4% in 2002 when the country experienced its first recession of the new century. However, the rise of ‘sub-prime' or ‘near-prime' lending in the middle of the decade led to an inevitable increase in mortgage defaults and delinquencies. Indeed, by 2008 the number of home loans determined to be ‘seriously delinquent' or in default rose to 4.5%, nearly double the levels seen in 2002. The increased level of delinquencies preceded a sharp rise in home foreclosures, peaking at 1.2 million by the first quarter of 2008. To put that in perspective, that's an increase of 79% over the first quarter of 2007.
Following the recession of 2008, lenders became much more conservative in their lending practices. While that did not necessarily stem the tide of existing delinquencies, it did help to curb the rise of any new defaults or foreclosures. Mortgage loans that originated in the early to mid 2000's still account for the largest percentage of delinquencies, though they only make up roughly 38% of all outstanding home loans. Mortgages that originated after 2009 are performing much better, with a much lower rate of delinquencies and defaults. In fact, the number of mortgages written post 2009 now account for nearly 62% of all active loans, yet they only make up 15% of those classified as seriously delinquent.
There are two primary mortgage formats in the United States, the fixed-rate and the adjustable-rate (ARM). Fixed-rate mortgages remain the most common, and most popular, mortgage product for US home buyers. With a fixed-rate mortgage, interest rates are set during the loan's origination and they remain constant throughout the life of the loan. Fixed-rate mortgages are offered at a variety of terms, Fixed-rate mortgages are offered at a variety of terms, typically in 15, 20 or 30 year formats, with a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage be the most popular throughout the US. The main advantage of these types of loans is that buyers are protected from any sudden and unexpected increases in interest rates while they hold the mortgage. Monthly payments remain predictable, as does the total cost of the loan itself.
Fixed-rate mortgages were the standard format prior to 1982 when congress passed the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act, after which banks and savings and loans in the United States were able to offer adjustable-rate mortgages to their customers. With an adjustable-rate mortgage, the initial interest rate on the loan is set below the current market value applied to fixed-rate mortgages. Over the term of the loan, interest rates are adjusted at predetermined intervals based on a set of market indexes. The main attraction of adjustable-rate mortgages is that they allow for lower initial monthly payments, and often allow consumers to qualify for larger home loans. However, with an adjustable-rate mortgage monthly payments can change frequently over the life of the loan, and when interest rates rise that can present a financial burden for the borrower. Still, adjustable-rate mortgages can be attractive to first time buyers, and to homeowners who intend to flip their property or expect to move within a short span of time.
Adjustable-rate, also known as variable-rate, mortgages may not be the most popular format in the US, but they are the prevailing home loan product in many other countries. Indeed, in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada they are the most common type of home loans, and in these countries it is extremely unusual to find a fixed-rate rate mortgage product. This is because the basic structure of the mortgage lending industry in most countries doesn't support long term lending. With the notable exceptions of Germany and Austria, in most European countries the predominant mortgage format remains the ARM or variable-rate loan.
Interest rates on both fixed and variable rate mortgages are constantly in flux, and a review of their performance over the last several years reveals some interesting trends.
Interest rates on a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage were at their highest when they peaked at 18.45 during the fourth quarter of 1981. Indeed, from 1979 through 1990 interest rates on a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage remained firmly rooted in the double digits, and it is only in the last twenty years that they have slowly returned to, and ultimately bettered, pre-1980 levels.
Rates on 15 year fixed-rate mortgages have been relatively more stable over the last twenty years, reaching their highest level of 8.58 in the early to mid nineties. Since then, rates and points on 15 year mortgages have slowly declined, once again reaching an all time statistical low. The same holds true for 5 year fixed-rate mortgages and 1 year variable rate home loans, with both hovering at their lowest rates for products in their class.
The general public might find it surprising to learn that interest levels on most standard mortgages are lower now than they have been in over forty years. While much of this is due to the economic downturn of the last decade or more, it does make for a buyer's market, with current rates greatly favoring the consumer.
Of course, mortgage rates are also influenced by region, and where you buy a home will have a big impact on the available interest rates. Currently, rates are lowest on the upper East coast, with New York and New Jersey leading the country in most affordable mortgage rates. Arizona, New Mexico, and Florida continue to have the highest rates in the country, following the historical trends. To see where your state ranks among the national averages, check out this handy interactive map. It's updated regularly so you can track the rise and fall of mortgage rates in your region of the country.
The recent economic crisis may have dealt the US housing market a devastating blow, but it is slowly returning to form. Spurred on by a strengthening economy and record low interest rates, real estate markets across the country are returning to (and some cases exceeding) their pre-recession levels. But as consumers return to the market, housing costs have begun to rise, particularly in some of the most desirable regions of the nation. For a greater perspective on the rising cost of home-ownership, let's take a quick look at the 5 most expensive states for home buyers in the U.S.
While most states have seen their real estate markets rebound thanks to a strengthening economy, some are still a better buy for homeowners than others. Now that we've looked at the 5 most expensive states in which to buy a home, it's only fair that we touch on the 5 least expensive housing markets. They are, in no particular order:
Top mortgage lenders in the United States (via MortgageStats.com):
Top loan servicers in the United States (via MortgageStats.com):
At the heart of the mortgage market lies the home buyer, and their characteristics can tell us a lot about the housing market. As we round out our review of mortgage and housing statistics, it's seems appropriate that we take a brief look at home buyers in the United States, and how they navigate the mortgage market.
As is to be expected, the housing market is subject to constant change, reacting as it must to the prevailing economic climate. The statistics we have provided for you here are a virtual snapshot of the US mortgage market as it responds to a strengthening economy and the return of consumer confidence in the American consumer. It should, we hope, provide a deeper insight into the current state of the US housing and mortgage markets.