Fed Eases Concern on Home Affordability


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, October 28th, 2013 – The Federal Reserve’s recent decision to keep its bond buying as part of monetary measures to stimulate the U.S. economy augurs well for prospective home buyers wary of the increases in mortgage interest rates, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reports. In recent months, the Fed’s plans of scaling down its bond purchases have been exerting upward pressure on mortgage interest rates, thus causing some concern in the housing market, the full service realtor notes.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a press briefing this past September, refused to commit to a reduction in the bond purchases this year. He stressed that the program was “not on a preset course,” a departure from his statement in June that the Fed is looking to cut back before year-end. What the Fed now wants is further evidence of solid economic growth before a bond-buying cutback can be initiated.

Chances also look good that this “accommodative policy” will be retained by the Fed with the Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers, reported having withdrawn his name from those being considered as replacement of Fed Chairman Bernanke. Summers’ withdrawal, media reports say, makes it more likely for Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen to assume the agency’s chairmanship and continue Bernanke’s policy.

Interest rates drop

Interest Rate Drop

As a result of these signals from the Fed, the 30-year fixed-mortgage rate on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace have since dropped to 3.97% from a recent high of 4.49%. At these current levels, Sarasota Bay Real Estate maintains that the interest rate impact on home affordability appears negligible.

The real estate company cites a recent Goldman Sachs analysis which showed that even at a 6% interest rate for a 30-year mortgage, the home market remains hospitable for median borrowers. The assumption here is for the typical homebuyer having a $50,000 annual household income and making a 20% down payment.

The most recent reading of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in its Home Affordability Index at 172.7 supports this premise. This index shows that the average American family has 172% of the median income necessary to buy, with a 20% down payment, a home valued at $208,700, the median sales price in May.

Superb homes priced in the median range

Sarasota homes for sale at this price level are already quite attractive. At the Pinehurst Village just north of the University Parkway Corridor, the current MLS has sales-listed three-bedroom homes with floor areas of about 1,500 square feet and prices quoted around NAR’s May median price estimate.

The Palm Aire Golf & Country Club adjacent to this village even has equally desirable options priced under the $100s. One is a second floor one-bedroom condo in a two-story building. Newly listed, it has a 954-square-foot floor area and an asking price of $94,500.