By Anthony "TJ" Powell, Executive Vice President, AAFMAA Mortgage Services LLC (AMS)
2019 Got Off to a Shaky Start
At the outset, 2019 looked like it would be a tough year for homebuyers. Prices were rising in most housing markets — on average 4.4% higher from the previous January (1) — and observers anticipated that the Federal Reserve ("Fed") would raise the benchmark “discount” interest rate several times, adding to the cost of mortgages and other loans. Instead, the Fed cut the benchmark rate three times, bringing it down to the range of 1.5 to 1.75%. As of December 5, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (with a 0.5 point/fee) was 3.68% (2).
Historically low interest rates and greater mortgage credit availability (3) led to a boom in the home loan refinance and purchase markets in 2019, especially among millennial homebuyers. In fact, millennials now account for 37% of all home buyers (4), making them the most active generation of buyers for the sixth-consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
2020 Mortgage Industry Outlook
In 2019, home sales data showed that many homebuyers left large, expensive housing markets like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco for mid-size cities (5) that offered a better quality of life, and affordable home prices.
NAR expects that migratory trend to continue in 2020. Cities in Arizona, Nevada and Texas will continue to benefit from shoppers looking for more affordable alternatives to California. Meanwhile, shoppers from expensive Northeast markets will find attractive home prices in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida, says NAR.
For military buyers specifically, recent legislation will help their money stretch even further. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (6) of 2019, which goes into effect January 1, 2020, will allow buyers using a VA Loan to purchase above their county loan limit with zero down payment.
We’re Here to Help
The personal touch you’ve come to expect from AMS will remain the same. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of AAFMAA, we deliver a deep level of dedication and attention to detail to ensure your family has the financial solutions you need at prices that make sense.
We’ll remain focused on you, our Members, with the advice and services you need as your military life progresses. We consider you part of our family and hope you feel the same. So from our family to yours, have a happy and safe holiday season. We look forward to serving you in the New Year and for many years to come.
Anthony “TJ” Powell is currently the Executive Vice President of AAFMAA Mortgage Services LLC and has over 20 years of experience in the housing finance industry. He is also a Veteran of the US Navy. He deeply cares for and understand the mortgage needs of the military community.
- CoreLogic, https://www.corelogic.com/blog/2019/03/home-price-index-audio-clip-january-2019.aspx
- Freddie Mac, http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms
- Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA): https://www.mba.org/2019-press-releases/december/mortgage-credit-availability-increased-in-november
- National Association of Realtors ®(NAR): https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/gen-xers-adult-children-influence-their-buying-decisions-younger-millennials-become-buying-force
- Realtor.com: https://www.realtor.com/research/2020-national-housing-forecast
- US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): https://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/documents/circulars/26_19_23.pdf