Beyond the Headlines

The Decline in Geographic Mobility

Source: The Federal Reserve

During the past three decades, geographic mobility within the United States has declined steadily. A combination of factors is cited as the reason for the decline in a study from the Federal Reserve, including an aging population, rising homeownership rates, and a decrease in labor market transitions. These labor transitions are defined as a decline in the fraction of workers moving from job to job, changing industry, and changing occupation. The study notes, “Declines in internalmigration since the mid-2000s have attracted the attention of researchers and the public because they coincided with a dramatic housing market contraction and deep economic recession.”

Making sense of the story

  • Between 1984 and 1985, 20.2 percent or one out of every five Americans over the age of 1 year moved. In the most recent period, between 2012 and 2013, the mover rate was only 11.7 percent.
  • According to the Census Bureau, 23.2 percent of those 25 to 29 years moved between 2012 and 2013. After 30, the share declines with age and for those 65 years and older only 3.7 percent moved between 2012 and 2013.
  • As the population ages, measures of geographic mobility are unlikely to return to levels seen in the mid-1980s. After all, by 2030 it is predicted that there will be 72.1 million seniors.
  • Particularly important to the housing industry is the mobility of individuals between the ages of 25 to 29 years, as they represent future first-time homebuyers.
  • For the second straight period, the share of movers doing so to own rather than rent a home increased. Between 2012 and 2013, 5.2 percent of all movers in the younger age group did so to own rather than rent, whereas between 2011 and 2010, 4.4 percent did so to own rather than rent.
  • The most common reason for people in this younger age group to move between 2012 and 2013 was to establish their own household at roughly 14.2 percent.

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In other news …


Aging Boomers to Boost Demand for Apartments, Condos and Townhouses

Source: Wall Street Journal

Aging baby boomers could reshape the U.S. housing market if many move out of the houses where they raised families in order to move into cozier multifamily units, such as apartments, condominiums and townhouses. This could present a huge shift in the country’s housing demand.

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Watt delays fee increase for Fannie, Freddie

Source: The Hill

Rep. Mel Watt took the reins on Monday as regulator of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Watt stuck to his plan to delay an increase on fees charged by the government-sponsored enterprises. Watt has stated he is concerned about the impact of a fee increase on the availability of mortgage credit.

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Mortgage credit loosens a bit

Source: HousingWire

A new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates that mortgage credit availability has improved slightly. The index rating rose 0.6 percent from 110.2 in November to 110.9 in December.

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Federal Probe Targets Banks Over Mortgage Bonds

Source: Wall Street Journal

A new probe from federal regulators is examining whether Wall Street banks deliberately mispriced mortgage bonds to cheat clients in the aftermath of the financial crisis. While many post-crisis investigations have been winding down, this represents a new inquiry and a fresh round of scrutiny over questionable conduct when it comes to mortgage-bond sales by banks.

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Mortgage Rates Start 2014 on the Up and Up


The new year started with a round of increases in mortgage rates, which many experts believe reflects an ongoing trend for 2014. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.53 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending January 2, up from the last week of 2013, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

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Burbank to Brookline Soar in Suburb Shift: Real Estate

Source: Bloomberg

Experts posit that more capital will flow into secondary markets and select suburbs as the recovery broadens in 2014 because investors see areas just outside major metros as high quality investments. Many areas just beyond major markets are selling at premiums to real estate in cities.

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Yellen gets final stamp of approval to head U.S. Fed

Source: Reuters

This week the Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as the successor to Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve. She is the first woman to run the Fed in its 100-year history, and she will be tasked with scaling down the central bank’s bond-buying program.

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What You Should Know…

  • Mortgage applications increased by 2.6 percent for the week ending Jan. 3, according to index ratings from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
  • In addition, the MBA’s refinance index escalated 5 percent from the previous week after falling by 9 percent one week earlier. Comparatively, the purchase index dipped 1 percent from a week ago.
  • Overall, the refinance share of mortgage activity maintained the same level at 63 percent of total applications.


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