Jul 19, 2019

The average starter home in West Virginia is only $42,000

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Adapted from howmuch.net; Chart: Axios Visuals

While credit card and auto loan rates aren't falling, mortgage rates are.

What's happening: U.S. mortgage giant Fannie Mae said in a recent report it expects average U.S. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rates will drop to 3.7% in the second half of 2019, lowered from expectations of 3.9% in the second half analysts predicted just a month ago. Mortgage rates averaged 4.4% in Q1 and 4% in Q2.

And while the housing market remains out of reach for many Americans, there are some locations where so-called starter home prices remain significantly below the national average.

  • West Virginia has the lowest median starter home price in the country, while Washington, D.C. has the highest.

Go deeper: Millennials are relandscaping the housing market

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Investors are snapping up houses at a record pace

The housing market slump continues, and one little-discussed driver has been the increasing share of housing owned by investors who are looking for financial gains rather than a place to live.

The big picture: The supply of starter homes is already historically low and with prices continuing to rise and young potential buyers more indebted than ever, there's little sign that the struggles in the housing market will correct in the near-term, analysts say, even with low mortgage rates.

Go deeperArrowAug 8, 2019

Car loans mean banks don't need high interest rates to rake in cash

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Ally Financial was the latest bank to declare a major profit windfall in its second quarter earnings report, as the U.S. banking industry's largest auto lender reported a profit increase of 67%.

Why it matters: Americans are borrowing record sums to buy new vehicles — and used ones — and they continue to pay relatively high interest rates. Banks are seeing big profits as a result.

Go deeperArrowJul 19, 2019

The average time to close a mortgage has dropped dramatically since 2017

There's been a quiet revolution going on in the mortgage market.

The big picture: In 2017, it took an average of 74 days to close on a mortgage, per LendingTree. In May 2019, the most recent month for which data is available, that number had come down more than 50%, to 36 days. The decline is a function of an increasing number of lenders embracing digitization. The surprise is that it took this long.

Keep ReadingArrowJul 21, 2019