Mortgages are getting easier to qualify for, according to a new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The report showed that mortgage credit continued to increase in February, which is a welcome sign for America's homebuyers, especially with spring and summer on the horizon. The MBA's mortgage availability index hit 113.5 in February, up 0.44 percent from January.
"For the third month in a row, mortgage lenders and investors slightly expanded credit offerings in February on net, as a result of offsetting factors," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's chief economist. "Specifically, the recently implemented QM/ATR sections of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations stipulate that ARM loans must qualify at the highest allowable rate for the first five years of the loan."
Americans remain optimistic
According to Fannie Mae's February 2014 National Housing Survey, the majority of Americans are confident in the housing market.
Of the respondents to the survey, 50 percent noted that they expect home prices to increase in the next year. This increase comes after a significant decline in January. Those surveyed believe that home prices will likely increase 3.2 percent over the next 12 months.
In addition, 3 percent more said in February that now is a good time to buy compared to the month before. And while 57 percent of people believe the economy is on the wrong track - up 3 percent from January - the general outlook of the report reveals optimism in the housing market.
"Similar to the noisy economic and housing data published over the past few months, we've seen a corresponding increase in volatility in our survey results, particularly for home price expectations and perceptions about the ease of getting a mortgage," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "Weather may have played a role, as suggested by a 6 percentage point jump over the past two months in the share of consumers who say their household expenses are significantly higher than a year ago. This response would be consistent with higher home heating costs. Despite the volatile month-to-month changes, we believe that the housing recovery is continuing, but is not yet robust."
Don't forget a home inspection
Those buying a home in 2014 are reminded to have a home inspection. While this has become commonplace in nearly every home purchase, consumers are also reminded to choose a reputable home inspection company that will go the extra mile to ensure their needs are met.
A thorough home inspection can give any buyer the confidence to make a purchase.