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Buying a home is often the largest purchase anyone ever makes, and it is becoming more difficult for many Americans. According to a recent survey released by Realtor.com, nearly 60 percent of people hoping to buy a home this spring are willing to get a fixer-upper. The increase in these types of home purchases is also having an impact on the housing market.

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Few homebuyers anymore put a full 20 percent down on their purchase, since there other alternatives. The Federal Housing Administration offers one of the most popular low-down-payment mortgages with the FHA loan. While these loans once had strict guidelines for qualification, which impacted their accessibility, the FHA has recently streamlined its procedures.

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When homeowners build up enough equity, many have historically tapped into that value for a variety of purposes. According to recent figures, this has begun to change. Even though the amount of equity available is reaching new highs, cash-outs or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are falling.

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As the second half of 2018 emerged, there was evidence that mortgage lenders had begun loosening underwriting standards. Even government lending standards for some loans became less restrictive, and consumers were able to access credit easier. This activity could present greater challenges to lenders in the future.

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It might seem that fix and flip lending won't be as profitable as in the past now that the market is more saturated and other conditions are less favorable. This isn't necessarily the case. Since any type of real estate is a numbers game, fix and flip investors can still create a successful business under the right conditions.

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Fix and Flip Lending by the Numbers

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Currently, the state of affordable housing in the U.S. is grim, according to a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. The rule of thumb for affordable housing has long been the percent of income spent, with around 30 percent considered a good average, leaving a robust amount of disposable income for other necessities. But almost 50 percent of renters spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, meaning they are considered cost burdened.

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The housing market in 2018 had its benefits for both buyers and sellers. Buyers were able to take advantage of lower interest rates toward the first half of the year, and sellers capitalized on skyrocketing home prices and the competition among buyers to snap up a smaller supply of homes for sale. As we move into 2019, some of these factors have shifted slightly, which will again affect buyers and sellers in different ways.

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Think that single men are more likely to own their own home than single women? Think again. In the most current figures, a surprisingly higher percentage of single women owned their homes than single men did. The data is based on the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. It looked at single owner homes occupied by their owners, divided by gender. In metropolitan areas, on average, women own 22% of homes, compared to 13% of men.

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As of January 1, 2019, the caps on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans will be rising across much of the United States. The climb is driven by the increase in the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) conventional mortgage loan limit for the new year, which is in turn spurred by climbing median home prices in many places throughout the country.

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Both property owners looking to sell and lenders need to be aware of how code violations affect them.

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