Some may say winter is coming, but where the mortgage industry is concerned, so is a competitive spring purchase season.
Though property values did steady at the end of the year, they're up on an annual basis and expected to rise again as buyers battle over a limited supply of housing stock. Despite this, favorable conditions in certain local markets still offer consumers better purchasing power odds.
While in cities like Cleveland "real" house prices shot up 20% year-over-year in December, other areas saw such growth only reach about 5%, according to a First American Financial Corp. analysis of home values, factoring in local wages and mortgage rates in large cities.
From New York to Seattle, here's a look at 12 cities with the best purchasing power odds for the upcoming spring market.
The data, from the First American Real House Price Index, measures annual home price changes, taking local wages and mortgage rates into account "to better reflect consumers' purchasing power and capture the true cost of housing."
The December 2018 data is ranked by smallest year-over-year changes in RHPI for cities where the current value is less than 100 (an RHPI reading of 100 is equal to housing conditions in January 2000).
No. 12 New York, N.Y.
Year-over-year RHPI: 14.55% RHPI: 93 Median sale price: $404,163
Aerial view of lower Manhattan New York City
Tierney - stock.adobe.com
No. 11 Minneapolis, Minn.
Year-over-year RHPI: 14.42% RHPI: 94.85 Median sale price: $246,225
No. 10 Virginia Beach, Va.
Year-over-year RHPI: 13.97% RHPI: 99.75 Median sale price: $205,900
The boardwalk and highrise hotels in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
jonbilous - stock.adobe.com
No. 9 Raleigh, N.C.
Year-over-year RHPI: 12.64% RHPI: 86.83 Median sale price: $242,625
No. 8 Pittsburgh, Pa.
Year-over-year RHPI: 11.55% RHPI: 68.53 Median sale price: $140,725
Steven - stock.adobe.com
No. 7 Baltimore, Md.
Year-over-year RHPI: 11.2% RHPI: 86.93 Median sale price: $237,250
Baltimore, Maryland - July 24, 2013: Colorful early 19th century homes line Montgomerey Street in the Federal Hill Historic District
Picasa/lspi138 - Fotolia
No. 6 Chicago, Ill.
Year-over-year RHPI: 11.2% RHPI: 71.21 Median sale price: $212,190
View of the city of Chicago from Hancock Center
Sergiy Nykonenko/SergiyN - stock.adobe.com
No. 5 Hartford, Conn.
Year-over-year RHPI: 11.16% RHPI: 76.10 Median sale price: $210,500
No. 4 Washington, D.C.
Year-over-year RHPI: 10.80% RHPI: 91.12 Median sale price: $370,227
Old Post Office Pavilion
Zack Frank - stock.adobe.com
No. 3 Oklahoma City, Okla.
Year-over-year RHPI: 10.44% RHPI: 73.91 Median sale price: $149,000
No. 2 Boston, Mass.
Year-over-year RHPI: 9.29% RHPI: 88.35 Median sale price: $438,286
BOSTON, MA, USA - JUNE 28, 2017: Aerial image of Fenway Park sports stadium home to the Boston Red Socks
Felix Mizioznikov - stock.adobe.com
No. 1 Seattle, Wash.
Year-over-year RHPI: 5.23% RHPI: 93.33 Median sale price: $451,894
While some industry forecasts predicted origination volumes would fall 7% quarter-to-quarter in 4Q, early earnings numbers from Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citi and PNC Bank show they were down just 3% when purchased loans are excluded.
The FHFA and Treasury will allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to hold more capital as part of the Trump administration's plans to release the companies from conservatorship. But it is unclear whether the incoming Biden administration will keep the mortgage giants on the same reform path.