Loosened Lending Restrictions Expected in Next Few Years: Study

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A survey of housing experts found that, while most believe it will become easier to obtain a mortgage in the next few years, renters may still not buy homes because of their economic situations.

More than 60% of those polled believe regulations will loosen, according to the Home Price Expectations Survey sponsored by Zillow and conducted by Pulsenomics. The survey, released Tuesday, questioned 111 panelists on their views surrounding mortgage availability, home values and housing trends.

While looser lending rules, such as lower credit-score requirements for conventional loans, led to an increase in the Zillow Mortgage Access Index, housing experts remain divided on what will happen as a result.

Because of financial barriers including slow wage growth, 44% of those polled expected the level of renter households to continue to beat homeowner households. Conversely, 42% said the looser restrictions would lead to greater home-buying demand when coupled with an improving economy and higher rental costs.

Another area where there was disagreement was on the current regulatory state: 46% said regulations were about right, while 47% said they are too restrictive. Fewer believe that regulations will return to bubble-era policies: only 4% and 25% said regulations will become lax in the next year and five years, respectively.

Furthermore, panelists generally agreed that home values would slow in growth. They said values would rise 4.3% this year to a median home price of $184,615, but that through 2019 the annual growth rate would temper to 3.6%.

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