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THE ALLMANAC

Fitch Ratings Gives North Texas a Better Grade

DFW: The North Texas home market has received another good grade from Fitch Ratings, which says that the potential for a housing bust in the area has declined even more. For the past five years, the Wall Street firm has raised questions about surging home prices in Texas. In September, it said DFW housing prices were 10% to 14% overvalued. Now, in an update, the firm puts the area’s home prices in the “sustainable” category and shows that home prices are only 5% to 9% overvalued. Most of the country’s home prices are overvalued, led by Idaho and Nevada. Boise, at 35% overvalued, leads the way, followed by Austin at 24%.

U.S.: If you have a home mortgage close to $1 million, Uncle Sam may soon have your back. The maximum size of home mortgage loans eligible for backing by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to rise sharply in 2022. That’s a reflection of the surging appreciation in home prices across the country in the past year. The jump may make it easier for some borrows to buy a more expensive home. By law, loan limits are updated each year using a formula that accounts for average housing-price increases nationwide. The limits are expected to rise from $548,250 to $650,000 in most parts of the country and from $822,375 to just under $1 million in about 100 high-cost counties nationwide. The exact limits are expected to be made public later this month.

DFW: October brought milder weather and cooler home sales to most North Texas counties. The largest declines were in Rockwall County, down 17.7%, and Collin County, down 17%, from a year ago. The MetroTex Association of Realtors also said that Denton County saw a 14% decline and that Ellis County sales were down nearly 12% from last year. Tarrant County came in at 5% lower than last year and Dallas County sales were down less than 1%. Home sales throughout the area have declined in the past five months , mostly due to lack of inventory and record home prices. One bright spot was in Kaufman County, which saw a 5.4% increase in home sales from the same period last year.

U.S.: Live near a big university football stadium? Your house may be in a prime location not only on Game Day, but on Selling Day, too. That’s the word from a recent study by moveBuddha on the value of homes located near Division I football stadiums. Homes near Rice University’s stadium in Houston are about $459,733 more expensive than the average city home value. Rice University is in the city’s third-richest neighborhood near the Texas Medical Center and the Museum District. Homes near Gerald J. Ford Stadium at SMU in University Park are about $189,000 more expensive than the average Dallas home. On the other hand, homes near Kyle Field in College Station and Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin have been tracking about $50,000 less expensive than homes in their respective cities, according to moveBuddha.

CALIFORNIA: Musician John Mellencamp hopes his latest rendition is a big hit. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has just listed his 1,000-square-foot Santa Barbara home that he bought just six months ago for $2.45 million. The man behind “Jack & Diane” and “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” hired an interior designer from La La Land and now is putting the home back on the market for $4.5 million. The three-bedroom, two-bath house sits on six acres on a mountaintop overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It has two fireplaces, a kitchen with cathedral ceilings and a stained-glass window and other amenities. No word on whether Mellencamp now truly wants to live in a small town.

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