Is the conforming loans controversy finally settled? What is going on with the Chicago rental market? And how did housing starts data look? Here’s a quick rundown of stats from this week’s news (Nov. 14 – Nov. 18) by the numbers:
729,750 – the new maximum limit for Federal Housing Administration loans (FHA); after nearly two months of debate, Congress finally agreed to re-raise conforming home loan limits, but only for the FHA.
5,600 – the amount of new apartment units that will be built in Chicago by 2014; though the projects’ developers remain confident, some worry that rentals are repeating the excesses of single-family home developers during the housing boom.
20 – the current standing for the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which rose for the second straight month.
0.24 – the positive percentage of the FHA’s MMI fund in 2011; new speculation has emerged that with all the bad boom-era loans on its books, the FHA may need a taxpayer bailout, though the FHA strenuously disputes that claim.
5.1 – the amount of money, in billions, that Fannie Mae lost in the third quarter; despite this, the GSE’s CEO uttered the word “profitability” at an appearance on Capitol Hill this week about the company’s future.
16.5 – the percentage increase that housing starts posted for year-over-year data in October, though monthly data was down by a mere 0.3 percent.
30 – the percentage of defaults that are believed to be “strategic,” meaning purposeful to save the owner’s finances and credit crating; FICO has released a new credit rating aimed at targeting those homeowners before they default.