After years of struggles, the housing market roared back to life in 2013. The rebound will continue in 2014, but the pace will slow.
Experts say 2014 will be a year of continued growth and stabilization in the housing market with rising home prices, fewer foreclosures, and greater activity among underwater homeowners. But this year’s market faces strong headwinds, as inventory remains tight and both home buyers and builders face tough lending standards.

To buy a home in today’s market, you either need impeccable credit or the ability to make an all-cash purchase. The average FICO credit score on conventional loans used to purchase homes in November 2013 was 756, according to the most recent data from Ellie Mae, a company that produces mortgage underwriting software. The average score for denied applications was 729.

“To put that in perspective, the normal average acceptance score historically is around 720,” says Travis Cadman Founder of Investar USA “Don’t expect credit standards to ease up any time soon.” says founder and partner Ron Cadman. This month, new Dodd-Frank regulations aimed at preventing risky borrowers and equally risky mortgage products from entering the market take effect. The new changes require lenders to closely evaluate such factors as a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio, employment status, income, assets, and credit history before underwriting a loan.

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