This Week in Real Estate: May 26, 2015

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Good morning!

The topic dominating the headlines This Week in Real Estate are the surging construction start numbers in April. In addition, there is an overwhelming sense of pride and responsibility about being part of one of the most significant companies in the world…Berkshire Hathaway. Below are a few of the highlights from the third week of May that influence our business:

* ​​Construction Numbers Highest Since 2007, Crushing Expectations. Construction started on new U.S. homes sprang up 20.2% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million. That’s the biggest monthly percentage gain in more than 24 years and the highest level since November 2007, the U.S. Commerce Department reported. “The April data also strengthens the view that the weakness in February and March was largely transitory and likely caused by harsh weather conditions,” Robert Wetenhall, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a research note. Starts for single-family homes rose 16.7% to an annual rate of 733,000, the fastest pace since early 2008, while starts in buildings with at least five units jumped 31.9% to a pace of 389,000. Full story… http://www.marketwatch.com/story/housing-starts-surge-20-in-april-2015-05-19

* Total Loans in Foreclosure Fall to Lowest Level Since 2008. Black Knight Financial Services, a Fidelity National Financial company, released its “first look” at the housing data from April reporting that foreclosure starts were down 22% from March to April, falling to a level of 73,500. That total is also down 7% from a year ago. Additionally, national inventory of loans in foreclosure continued its decline toward pre-crisis norms, falling roughly 25.5% from last April to 1.51%, the lowest it’s been since January of 2008. Black Knight notes that there was a slight seasonal increase in April delinquencies, up by 1.46%, which pushed the national rate up to 4.77%. That’s still low by post-crisis historical standards, and down 15.04% from last year at this time.
Fully story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/33975-black-knight-total-loans-in-foreclosure-fall-to-lowest-level-since-2008

* Ellie Mae Report Shows Continued Transition Into Purchase-Driven Market. As interest rates slowly tick up, purchase originations are now again outpacing refinance originations, according to a new report from EllieMae. Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report for April, which is derived from a “robust sampling” of approximately 66% of all mortgage applications that were initiated on Ellie Mae’s Encompass mortgage management solution, showed that 52% of mortgage loan originations were purchases in April. Refinance originations made up 47% of the total originations for the month of April, marking the first month since December that purchases outpaced refinances. Overall, conventional loans made up 64% of all originations in April, according to Ellie Mae’s report. FHA loans made up 24% of the total, followed by VA loans made up 9% of the total, and “other,” which made up 3%. Full story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/33973-ellie-mae-report-shows-continued-transition-into-purchase-driven-market

* Yellen: If Nothing Changes, Expect Higher Interest Rates This Year. As predicted by many economists, the Federal Reserve is indeed considering raising the Federal Funds Rate later this year, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said Friday. In a speech on Friday Yellen said that the Fed is seeing widespread economic improvement and expects that improvement to continue. And if the economy improves as expected, she believes it will be “appropriate” for the Fed to raise the Federal Funds Rate this year. “If the economy continues to improve as I expect, I think it will be appropriate at some point this year to take the initial step to raise the federal funds rate target and begin the process of normalizing monetary policy,” Yellen said. “To support taking this step, however, I will need to see continued improvement in labor market conditions, and I will need to be reasonably confident that inflation will move back to 2% over the medium term.” Full story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/33981-yellen-if-nothing-changes-expect-higher-interest-rates-this-year

* Berkshire Hathaway: The Largest, Most Powerful Public Company in the U.S. The Forbes Global 2000 is a comprehensive list of the world’s largest, most powerful public companies. This year’s Global 2000 companies hail from 61 countries. Berkshire Hathaway ranked 5th behind China’s four biggest banks making Berkshire Hathaway the only non-bank to finish in the top 5 and the largest U.S. company.
Full story… http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/mutualfunds/the-worlds-25-biggest-companies/ar-BBjhgQC#image=BBjrSBW|21​

I hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend. I encourage you at some point today to intentionally pause, remember and give thanks to all the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

Have a productive week!

Jason

 


This Week in Real Estate: May 18, 2015

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Good Morning!

This Week in Real Estate, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun predicted existing home sales will reach their highest level since 2006. That years sales total was the second highest ever on record. ​Below are a few of the highlights from the second week of May that influence our business:

* ​​Existing Home Sales to Finish 2015 at Record Level. Existing home sales are expected to finish the year at their highest level since 2006, the National Association of Realtors’ economic forecast forum revealed at its 2015 Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. In the most recent existing-home sales report, sales surged to their highest annual rate in 18 months, showing a promising beginning to the spring homebuying season. Total existing home sales jumped 6.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in March from 4.89 million in February – the highest annual rate since September 2013 (also 5.19 million). “Sustained job growth and interest rates below 4% have been the catalyst behind the improvement in sales,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of NAR. “Housing supply needs to increase measurably to meet the pent-up demand for buying,” said Yun. “To put it in perspective, there were 37 million more people in the U.S. last year compared to 2000, yet existing-home sales that year were higher (5.2 million) than last year (4.9 million).”
Full story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/33912-existing-home-sales-to-finish-2015-at-record-level

* Housing Affordability Posts Solid Gain in First Quarter. Lower interest rates and home prices contributed to a solid boost in nationwide affordability in the first quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released Thursday. “The past two quarters have seen an improvement in affordability as mortgage rates remain low,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Eighty-five percent of the metropolitan areas measured experienced an increase in affordability.” In all, 66.5 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800. This is up from the 62.8 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the fourth quarter.
Fully story… http://www.nahb.org/en/news-and-publications/Press-Releases/2015/may/housing-affordability-posts-solid-gain-in-first-quarter.aspx

* U.S. Residential Loan Originations Increase 17 Percent in Q1 From a Year Ago. According to RealtyTrac’s Q1 2015 U.S. Residential Loan Origination Report, which shows that 1,551,865 loans were originated on single family homes and condos in the first quarter, down 6 percent from the previous quarter but up 17 percent from a year ago. Total dollar volume of loans originated in the first quarter was $377 billion, up 32 percent from a year ago. Refinance originations represented nearly $256 billion in the first quarter, 67.8 percent of total loan origination dollar volume, and purchase loan originations represented $121 billion, 32.2 percent of total origination dollar volume. “A dip in interest rates early in the year combined with lowered mortgage insurance premiums for FHA loans breathed some life back into the refinancing market in the first quarter,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.  Full story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/realtytrac-reports/q1-2015-u-s-residential-loan-origination-report/​

* Metro Home Prices Maintain Steady Growth in First Quarter 2015. Stronger demand amidst lagging inventory levels caused home prices to accelerate in many metro areas during the first quarter of 2015, and the number of areas experiencing double-digit price appreciation doubled compared to last quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors. The number of rising markets in the first quarter was mostly unchanged compared to the fourth quarter of last year, when price increases were recorded in 85 percent of metro areas. Fifty-one metro areas in the first quarter (29 percent) experienced double-digit increases, a sharp increase from 24 metro areas in the fourth quarter of 2014. Thirty-seven metro areas (21 percent) experienced double-digit increases in the first quarter of 2014.
Full story… http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2015/05/metro-home-prices-maintain-steady-growth-in-first-quarter-of-2015

* More Millenials Renting, But Just as Many Want to Own. Those are the two findings of an Urban Land Institute commissioned survey of Americans age 19 to 36 discussing their housing preferences and finances. Millennials, loosely defined as people born in the 1980s and 1990s, are the largest customer segment since the Baby Boomers. At an estimated 75 million to 80 million, millenials account for a quarter of the U.S. population. The trouble for the housing industry is that millenials have abstained from buying a home for longer than previous generations did at their age. “The millenials are telling us they want to own a home eventually, no different from the aspirations of their parents or grandparents,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae. “But they’re not in a hurry. They still need some income rebuilding.”
Full story… http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2015/05/13/survey-more-millennials-renting-but-just-as-many-want-to-own/

Have a productive week!

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: May 11, 2015

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Happy Mother’s Day!

This Week in Real Estate rental rates continue to climb making buying more attractive. Will the April jobs report answer the question of when the Feds will increase interest rates: June or September? ​Below are a few of the highlights from the first full week of May that influence our business:

* ​​More Consumers Positive on Housing, But Not Quite Ready to Leave the Sidelines. The spring and summer home buying season has gotten off to a stronger start, reflected in some of the improvement in consumer housing sentiment,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. The share of consumers who intend to own rather than rent their next home rebounded after a two-month slide. Meanwhile, home price growth expectations strengthened to the strongest pace since last October. “sWhen we consider both the continued caution of consumers and the positive start to the year, we believe that these results support our expectations that 2015 will be a year of modest growth in housing activity,” Duncan said. Full story… http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/about-us/media/corporate-news/2015/6248.html

* 4 Percent of All U.S. Single Family Home Sales in First Quarter Were Flips. According to RealtyTrac’s Q1 2015 U.S. Home Flipping Report, 17,309 single family homes were flipped – sold as part of an arms-length sale for the second time within a 12-month period – in the first quarter, 4.0 percent of all single family home sales during the quarter. The average gross profit for completed flips in the first quarter was $72,450, up from $65,290 in the previous quarter and up from $61,684 in the first quarter of 2014 to the highest level going back to the first quarter of 2011, the earliest where data is available. “The strong returns for home flippers in the first quarter demonstrates that there is still a need in this recovering real estate market for move-in ready homes rehabbed to more modern tastes, particularly given the dearth of new homes being built,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. The challenge for flippers in 2015 will be finding inventory to flip. Full story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/real-estate-investing/q1-2015-u-s-home-flipping-report/​

* The Cost of Renting vs. Buying? If you are renting and think you can’t afford a home… THINK AGAIN! Renting will cost you 30.1% of your income compared to buying a median home at 15.3% of your income. Full story… http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2015/05/08/do-you-know-the-cost-of-renting-vs-buying-infographic/

* April Jobs Report Comes in Below Expectations. Employers added 223,000 jobs in April according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, below consensus expectations of 228,000. This pushed the three month average below replacement levels, and based on Federal Reserve comments before, means employment probably won’t be pulling forward expectations for a rate hike. “The strengthening in overall hiring is in line with our forecast for a moderate rebound in economic activity, though not quite the bounce-back we saw a year ago, as the economy is facing more than just transitory headwinds. With today’s report, we are comfortable with our call for a September liftoff in the fed funds rate.” Full story…
http://www.housingwire.com/articles/33829-april-jobs-report-comes-in-below-expectations

* Housing Regulator Extends Mortgage Modification Programs Through 2016. The director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said that the companies would extend for another year the deadline to participate in a pair of programs meant to help struggling borrowers. Fannie and Freddie had been set to stop allowing modifications under the programs at the end of the year, but both will participate in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) through December 2016. FHFA Director Melvin Watt said that the FHFA wouldn’t extend Fannie’s and Freddie’s participation in HAMP again, and that he didn’t expect for there to be another extension of HARP after 2016. Full story…
http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2015/05/08/housing-regulator-extends-mortgage-modification-programs-through-2016/?mod=WSJ_Real+Estate_BLOGSDEVELOPMENTSFEED&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wsj%2Fdevelopments%2Ffeed+%28WSJ.com%3A+Developments+Blog%29

Have a productive week!

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: May 4, 2015

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Good Morning!

This Week in Real Estate ​consumer optimism is reported to be at it’s second highest level since 2007​. Below are a few of the highlights from the week ending May 3, 2015 that influence our business:

* ​​Consumer Sentiment at 2nd Highest Level Since 2007. U.S. consumer sentiment rose in April according to The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final reading. The index was 95.9 up from the previous month’s reading of 93.0. Consumer sentiment in April was at its second highest level since 2007, and was higher than the average level during the last five months than anytime since May 2004. 37% of all consumers expect personal-financial gains – the greatest share since April 2007. 58% of consumers reported favorable home selling conditions, the highest proportion since May 2006. Full story… ​​​​http://www.marketwatch.com/story/as-consumer-sentiment-perks-up-the-question-of-spending-looms-2015-05-01

* Pending Home Sales Increase in March for Third Consecutive Month. Pending home sales in March continued their recent momentum, rising for the third straight month and remaining at their highest level since June 2013. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, climbed 1.1 percent to 108.6 in March from an upward revision of 107.4 in February and is now 11.1 percent above March 2014 (97.7). The index has now increased year-over-year for seven consecutive months and is at its highest level since June 2013 (109.4). Full story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/04292015_pending_home_sales.asp

* It’s Official: The First Quarter Saw a Refinance Mini-Boom. A continually low-interest rate climate led to borrowers refinancing at an increased rate in the first quarter, according to a new report from Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac’s quarterly refinance analysis for the first quarter of 2015 found that 63% of the single-family loans originated in the first quarter were refinances, compared to approximately 52% for the full year 2014, according to Freddie’s data. In addition, approximately 27% of borrowers increased their loan amount when refinancing in the first quarter compared to 17% during the same time period in 2014. “We estimate that borrowers who refinanced in the first quarter will save on net more than $1.4 billion in interest payments over the first 12 months of their new loan,” said Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist. Full story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/33745-its-official-the-first-quarter-saw-a-refinance-mini-boom

Have a productive week!

Jason

 

 


This Week in Real Estate: April 27, 2015

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Good Morning!

The major headline for This Week in Real Estate​ is for the second straight year, real estate is named the best long-term investment. Below are a few of the highlights from the week of April 20, 2015 that influence our business:

* Americans Agree: Real Estate Best Long-Term Investment. Signaling growing confidence in the housing recovery a majority of Americans, for the second straight year, named real estate the best long-term investment. Today real estate is either the top choice or tied for the top choice as the best investment among all major gender, age and income groups. Real estate leads with 31% of Americans choosing it, followed by stocks/mutual funds at 25% and gold at 19%. Full story…
http://www.gallup.com/poll/182819/americans-again-say-real-estate-best-long-term-investment.aspx?utm_source=Economy&utm_medium=newsfeed&utm_campaign=tiles

* Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Rise to Highest Level Since 2013. Sales of previously owned homes jumped in March by the most in four years, putting the U.S. residential real estate market on firm footing heading into the busiest time of year. The gain in March was the biggest since December 2010. Sales of single-family homes increased 5.5 percent to an annual rate of 4.59 million, the most since August 2013. Figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association on Wednesday showed stronger demand is extending into April. The group’s index of purchase applications climbed last week to the highest level since June 2013.  Full story…
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-22/sales-of-existing-u-s-homes-rise-to-highest-level-since-2013

* Housing Recovery Steady In 2015, Will Pick Up Pace Next Year. Solid employment gains, attractive mortgage rates, a growing economy and pent-up demand will help keep the housing market forward throughout 2015 and into next year, according to economists who participated in yesterday’s National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 2015 Spring Construction Forecast Webinar. “This should be a good year for housing, buoyed by sustained job growth, rising consumer confidence that is back to pre-recession levels and a gradual uptick in household formations,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “We expect 2016 to be even better, due to a significant amount of pent-up demand and an economy that will be entering a period of reasonable strength and consistency.” Full story… http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?sectionID=148&newsID=17232

* Home Prices Are Climbing Faster and Faster, but This Is Not a Bubble. During the peak years of the housing bubble, from 2003 – 2005, the data on supply versus price appreciation looked very similar to what we are seeing now. But there are key differences. Full story… http://www.realtor.com/news/home-prices-climbing-faster-but-this-is-no-bubble/

Have a productive week!

Jason

 

 


This Week in Real Estate: April 20, 2015

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Good Morning!

Better than expected consumer confidence results, lowest quarterly level of distressed properties in 8 years and low interest rates dominate the headlines This Week in Real Estate​. Below are a few of the highlights from the mid-way point in April that influence our business:

* First Quarter U.S. Foreclosure Activity Drops to Lowest Quarterly Level in Eight Years. Foreclosure filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – were reported on 313,487 U.S. properties in the first quarter of 2015, down 7 percent from the previous quarter and down 8 percent from the first quarter of 2014 to the lowest quarterly total since the first quarter 2007. March did realize a 20 percent month-over-month increase in foreclosure filings from a 104-month low in February. The increase in March was driven primarily by a jump in bank repossessions (REOs). “The March increase is continued cleanup of distress still lingering from the previous housing crisis; not the beginning of a new crisis by any means,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Some of the most stubborn foreclosure cases are finally being flushed out of the next foreclosure pipeline and we would expect to see more noise in the numbers over the next few months as national foreclosure activity makes its way back to more stable patterns by the end of this year.” Full story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/foreclosure-trends/march-q1-2015-foreclosure-market-report/​

* Builder Confidence Rises Four Points in April. Homebuilder sentiment reversed a three-month slide in April and rose to its best monthly showing of 2015, the National Association of Home Builders said on Wednesday. Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in April rose four points to a level of 56 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released Wednesday. “The HMI component index measuring future sales expectation rose five points in April to its highest level of the year,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. Derived from a monthly survey the NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.”  Full story… http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?newsID=17225

* Mortgage Rates Little Changed Remain Near 2015 Lows. Thursday Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey showing average fixed mortgage rates moving largely unchanged amid a light week of economic releases and remaining near their 2015 lows. Full story…
http://freddiemac.mwnewsroom.com/press-releases/mortgage-rates-little-changed-remain-near-2015-low-otcqb-fmcc-1188498?feed=429e0be3-9aef-4a3a-9775-43f8e470d510

* Mortgage Applications End 3-Week Winning Streak. Applications for purchase mortgages have ended three straight weeks in which their volume increased an average of 6 percent. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said today that those applications dropped by 3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended April 10th. They did however remain 7 percent higher than in the same week in 2014. Full story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/04152015_application_volume.asp

* U.S. consumer sentiment rises in April. U.S. consumer sentiment rose more than expected in April, a survey released Friday showed. Consumer optimism reached a 10-year peak of 95.5 during the first quarter of 2015, its highest level since 2004. The University of Michigan’s preliminary April reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 95.9, up from the final March read of 93.0. Analysts were looking for a reading of 94.0. Full story… http://www.cnbc.com/id/102596403

Have a productive week!

Jason

 


This Week in Real Estate: April 13, 2015

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Good Morning!

​Following a strong finish to the first quarter This Week in Real Estate offers every reason to be excited and optimistic for a huge Q2 and Q3 selling season. Below are a few of the highlights from the first full week of the second quarter that influence our business: ​

* Solid Real Estate Growth Predicted Through 2017. The real estate industry is expected to remain on a sustainable course of solid growth for 2015 through 2017, according to a new three-year forecast from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate. The outlook is based on a survey of 43 of the industry’s top economists and analysts representing 32 of the country’s leading real estate investment, advisory, and research firms and organizations. “Almost all U.S. real estate participants would be very pleased if the future unfolded as predicted by the ULI consensus forecast,” says William Maher, ULI leader and director of North American strategy for LaSalle Investment Management in Baltimore. “The forecast represents almost the perfect combination of strong economic and property market fundamentals, combined with an orderly wind-down of monetary stimulus. Although the potential exists for progress to be hampered by obstacles such as economic downturns, foreign crises, interest rate spikes, or oversupplies, real estate pros predict three more years of smooth sailing for U.S. real estate,” he says. Full story…
http://uli.org/press-release/uli-real-estate-consensus-forecast-april-2015/

* MBA: New Home Purchases Jump 17% in March. Mortgage applications for new home purchases increased by 17% relative to the previous month, the March Mortgage Bankers Association’s Builder Application Survey said. “Overall, applications for new home purchases during the first quarter of 2015 increased 20 percent relative to the first quarter of last year. Continued strength in builder applications raises the likelihood that housing starts will be strong over the next few months,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research and economics. “Although the March employment report showed a smaller net gain in jobs, job openings are up, wages are beginning to increase more robustly, and mortgage rates remain low, all of which contribute to stronger housing markets,” said Fisher. Full story…
http://www.housingwire.com/articles/33508-mba-new-home-purchases-jump-17-in-march

* Mortgage Credit Eases, Applications Rise. The latest Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) report from the Mortgage Bankers Association says that mortgage credit availability increased in March. Based on data from Ellie Mae, the MCAI rose 121.4, an indicator that mortgage credit is loosening. A finding under 100 means that lending standards are tightening. “All four component indexes of the MCAI increased last month: jumbo, conforming, conventional, and government,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist. “Although credit remains tight by historical standards, this increase in availability, coupled with low rates and job market strength, should lead to stronger home purchase activity this spring.” Full story… ​
http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/mortgageadvice1/item/34230-20150410-mortgage-credit-eases-applications-rise

* Overview of Changes to RESPA/TILA Disclosures. ​August 1 will be here before we know it. On that date the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule integrating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosures and regulations will go into effect. The final rule integrates existing disclosures with new requirements from the Dodd-Frank Act to improve consumer understanding of the mortgage process, aid in comparison shopping, and help to prevent surprises at the closing table. Below are links to Highlights of the New Rule and a very good webinar hosted by the National Association of Realtors. This is a significant change to the closing process that we will all want to be very familiar with. Please be on the look out for training opportunities.
http://www.realtor.org/articles/overview-of-changes-to-respa/tila-disclosures
http://www.ksefocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/4/2265.pdf
http://www.realtor.org/webinars/nar-respa/tila-march-webinar

Have a productive week!

Jason

 


This Week in Real Estate: April 6, 2015

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Good Morning!

This Week in Real Estate ended with a weaker than expected March employment report. The result? The lowest mortgage rates in two months. Below are a few of the highlights from the first few days of April that influence our business:

* New Indicator Says Housing Is Healthy, Downturn Unlikely. Nationwide said on Tuesday that the overall housing market is healthier than at any time since 2001, the earliest point for which data is available and that data suggests there is little reason to fear a national housing downturn over the next year. The insurance and financial services organization unveiled a new housing market indicator, the Leading Index of Health Housing Markets (LIHHM). Nationwide calls the LIHHM “a data-driven view of the near-term performance of housing markets based upon current health indicators for the national housing market and 373 metropolitan statistical areas.” The company says the index focuses on the entire housing market rather than merely projecting house prices or home sales. The indicator is calculated using local level data in four categories, employment, demographics, mortgage market, and house prices. Full story…
http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/03312015_housing_market_health.asp​

* House Prices Record Annual Gains, Expected To Rise In The Future. The recent release by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) shows that its measure of house prices, House Price Index – Purchase only, rose by 5.1% on a 12-month seasonally adjusted basis in January 2015. This marks the 36th consecutive month of year-over-year growth. Over this nearly three-year period, house prices have risen by 20.1%. Similarly, the recent release from Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Case-Shiller indicates that their measure of national house prices, the House Price Index – National, rose by 4.5% on a year-over-year seasonally adjusted basis. This is the 33rd consecutive month of year-over-year increases in the house price index. Over this period of more than two-and-a-half years, house prices have risen by 22.1%. Full story…
http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/04/house-prices-record-annual-gains-expected-to-rise-in-the-future/

* The March Jobs Report. The U.S. economy added 126,000 jobs in March, ending a streak of 12 straight months of job growth exceeding 200,000, a level of job creation that hasn’t been seen since a 13-month run back in 1994-1995. The unemployment rate in March remained unchanged at 5.5%, while a broader gauge of underemployment that includes workers who have part-time jobs but would like full-time work ticked down to 10.9%, the lowest level since August 2008. The positive news reported last month notwithstanding (CPI), this labor report will give the Fed pause as it considers the timing of interest rate increases (FOMC). The weakness of this report raises the probability that the much anticipated Fed action increasing interest rates will be delayed. Full story… ​
http://www.npr.org/2015/04/03/397189016/march-employment-report-expected-to-show-continued-job-growth

* Mortgage Rates Officially Hit 2-month Lows After Jobs Data. Mortgage rates scored a major victory on Friday at the expense of the labor market. Recent examples of the Employment Situation Report have been surprisingly strong. That presented major problems for rates in February and March as it ramped up expectations for a Fed rate hike. But those expectations have come crashing down in the past few hours. The report wasn’t just moderately weaker, it was the biggest month-over-month drop in well over a year. There’s always a risk that rates will move higher, but days like today suggest that such a move is, by no means, a foregone conclusion. Full story…
http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/consumer_rates/450267.aspx

* Buy Like Buffett: A Love Story. Below is a link to a video played at the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Convention earlier this month. Forbes produced the video telling one couple’s love story through Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. brands ending with a BHHS sign in front of the house the couple purchased. It is very cool how Forbes linked all the various Berkshire Hathaway companies ending with real estate. ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EIM4d_GgBs​

Have a productive week!

Jason

 

 


This Week in Real Estate: March 30, 2015

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Good Morning!

As the first quarter of 2015 comes to an end, it is safe to contend that Q1 2015 compared to the same time period the prior year is much more favorable leading into the peak selling season of Q2 and Q3. This Week in Real Estate covers a wide spectrum of topics from consumer confidence to new construction sales to the ever pending interest rate increase. Below are a few of the highlights from the last, full week in March that influence our business:

* February new-home sales highest in seven years. Builders signed contracts on more homes in February 2015 than any time since early 2008 according to the Census Bureau and HUD. February seasonally-adjusted annual new home sales topped out at 539,000, up 7.8 percent from a healthy 500,000 in January. Full story…
http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/03/new-home-sales-surge/​

* Mortgage applications rise 9.5 percent from one week earlier. Stoked by the lowest interest rates in several weeks the volume of applications for mortgages to both purchase and refinance homes increased by the largest percentages than at any time since early January. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 9.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. The Refinance Index increased 12 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 5 percent from one week earlier to its highest level since January 2015. Full story…
https://www.mba.org/2015-press-releases/mortgage-applications-increase-in-latest-mba-weekly-survey-x89405

* 5 quotes from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s speech at the San Francisco Fed on Friday. Janet Yellen offered a cautious message on the prospect of interest rate increases in a speech this week, saying the central bank expects to begin raising rates this year and then proceed gradually after that. Here are five key quotes from her prepared remarks. Full story… http://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2015/03/27/5-quotes-from-janet-yellens-speech-to-the-san-francisco-fed/

* U.S. consumer sentiment at 93.0 in March vs. 92.0 estimate. Consumer optimism reached a 10-year peak of 95.5 in the first quarter of 2015, its highest level since 2004. “While there is a widespread expectation that interest rates will begin to rise later in the year, few consumers anticipated that the size of the increases will dampen their credit sensitive purchase plans.” Full story… http://www.cnbc.com/id/102540745?__source=mnd|news|&par=mnd

* Rising rents are finally forcing Millennials to buy houses. Expect the open-house crowds to skew a little younger during this year’s spring homebuying season. Millennials made up 32 percent of the U.S. housing market in 2014, up from 28 percent two years earlier, and have pulled ahead of the older Generation X as the largest segment of buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors. About 5.2 million renters say they expect to purchase a house in 2015, up from 4.2 million a year earlier. The U.S. rental vacancy rate hit a 21-year low at the end of last year, according to the Census Bureau, giving landlords leverage to charge more. Full story…
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-25/millennials-start-shift-to-homeownership-as-rents-soar

Have a productive week!

Jason

 


This Week in Real Estate: March 23, 2015

image001Hello,

This Week in Real Estate is highlighted by the news that more than a million homeowners regained their equity in 2014 and the foreclosure activity is at its lowest level since the summer of 2006. What does that mean for those renting? Below are a few of the highlights from the third week in March that influence our business:

* U.S. foreclosure activity at lowest level since July 2006. RealtyTrac released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for February this week, which shows foreclosure filings down 9 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since July 2006. “Given that August 2006 was the peak of the housing bubble, this eight-and-a-half year low in foreclosure activity is a significant milestone and a sign that nationwide foreclosure activity is on track to return to historic norms this year – and is possibly even headed below historic norms given the skinny-jeans-tight lending standards over the past five years,” said Darren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. Full Story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/foreclosure-trends/february-2014-foreclosure-market-report/

* 1.2 million U.S. borrowers regained equity in 2014. This week Corelogic released new analysis showing 1.2 million borrowers regained equity in 2014, bringing the total number of mortgaged residential properties with equity at the end of Q4 2014 to approximately 44.5 million or 89 percent of all mortgaged properties. Full Story… http://www.corelogic.com/about-us/news/corelogic-reports-1.2-million-us-borrowers-regained-equity-in-2014.aspx

* Why renters may be in trouble. The gap between rental costs and household income is widening to unsustainable levels across the country. NAR evaluated income growth, housing costs, and changes in share of renter and owner-occupied households over the past five years in metropolitan statistical areas across the U.S. Over the last five years, a typical rent rose 15 percent, while the income of renters grew by only 11 percent, according to their research. “Current renters seeking relief and looking to buy are facing the same dilemma: Home prices are rising much faster than their incomes,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Meanwhile, those who were able to buy a home in recent years have been insulated from the rising housing costs since they were able to lock-in a low 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a set monthly payment, according to NAR’s study. Full Story… http://www.realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/03/17/why-renters-may-be-in-trouble

Have a productive week!

Jason