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


Portland Metro Weekend Event Planner: May 8-10, 2015

 Mothers day card with rustic roses on wooden board
PORTLAND METRO EVENTS WEEKEND PLANNER
FOR MAY 8-10, 2015

 

MOTHER’S DAY FLOWER SHOW

FRI-SAT MAY 8-9 Mother’s Day Show and Sale is a rhododendron show and sale at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. 5801 SE 28th Avenue in Portland.

MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH

SUN MAY 10 Take Mom to the Portland Zoo for a lavish Mother’s Day Brunch. Does not include or require zoo ticket.

MOTHER’S DAY 5K WALK

SUN MAY 10 Attend a reception at Castaway, take a 5K Reigning Roses Walk through NW Portland to honor your mother, and celebrate afterward at this charity event.

MOTHER’S DAY DANCE SHOW

SUN MAY 10 A ticket to Seasons of a Woman includes homemade food, drink, and a one-act dance representing the seasons a woman experiences in her life by The Soul Dance Company at Lenora’s Ballroom. 12PM and 5:30PM.

MOTHER’S DAY CRUISE

SUN MAY 10 Portland Spirit offers brunch and dinner river cruises boarding in Portland or Cascade Locks in the Gorge.

MOTHER’S DAY DANCE SHOW

SUN MAY 10 A ticket to Seasons of a Woman includes homemade food, drink, and a one-act dance representing the seasons a woman experiences in her life by The Soul Dance Company at Lenora’s Ballroom. 12PM and 5:30PM.

MOTHER’S DAY RESTAURANT EVENTS

SUN MAY 10 OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special brunch, lunch, and dinner menus on Mother’s Day. Also see the Mother’s Day brunch list by the Oregonian.

MOTHER’S DAY HALF MARATHON

SUN MAY 10  Hippie Chick Half Quarter & Half Marathon is preceded by a kids’ race and followed by a breakfast at Hillsboro Ballpark. 14 miles.

MOTHER’S DAY TEA & DESSERT AT POMEROY FARM

SAT MAY 9 Join us in the Gathering Place as we celebrate mothers with a lovely afternoon tea. Our seasonal menu will include assorted tea sandwiches, scones, desserts and two varieties of tea. Pomeroy Farm, Yacolt.

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

THURS-SUN MAY 6-10 Varekai is Cirque du Soleil’s new show that features a magical forest inhabited by whimsical and enchanted creatures. Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

CRAFT SHOW SALE

SAT MAY 9 Shop from 200 artists and craft makers at the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Spring Sale at the Oregon Convention Center.

DOGGIE DASH WALK/RUN

SAT MAY 9 1.5 or 2.5 mile untimed walk/run that begins and ends at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, with vendor booths, live music, children’s activities, food for sale, and canine contests.

PORTLAND SATURDAY MARKET

SAT-SUN MAY 9-10 The nation’s largest weekly open-air arts and crafts market. Stroll down row upon row of unique creations made by the people who sell them. Old Town

WHISKEY FESTIVAL

FRI-SAT MAY 8-9 WhiskeyTown features whisky tasting, cocktails, restaurant food, and live entertainment in tents at NW 17th & Front Avenue.

BELGIAN BEER FESTIVAL

FRI-SAT MAY 8-9 Try Belgian offerings from 40 breweries, vote for your favorites, and eat at Cheers to Belgian Beers at Metalcraft Fabrication.

PORTLAND’S RIVERS: CONTEMPORARY ART VIEWS

FRI-SUN MAY 8-10 (ends July 11) This exhibit interprets Portland’s rivers and their influence on the city through paintings, prints and multimedia works. Pittock Mansion

GUIDED NATURE HIKES

FRI-SUN MAY 8-10 (every day, various times & locations) Park guides lead nature hikes to explore the forest, stream ecosystems and natural history of the natural area. Tryon Creek State Park & more

PORTLAND SATURDAY MARKET

SAT-SUN MAY 9-10 The nation’s largest weekly open-air arts and crafts market. Stroll down row upon row of unique creations made by the people who sell them. Old Town

VANCOUVER FARMER’S MARKET

SAT-SUN MAY 9-10 You’ll discover fresh and local produce, flowers, plants, baked goods, delicious food, pet treats, and accessories for yourself, home, or garden. Over 250 Vendors! Downtown Vancouver, 8th & Ester St.

FARMER’S MARKET AT VANCOUVER MALL

SAT-SUN MAY 9-10 The newest open air farmers market in Vancouver, Washington. Offering local farmers, small businesses, specialty crafters & local food vendors the opportunity to enjoy the neighbors. Activities for the kids & live entertainment most weekends in the Westfield Mall parking lot near Macy’s.

LILAC DAYS

FRI-SUN MAY 9-10 Each year in the spring, the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens hosts Lilac Days to celebrate the beauty of lilacs in bloom. Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens

NEW MOVIES OUT THIS WEEK
Hot Pursuit
• The D Train
• 5 Flights Up
• I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story
• In the Name of My Daughter
• Maggie
• Noble
• Preggoland
• Saint Laurent
• The Seven Fire
• Sister Code
• Skin Trade
• WarX2


Meet the Brokers Who Joined Us in April

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate is a popular destination for real estate brokers these days! We’re very pleased to introduce our newest team members:

Noah Deal – Bend

Mark Hughes – Clark County Northwest

Iraida Hermann – Lake Oswego

Diana Piel – Clark County Northwest

Sherry Boice – Clark County Northwest

John Luhta – West Portland

Sarah Marie Quinn – Florence

Diane (Jessica) Maskosky – West Portland

Tom Smith – Lake Oswego

Tucker Trefzger – Bend/Sunriver

Natalya Oreste – East Portland

Andreas Gehring – West Portland

Are you considering a career in real estate? Making a move to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, the 2014 Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year, may be a wise decision. From our complimentary Mentor Program to our intensive Broker Excellence training, we provide the support you need to grow your business and deliver excellent service to your clients.

Click here to learn a little about a career with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate or email careers@bhhsnw.com to schedule an appointment.


Determining the Best School District to Buy a Home In

 SchoolBusinNiceNeighborhoodsmby Bryn Huntpalmer

Purchasing your dream home in Oregon or Washington involves more than just the open house walk-through. Even if you find the perfect space for you and your family, you may need to do more investigating. School districts and communities are really important things to consider before making an offer on a home. But, how do you go about making wise decisions regarding these things without knowing anyone nearby to ask?

When purchasing a home, it’s a good idea to spend just as much time checking out school districts as it is looking at the ensuite. Even if you don’t have school-age children, the school district your new home is located in can drastically affect your resale value and can influence prospective future buyers. Here are some easy ways to find the very best school system in which to buy a home.

Check Out School Digger & Great Schools

To start, get online and begin researching schools near where you’d like to move. Whether you’re headed to Portland, Oregon or you’d like to look at homes near Vancouver, Washington, you should familiarize yourself with School Digger.com and Great Schools.org. School Digger has been used by over forty million people and gives you access to public school rankings for free. All you have to do is get on the website and select your state. Once you have selected your state, a list of school districts will appear. From there, you can see the average standard test score, the student to teacher ratio, and the percentage of students eligible for free lunches.

Great Schools is really similar and reviews private schools in addition to public ones. On this website, you can see school ratings on an interactive map and can read real reviews. By using these simple tools, you can begin to get a good idea of the best school district to buy a home in.

Ask Your Real Estate Agent

Agent on White PorchReal estate agents are your best friends when looking for a new home. Agents are extremely knowledgeable regarding school districts. While looking at homes, get comfortable with your agent and don’t hesitate to ask questions. “Your first conversation about schools should be with your real estate agent,” moving.com explains, “who can provide information on local neighborhoods and the choice of schools your children might attend, whether public or private.”

Utilize Social Media

These days, everyone is taking to Twitter to live-tweet the Oscars or ask about the best double stroller for their toddler. Why can’t you reach out to total strangers and ask about school systems? It may sound silly, but reaching out to other parents on social media may surprise you. To find out about different school districts, ask questions in a parent group on Facebook or use hashtags to find relevant topics on Twitter.

Although this is a fun way to learn about different areas, make sure to consider all of the opinions you come across and use this information to simply add to your own more in-depth research.

Ask Future Neighbors

It may seem old school (pun intended), but going door to door and asking questions is an efficient and candid way to find out about your prospective neighborhood. When looking for your perfect home, it’s suggested that you visit those living next door and ask questions. So while I don’t recommend canvassing a neighborhood, you can go on a casual walk around the ‘hood and ask anyone you happen to see out while you’re there.

In addition to finding out about the school district, you’ll also learn about local crime and other community events. If you don’t end up learning any information, you’ll at least have met a new friend to wave to when you get home after a long day at work.

Visit Different Schools

BooksAppleOnce you’ve done a lot of research and have dwindled your list down to a few areas, it’s time to hop in the car and visit. Most schools are more than accommodating and welcome visitors. Just look up the phone number for the districts you’re interested in and ask if you can spend an afternoon observing.

Andrew J. Rotherham on behalf of TIME explained that he and his wife visited some different schools while finding the best fit for his kids. What they learned surprised them! “our sit-in approach quickly eliminated the most coveted public school near our house because its administrators forbid classroom visits except during the comically inept tours the schools gives.” While on the tours, take notes and check-in with your partner afterward to talk about your findings.

Try to relax, you will eventually determine the best school district to buy a home in and can move forward with your home purchase. Fingers crossed you’ll become a Portland resident in no time and you’ll relax knowing your kids are receiving the best education possible.

***

About Bryn Huntpalmer
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas, where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize and nurtures her HGTV obsession. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Decor and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker, Scary Mommy, About.com and on her personal blog Her Own Wings. For home design information and tips check out Modernize!

Note: This is a guest post and the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate.


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

 

 


Portland Metro Weekend Events Planner: May 1-3, 2015

FarmersMarketBasketWomanBlueDress
PORTLAND METRO EVENTS WEEKEND PLANNER
FOR MAY 1-3, 2015

 

CERAMICS SHOWCASE

FRI-SUN MAY 1-3 Ceramic Showcase, billed as the largest U.S. show and sale of pottery, features over 200 Oregon and Washington artists. Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum

QUILT SHOW

FRI-SAT MAY 1-2 Admire hundreds of quilts, see demonstrations, and shop at a festival of quilts. Portland Expo Center

CITY WIDE SCAVENGER HUNT

SUN MAY 3 Teams run around the city as they solve clues to win prizes at Portland Challenge, which begins and ends at a restaurant. Discount tickets

DOWNTON ABBEY COMEDY

SAT-SUN MAY 2-3 A British actor plays 30 funny personas in America’s Got Downton, a parody of the popular TV series. Dolores Winningstad Theatre

THE LITTLE MERMAID

SAT-SUN MAY 2-3 (through May 25) The Little Mermaid, who longs for life above the sea, soars into the air with a touch of circus performance, a dash of vaudeville, and a dance collective. Northwest Children’s Theater

PORTLAND’S RIVERS: CONTEMPORARY ART VIEWS

FRI-SUN MAY 1-3 (ends July 11) This exhibit interprets Portland’s rivers and their influence on the city through paintings, prints and multimedia works. Pittock Mansion

GUIDED NATURE HIKES

FRI-SUN MAY 1-3 (every day, various times & locations) Park guides lead nature hikes to explore the forest, stream ecosystems and natural history of the natural area. Tryon Creek State Park & more

PORTLAND SATURDAY MARKET

SAT-SUN MAY 2-3 The nation’s largest weekly open-air arts and crafts market. Stroll down row upon row of unique creations made by the people who sell them. Old Town

VANCOUVER FARMER’S MARKET

SAT-SUN MAY 2-3 You’ll discover fresh and local produce, flowers, plants, baked goods, delicious food, pet treats, and accessories for yourself, home, or garden. Over 250 Vendors! Downtown Vancouver, 8th & Ester St.

LILAC DAYS

FRI-SUN MAY 1-3 Each year in the spring, the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens hosts Lilac Days to celebrate the beauty of lilacs in bloom. Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens

NEW MOVIES OUT THIS WEEK
Avengers: Age of Ultron
• The 100 Year Old Man who Climbed
• Far from Men
• Far from the Madding Crowd
• Gerontophilia
• Hyena
• Iris
• Ride
• Welcome to Me


1st Quarter Chairman’s Report for 2015

We are happy to announce the 1st Quarter Chairman’s Report for 2015 is now available to read online. Discover where the real estate market is headed and review 1st Quarter Market Stats for the Portland Metro and SW Washington. Special thanks to our Chairman, Bert Waugh, Jr.


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

 

 


Portland Metro Events Weekend Planner: April 24-26, 2015

Young Girl Relaxing Outside
PORTLAND METRO EVENTS WEEKEND PLANNER
FOR APRIL 24-26, 2015

 

ROCKS & MINERALS SHOW

FRI-SUN APRIL 24-26 Mt Hood Rock Show Club features demonstrations, kids’ activities, and vendors selling rocks, minerals, fossils, and jewelry. Kliever Memorial Armory

EXTREME MOTORCROSS RACE

FRI-SUN APRIL 24-26 Begins Friday evening at with a rally and driver meet & greet. Dufur & Hood River also host spectator events for this race on gravel logging roads. Portland International Raceway

IMPACT: MODERN DANCE

THURS-SAT APRIL 23-25 Oregon Ballet Theatre presents Impact, a program of four powerfully moving ballets. Newmark Theatre

THE LITTLE MERMAID

SAT-SUN APRIL 25-26 (through May 25) The Little Mermaid, who longs for life above the sea, soars into the air with a touch of circus performance, a dash of vaudeville, and a dance collective. Northwest Children’s Theater

ARTHUR MILLER PLAY: THE PRICE

FRI-SUN APRIL 24-26 The Price is about two estranged brothers who unearth long-buried resentments in the attic of their deceased father at Morrison Stage. Artists Repertory Theatre

PORTLAND’S RIVERS: CONTEMPORARY ART VIEWS

FRI-SUN APRIL 24-26 (ends July 11) This exhibit interprets Portland’s rivers and their influence on the city through paintings, prints and multimedia works. Pittock Mansion

GUIDED NATURE HIKES

FRI-SUN APRIL 24-26 (every day, various times & locations) Park guides lead nature hikes to explore the forest, stream ecosystems and natural history of the natural area. Tryon Creek State Park & more

PORTLAND SATURDAY MARKET

FRI-SUN APRIL 24-26 The nation’s largest weekly open-air arts and crafts market. Stroll down row upon row of unique creations made by the people who sell them. Old Town

VANCOUVER FARMER’S MARKET

FRI-SUN APRIL 24-26 You’ll discover fresh and local produce, flowers, plants, baked goods, delicious food, pet treats, and accessories for yourself, home, or garden. Over 250 Vendors! Downtown Vancouver, 8th & Ester St.

BANFF MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL WORLD TOUR

FRI-SAT APRIL 24-25 Join Mountain Gear for two evenings of adventure as we bring the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour to the Kiggins Theater in Vancouver. Each evening will have a different selection from this year’s films. Kiggins Theater

LILAC DAYS

FRI-SUN APRIL 24-26 Each year in the spring, the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens hosts Lilac Days to celebrate the beauty of lilacs in bloom. Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens

NEW MOVIES OUT THIS WEEK
Age of Adaline
• Little Boy
• Adult Beginners
• After the Ball
• Brotherly Love
• Emptying the Skies
• Kung Fu Killer
• Misery Loves Comedy
• Road to Juarez
• The Water Diviner


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