This Week in Real Estate: Dec. 21, 2015

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Finally, speculation ends after more than 9 years (June 2006) of no rate increase the Federal Reserve increased rates 0.25 percent This Week in Real Estate. The impact of the Feds action: still historically low rates. Below are a few of the highlights from the third week in December that influence our business:

* CoreLogic’s Equity Report Has Good News For Homeowners. The Equity Report provides a quarterly overview of the distribution of equity across all U.S. single-family residential properties with a mortgage. Nationwide, borrower equity increased year-over-year by $741 billion. During Q3, 256,000 residential properties regained equity, putting the number of mortgaged residential properties with equity at 46.3 million. That’s 92 percent of total mortgaged properties, CoreLogic said. The number of underwater home decreased year-over-year by 1.1 million, or 20.7 percent. 37.5 million borrowers have at least 20% equity in their home. Metro areas with the highest percentages of equity homes are: Seattle, Dallas, Denver, Portland, Oregon, Houston. The percentage of homes with positive equity in Washington is 96.5% and 96.4% in Oregon.
Full Story… https://www.inman.com/2015/12/16/corelogics-equity-report-has-good-news-for-homeowners/

* Washington Ends Year With Extended Tax Benefits For Homeowners. A significant piece of tax legislation is now on its way to the President’s desk, and the bill includes the extension of a number of expired tax provisions important to supporting homeowners and real estate investment including mortgage debt forgiveness and mortgage insurance premium deductions. Under the 2007 “Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act,” Congress changed the rules and said unpaid mortgage debt would not be regarded as taxable income, but only for five years. The rule has been continued through a series of extensions and now mortgage borrowers will be protected through 2016. The ability to write off mortgage insurance premiums has been in the tax code for several years but it’s a rule which is only extended annually. Under this regulation borrowers can deduct the cost of mortgage insurance premiums in the same way that they deduct mortgage interest. The mortgage insurance deduction was scheduled to end on December 31st but now Congress has decided it should continue until the end of 2016, at which point we can go through the extension process once again.
Full Story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/company-news/washington-ends-year-with-extended-tax-benefits-for-homeowners/

* Single-Family Starts Reach Seven-Year High in November. Nationwide housing starts rose 10.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.173 million units in November.
Single-family starts were up 7.6% to 768,000, their highest level since January 2008. Every region except the Midwest experienced a rise in single-family starts. Permits also peaked at their highest level since August 2007 at 1.289 million which was up 11% from an upwardly revised October. Single-family permits were up modestly but enough to also set an eight year record of 723,000. Regionally, the Midwest, South and West posted respective permit gains of 22%, 5.6% and 21.7%. Permit levels in the Northeast held steady.
Full Story… http://www.nahb.org/en/news-and-publications/Press-Releases/2015/december/single-family-starts-reach-seven-year-high-in-november.aspx

 

Have a productive week!

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: Dec. 7, 2015

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Due to a healthy November employment report, This Week in Real Estate once again fueled speculation that the Fed will raise interest rates before years end. Below are a few of the highlights from the first week in December that influence our business:

* 35 Percent of U.S. Markets at New All-Time Home Price Peaks. RealtyTrac released its October 2015 U.S. Home Sales Report, which shows that among 94 major metro areas analyzed for the report, 33 markets (35%) have now reached new all-time home price peaks in 2015. “More than one-third of the nation’s major housing markets have now reached new home price peaks this year. Home sellers are sitting pretty in this market, realizing an average profit-since-purchase of 16 percent – the highest in any month since December 2007,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. Metro areas that have reached new home price peaks in 2015 include Detroit, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, St. Louis, Denver, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Portland, San Antonio and Columbus, Ohio. There were a total of 2,815,704 single family homes and condos sold in the first 10 months of 2015. That was a nine-year high for the first 10 months of the year and a 6 percent jump from the same time period in 2014.
Full Story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/realtytrac-reports/october-2015-home-sales-report/

* Does November Jobs Report Signal December Interest Rate Hike? With the addition of 211,000 jobs in November, the economy continues to recover at a steady clip. It was the 69th consecutive month of private sector job growth, to the tune of 13.7 million jobs created – the longest streak on record. For the first time since 1999, we are on track to have back-to-back years of average monthly job growth over 200,000 jobs. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.0 percent. Job growth in November was not just solid but also widespread, including very strong growth in construction.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35763-november-jobs-report-signals-december-rate-hike-likely

* U.S Construction Spending Rises Solidly to Near Eight-Year High. U.S. construction spending rose more than expected in October as outlays rose across the board. Construction spending increased 1.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted $1.11 trillion rate, the highest level since December 2007, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. Construction outlays were up 13 percent compared to October of last year. Construction spending has risen every month this year.
Full Story… http://www.reuters.com/article/us-construction-spending-idUSKBN0TK4ZP20151201?feedType=RSS&feedName=businessNews#kSZlaGI0OzKR1Mdt.97

* Pending Sales Hold. After two consecutive monthly declines, the Pending Home Sales Index increased modestly in October from an upwardly revised September reading, and has increased year-over-year for 14 consecutive months. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors, increased 0.2% in October to 107.7 and is 3.9% above the same month a year ago. The PHSI increased in the Northeast and West by 4.5% and 1.7%, but declined in the South and Midwest by 1.7% and 1.0% respectively. Year-over-year, the West, Northeast and Midwest were up 10.4%, 6.8% and 3.3% respectively.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/11/pending-sales-hold/

Have a productive week!

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: Nov. 30, 2015

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Breaking news This Week in Real Estate: Google is now in the mortgage business. Below are a few of the highlights from the final week in November that influence our business:

* New Home Sales Beat Expectations. Sales of new single-family houses in October 2015 beat expectations and came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 495,000, according to estimates released jointly Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 10.7% above the revised September rate of 447,000 and is 4.9% above the October 2014 estimate of 472,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in October 2015 was $281,500, while the average sales price was $366,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of October was 226,000. This represents a supply of 5.5 months at the current sales rate.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35694-new-home-sales-beat-expectations

* Home Prices Continue Defying Gravity and Expectations. Price increases did not slow in the third quarter as expected the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said today. The agencies purchase-only seasonally adjusted House Price Index (HPI) for the quarter shows that prices rose for the 17th consecutive quarter and posted the largest month-over-month gain since at least that in March to April. The quarterly measure was 5.7 percent higher than in the third quarter of 2014. Year-over-year the increase for the entire U.S. was 6.1 percent. The 8 percent monthly gain crushed analysts expectations.”The long-anticipated slowdown in home price appreciation did not occur in the third quarter,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “The factors that have contributed to extraordinary price growth over the last few years-low interest rates, tight inventories, strong buyer confidence, and improving income growth-continued to drive prices upward in much of the country. However, as prices continue to rise, reduced affordability will be a stronger market headwind,” Leventis said.
Full Story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/11252015_fhfa_hpi.asp

* Google Launches Mortgage Comparison Tool. Well, it’s official. Google has come to mortgages. Google is launching its own mortgage comparison tool via its Compare service. Google Compare is no stranger to mortgages, just not in this country. Google Compare in the United Kingdon previously offered car insurance, travel insurance, credit cards and mortgages. Google began laying the groundwork in February, when it launched its own built-in mortgage calculator. Beginning very soon, consumers all over the country will be able to shop for a mortgage on Google. Imagine a consumer searching for “mortgage” on Google and being prompted to review a list of Google-approved lenders and their rates. “Google Compare for mortgages provides a seamless, intuitive experience that connects lenders with borrowers online,” Google posted on its website Monday.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35677-google-launches-mortgage-comparison-tool

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: Nov. 23, 2015

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This Week in Real Estate Fannie Mae reported their expectation of improved economic growth through the rest of the fourth quarter. Below are a few of the highlights from the third week in November that influence our business:

* Mortgage Foreclosures and Delinquencies at Lowest Level since 2007. The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four unit residential properties maintained its downward trend and dropped to 4.99% of all loans outstanding at the end of the third quarter of 2015, the latest Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Delinquency Survey stated. The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure. This marks the lowest level since the first quarter of 2007. The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the third quarter was 1.88%, posting the lowest foreclosure inventory rate seen since the third quarter of 2007. “The factors influencing this outcome include a nationwide housing market recovery, resolution of long-standing troubled loans that eventually proceeded through the foreclosure process, and an improving employment outlook that provided distressed borrowers viable alternatives to foreclosure,” said Marina Walsh, MBA’s vice president of Industry Analysis.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35624-mba-mortgage-foreclosures-and-delinquencies-at-lowest-level-since-2007

* Housing Starts Fall 11% in October, Building Permits Up. U.S. housing starts in October fell to a seven-month low, weighed down by a steep decline in the construction of multi-family homes, but a surge in building permits suggested the housing market remained on solid ground. “Overall, fundamentals for the sector remain solid. Household formation is rising, demand for new homes is outstripping supply, and home builder confidence remains near its highest level in a decade,” said Michelle Girard, chief economist at RBS. Groundbreaking dropped 11% in October, the lowest level since March. However, October marked the seventh straight month that starts remained above 1 million units, the longest stretch 2007. Building permits increased 4.1 percent. The October permit requests were above the starts number, and for the past three months permits have been running a little ahead of the building pace, so don’t be surprised if housing activity rebounds solidly in November.
Full Story… http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/18/us-usa-economy-idUSKCN0T71UQ20151118

* Economy Remains on Firm Footing. Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group expects economic growth to pick up in the fourth quarter, bringing growth for all of 2015 to 2.2 percent with a slight expansion to 2.4 percent in 2016. Solid consumer spending and an increase in construction activity, home sales, and home prices appear poised to offset global headwinds. “Our forecast for housing activity is little changed over the past several months. The supply of existing homes remains lean amid slowing new single-family construction, putting significant upward pressure on home prices. While this helps boost home equity, it hurts affordability, especially for potential first-time homebuyers. Meanwhile, we expect mortgage rates to rise only gradually through next year, and an improving income trend should help support affordability. We foresee total home sales improving further in 2016, albeit at less than half of the 8.0 percent increase expected this year,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Chief Economist.
Full Story… http://fanniemae.com/portal/about-us/media/financial-news/2015/6318.html

Have a productive week and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: Nov. 16, 2015

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This Week in Real Estate, the National Association of Realtors declared Q3 2015 the best quarter in a decade. Below are a few of the highlights from the second week in November that influence our business:

* Existing-Home Sales on Track for Further Expansion in 2016. Following the housing market’s best year since the recession, existing-home sales are expected to increase in 2016 at a moderate pace; although affordability pressures from inventory shortages and rising mortgage rates could slow the potential for even stronger sales momentum, according to an economic forecast forum at the 2015 REALTORS Conference & Expo. According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, the pent-up demand for buying in recent years finally broke out in a meaningful way in 2015, fueled by sustained job growth in many parts of the country and rising home values giving more homeowners the incentive to sell – a trend that he expects to continue next year. “Sales activity in 2016 will once again be primarily driven by the ongoing release of more pent-up sellers finally realizing their equity gains and using it towards the down payment on their next home,” said Yun. Yup forecasts home sales to finish 2015 at a pace of 5.30 million and then expand 3 percent to around 5.45 million in 2016. Full Story… http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2015/11/existing-home-sales-on-track-for-further-expansion-in-2016

* Third Quarter 2015 the Best Quarter in a Decade. The National Association of Realtors is calling the third quarter 2015 unquestionably the best quarter for the housing market in a decade. Existing home sales and the continuing shortages of product kept home prices rising in most of the country. Overall price appreciation did slow to what NAR calls a healthier pace. The median existing single-family home price increased in 154 of the 178 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) tracked by the association (87 percent) compared to median prices in the third quarter 2014. In the West, existing-home sales increased 3.9 percent in the third quarter and are 9.7 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 7.3 percent to $324,300. Full Story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/11122015_metro_home_prices_sales.asp

* Affordability Edges Lower in Third Quarter. Modest home price and interest rate increases resulted in a slight drop in nationwide housing affordability in the third quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). In all, 62.2 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and end of September were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800. This is down from the 63.2 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the second quarter. The national median price increased slightly from $230,000 in the second quarter to $231,000 in the third quarter. Meanwhile, average mortgage rates edged higher from 3.99 percent to 4.18 percent in the same period. Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/11/affordability-edges-lower-in-third-quarter/

Have a productive week!

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: Nov. 2, 2015

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Home values received significant attention nationally This Week in Real Estate. Many outlets reporting that home values have now eclipsed the peak values reached during the mid-2000 boom. Below are a few of the highlights from the last week in October that influence our business:

* Home Values Climb Beyond Last Decade’s Best, Then Keep Going. After 8 years, home values hit new record. U.S. home values rose through the summer months and have now eclipsed the nation’s peak home valuations, set in early 2007. The Home Price Index, which is published by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), shows U.S. property values up another 0.3 percent in August, adding to consecutive month win-streak which has now reached 21 months nationwide. Home values are up 5.5% from last year and market fundamentals remain strong. In August 2015, the Home Price Index climbed to 224.9, the highest published reading of all-time, eclipsing last decade’s peak of 224.0 set in April 2007. Full Story… http://themortgagereports.com/18387/fhfa-home-values-hpi-mortages

* U.S. Home Values and Rents Defying Global Slowdown. Home values and rental prices are steadily rising, fueled by strong demand and a tight supply of available properties, a pair of reports Tuesday showed. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 5.1 percent in the 12 months that ended in August – a level many economists view as more sustainable than the sharp double-digit gains at the start of 2014. For now, homes in tech hubs with a high concentration of good-paying jobs appear to be the main beneficiaries of rising prices. S&P reported that San Francisco and Denver both enjoyed a 10.7 percent year-over-year jump in home values, the largest of any city. Portland, Oregon’s annual gain of 9.4 percent was the third-largest. “Prices are rising the fastest in markets where job growth and net migration are the strongest and inventories are the tightest,” said Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo Securities. Full Story… http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/strong-sales-lift-us-home-prices-51-percent-34759996

* Housing Recovery to Pick Up Steam in 2016, but Challenges Remain. Steady employment and economic growth, pent-up demand, affordable home prices and attractive mortgage rates will keep the housing market on a gradual upward trend in 2016. However, persistent headwinds related to shortages and availability of lots and labor, along with rising material prices are impeding a more robust recovery. “This recovery is all about jobs,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. The good news, Crowe added, is that total U.S. employment of 142 million is now well above the previous peak of 138 million that occurred in 2008. Meanwhile, home equity has nearly doubled since 2011 and now stands at $12.5 trillion. The NAHB is projecting 719,000 single-family starts in 2015, up 11 percent from 647,000 units produced last year. Single-family production is projected to increase an additional 27 percent in 2016 to 914,000 units. Full Story… http://www.nahb.org/en/news-and-publications/Press-Releases/2015/october/housing-recovery-to-pick-up-steam-in-2016-but-challenges-remain.aspx

* Revised 2015 Origination Totals Equal Good News For Mortgage Lender. The mortgage market is still showing subtle signs of strength, beating original expectations for the year. For starters, the $253 billion in purchase originations in the second quarter of this year represents the strongest single quarter for industry originations since 3Q07. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) recently forecasted a 7% increase in mortgage originations in 2015, growing to $1.19 trillion, with purchase originations rising 15% to $731 billion in 2015, and refinance originations decreasing 3% to $457 billion. As for next year, during a press conference at its annual meeting in San Diego, the MBA said it expects a 10% increase in purchase mortgage originations next year compared to 2015. Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35494-revised-2015-origination-totals-equal-good-news-for-lenders

Have a productive week!

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: Oct. 26, 2015

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Following a modest dip in August activity, a very strong rebound in September sales dominate the headlines This Week in Real Estate. Below are a few of the highlights from the third week in October that influence our business:

* Existing U.S. Home Sales Second Highest Since 2007. U.S. home resales rose more than expected in September to the second highest monthly sales pace since February 2007, suggesting the housing market continues to show strength compared to the rest of the economy. Sales increased in all four regions of the United States, led by an 8.6 percent jump in the Northeast. Sales rose 6.7 percent in the West, 3.8 percent in the South and 2.3 percent in the Midwest while inventory continued to tighten. Unsold inventory was down to a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.1 months in August and 5.4 months a year ago. “As we enter more softer demand months, we may not really feel the squeeze of tight inventory, but come spring of next year…we could be facing a very tight inventory situation,” said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist. Housing has steadily improved relative to the rest of the U.S. economy, which has been buffeted by soft global demand, a strong dollar, and weak capital spending in the energy sector.
Full Story… http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-22/existing-u-s-home-sales-rise-to-second-highest-level-since-2007

* Builders Build More Homes. Housing starts for the month of September rose 6.5% to an eight year high of 1.206 million units on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. The increase was all in the multi-family sector, rising 18.3% to 466,000. Single-family starts were virtually unchanged at 740,000. This is the first month total starts passed the 1.2 million mark since October 2007. Single-family starts averaged 746,000 for the third quarter, up 5.7% from the second quarter. Multi-family starts averaged 418,000 for the third quarter, down 7.3% from the second quarter. On a year-to-date basis, both increased: single-family starts up 11% from the same period in 2014 and multi-family starts up 13.8%.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/10/builders-build-more-homes/

* Cash Sales at Nine-Year Low. Despite a steadily decreasing share of distressed sales and fewer investors in the market all-cash sales have not yet returned to normal levels nor, according to CoreLogic’s new report, will they for nearly two more years. Those sales made up 30.8 percent of all home sales in July, down from 34.2 percent in July 2014. The year-over-year share of all-cash sales has fallen each month since January 2013 and July’s were at the lowest level in nine years. Such sales peaked in January 2011 when they comprised 46.5 percent of the national market. The decline in cash sales has paralleled the drop in sales of lender owned properties (REO) which now constitute only 6.1 percent of home sales. Prior to the housing crisis, the cash sales share of total home sales averaged approximately 25 percent. If the cash sales share continues to fall at the same rate it did in July 2015, the share should return to that level by mid-2017. Full Story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/10232015_corelogic_cash_sales.asp

* Prices Now Within 1 Percent of Pre-Crash Peak. Prices as measured by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) are now roughly back to the same level as in December 2006. The Home Price Index (HPI) has regained most of the ground lost following the housing downturn and is now within 0.9 percent of its March 2007 peak. The 12 month changes were positive in every region, led by 8.3 percent in the Mountain division, 7.4 percent in the Pacific division, and 7.3 percent in the South Atlantic. The smallest increase was 2.2 percent in the Middle Atlantic division. Full Story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/10222015_fhfa_hpi.asp

Have a productive week!

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: Oct. 19, 2015

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This Week in Real Estate consumer confidence again is on the rise and according to a majority of people a home is a solid financial decision. Below are a few of the highlights from the second week in October that influence our business:

* Americans Think Homeownership is a Sound Investment. A vast majority of Americans believe that buying a home is a solid financial decision according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors. The 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey also found that a preponderance of Americans think that now is a good time to buy a home. The survey, which measures consumers’ attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas, found that more than 8 in 10 Americans believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision, and 68 percent believe that now is a good time to buy a home. Seventy-one percent believe they could sell their house for what they paid for it, a jump of 16 percentage points from 2013. The number of renters who are now thinking about purchasing a home is 39 percent. Sixty-one percent of renters stated that owning a home is a priority for their future. Full Story… http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2015/10/americans-think-homeownership-is-a-sound-investment

* Consumer Sentiment Beats Expectations in October. Consumer sentiment rose in October after three straight monthly declines. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary October reading on the index was 92.1. That was higher than the previous month’s reading of 87.2 and Reuters’ estimates of 89. “The rebound in confidence signifies that consumers have concluded that the fears expressed on Wall Street did not extend to Main Street. Importantly, the renewed confidence did not simply represent a relief rally, but instead reflected renewed optimism,” said Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist Richard Curtin.
Full Story… http://www.marketwatch.com/story/umich-sentiment-rises-to-921-in-october-first-increase-in-four-months-2015-10-16?siteid=rss

* Third Quarter Foreclosure Activity Increases From Year Ago in 32 States. RealtyTrac released its Q3 and September 2015 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report this week, which shows a total of 327,258 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – in the third quarter of 2015, down 5 percent from the previous quarter but up 3 percent from the third quarter 2014. The annual increase in the third quarter marked the second consecutive quarter where U.S. foreclosure activity increased on a year-over-year basis following 19 consecutive quarters of year-over-year decreases. A total of 133,811 U.S properties started the foreclosure process in the third quarter, down 12 percent from the previous quarter and down 14 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since the third quarter of 2005. There were a total of 123,040 U.S. properties repossessed by the lender in the third quarter, down less than 1 percent from the previous quarter but up 66 percent from a year ago. “The widespread rise in foreclosure activity in the third quarter compared to a year ago is the result of two starkly different trends taking place,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “In states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York, a flood of deferred distress from the last housing crisis is finally spilling over the legislative and legal dams that have held back some foreclosure activity for years. On the other hand, in states such as Texas, Michigan and Washington, the third quarter increases are a sign that the foreclosure market has settled into a normalized pattern close to or even below pre-crisis levels, and in those states the overall housing market should easily absorb the additional foreclosure activity with little impact on home values.”
Full Story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/foreclosure-trends/realtytrac-foreclosure-market-report-for-q3-and-september-2015/

* Homeowners Overvalued Their Homes for the Eighth-Straight Month in September. The trend of homeowners estimating their property’s value higher than the actual appraised value continued in September. Nationally, appraiser opinions were an average of 2 percent below the values supplied by the homeowner. This is an improvement from August, when appraisals were 2.65 percent below what was expected by the homeowner. The findings marked the eighth consecutive month homeowner estimates outpaced appraiser opinions.
Full Story… http://www.quickenloans.com/press-room/2015/10/13/overvalued-eighth-straight-month/

Have a productive week!

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: Oct. 12, 2015

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A rather quiet week on the national front This Week in Real Estate is just fine, because less “noise” is good. With just 12-weeks left in 2015 we all must move forward with laser focus to close the great year we started strong. Lets recommit to our marketing/prospecting activities in the final 80+ days of the year and put forth a perfect effort ensuring a great start to 2016. Below are a few of the highlights from the first full week in October that influence our business:

* Housing Indicator Approaches Peak Level. Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) increased to 83.8 in September, and The HPSI Good Time to Sell component increased 13 points on net, due likely to a strong home price environment coupled with a slight improvement in consumers’ economic outlook. Additionally, the Good Time to Buy component increased 3 points on net as high rental costs may be encouraging more renters to consider homeownership. The HPSI summarizes consumers attitudes about whether it is a good or bad time to buyer or to sell a house. Consumers’ confidence in their employment and financial situations climbed 2 and 3 points, respectively, further suggesting a possible firmer footing for housing. “The HPSI returned near its record high this month, driven primarily by improvement in attitudes about selling a home and strengthening home prices,” Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae said.
Full Story… http://rismedia.com/2015-10-07/housing-indicator-approaches-peak-level/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=eNews

* Distressed Sales Down to Just 9% of Homes Sold. Distressed sales, which include real estate-owned properties and short sales, accounted for 9.4% of total home sales nationally in July 2015, down 2.1 percentage points from July 2014 and down 0.4 percentage points from June 2015. REO sales accounted for 6.1% and short sales made up 3.3% of total home sales in July 2015. The REO sales share was the lowest since September 2007 when it was 5.2%. The short sales share fell below 4% in mid-2014 and has remained in the 3-4% range since then. At its peak in January 2009, distressed sales totaled 32.4% of all sales, with REO sales representing 27.9% of that share. There will always be some level of distress in the housing market, and by comparison, the pre-crisis share of distressed sales was traditionally about 2%. If the current year-over-year decrease in the distressed sales share continues, it would reach that “normal” 2% mark in mid-2019. Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35304-distressed-sales-down-to-just-9-of-homes-sold

* US Jobless Claims Fall to Near 42-Year Low. The number of Americans filing new applications for jobless benefits fell more than expected to a near 42-year low last week, pointing to ongoing tightening in the labor market despite the recent slowdown in hiring. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 263,000 for the week ended October 3. That was the lowest since mid-July when the number of claims was at its lowest since 1973. Hitting such a historical low is remarkable considering the U.S. workforce has grown considerably since the 1970s. It was also the 31st straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is usually associated with a strengthening labor market. Full Story… http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/08/us-weekly-jobless-claims-oct-3-2105.html

* Vacant ‘Zombie’ Foreclosures Down 43% in Third Quarter 2015 Compared to a Year Ago. RealtyTrac this week released its Q3 Zombie Foreclosure and Vacant Property Report, which shows 20,050 residential properties in the foreclosure process – but not yet repossessed – were vacant “zombie” homes as of the end of the third quarter of 2015, down 27 percent from the previous quarter and down 43 percent from a year ago. Vacant residential properties in the foreclosure process accounted for 1.3 percent of all vacant residential properties, with bank-owned homes (REO) accounting for another 1.9 percent of all vacant properties as of the end of the third quarter. The report shows a total of 1.5 million vacant U.S. residential properties, 1.8 percent of all 84.7 million U.S. residential properties.
Full Story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/foreclosure-trends/realtytrac-q3-2015-u-s-zombie-foreclosure-and-vacant-property-report/

This week Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices introduced a new video tool, Videolicious. With the rise in popularity of video I strongly encourage you to dedicate some time this week, if you have not already, to learn how to use and incorporate this tool in your business.

 

Have a productive week!

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: Oct. 5, 2015

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The most prominent discussion topic This Week in Real Estate centered around the October 3 effective date of TRID or better known as the Know Before You Owe rule. As you move forward please be cognizant of how the rule change impacts your clients and that your settlement service provider partners (mortgage, title and escrow) are prepared to successfully navigate the closing process. Below are a few of the highlights from the final week in September that influence our business:

* After 8 Years Home Values Finally Eclipse 2007 Peak. According to the Home Price Index (HPI), a home-valuation tracker published by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), U.S. property values rose in July, marking the 20th straight month of growth nationwide; and forty-first out of 42. In July the HPI climbed to 224.5, a 0.6 percent increase from the month prior which moved the HPI to its highest reading of all-time. The previous peak was 224.0, set in April 2007 at the height of last decade’s housing boom. Full Story… http://themortgagereports.com/18248/fhfa-home-price-index-all-time-high-2007

* Pending Sales Retreat. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) decreased in August, but has increased year-over-year for 12 consecutive months. The PHSI, a forward looking indicator based on signed contracts, decreased 1.4% in August from the prior month, but is up 6.1% from the same month a year ago. While increasing in the West, the PHSI declined in the other three regions month-over-month. Year-over-year, the PHSI was up in all four regions, ranging from 8.9% to 4.1%. Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/09/pending-sales-retreat/

* Consumer Confidence Rebounded in September. The Conference Board released its Consumer Confidence Index for September this week. The index is a composite of separate indexes tracking consumers’ assessments of current business, income and employment conditions, as well as their expectations for the future. The Consumer Confidence Index increased to a level of 103.0 in September from 101.3 in August. The Index has rebounded to levels close to the pre-recession peak of 111.9 in July 2007. Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/09/consumer-confidence-rebounded-in-september/

Have a productive week!

Jason


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