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…
* 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…
* 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…
* 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.
Have a productive week!