This Week in Real Estate: March 21, 2016

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The most significant news This Week in Real Estate was that the Federal Reserve left the interest rates unchanged following their March meeting. Where the U.S. central bank at its December meeting had projected 4 rate hikes in 2016, new estimates released Wednesday reduced that number to 2. Below are a few highlights from the third week of March that influence our business:

* Residential Housing Starts Hit 5-Month High While Single-Family Home Starts Hit 9-Year High. New residential construction reached its highest in five months as there remains a huge demand for single-family homes. According to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, home starts rose 5.2% and increased with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.18 units. An improvement from January’s estimate of 1.12 and is 30.9% above February 2015’s rate of 900,000. Construction for single-family homes increased 7.2% to an 822,000 unit pace, the highest since November 2007. While construction activity in the northeast were low at 51.3%, home starts increased 19.9% in the Midwest and 26.1% in the west regions. In the south, home starts were at 7.1%. Single-family home completions also increased, rising 6.1% to a 736,000 annualized rate, the highest peak since November 2008.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36529-residential-housing-starts-hit-5-month-high?eid=322520585&bid=1341748

* Loan Closings Back to Pre-TRID Timelines. Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report published on Wednesday by Ellie Mae shows there was a sharp decline in the time it took to close a loan in February. Average closing timelines rose with the introduction of new Truth-in-Lending (TRID) disclosure rules for loans applied for on or after October 3. It took an average of three or four additional days to take a loan from application to closing for all loans that closed in November than it did in October and those timelines remained elevated through January. The drop in February brings most closing days back to levels that prevailed before TRID became an issue. Ellie Mae reports that the time to close all loans dropped from 50 days in January to 46 in February, the shortest timeframe since last May. The average time to close a purchase decreased from 51 days in January to 48 days in February.
Full Story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/03172016_ellie_mae_loan_metrics.asp

* NAR HOME Survey Underscores Need for More Single-Family Home Construction. Over three-quarters of surveyed households would purchase a single-family home if they were to buy in the next six months, and 79 percent of renters would choose to buy outside of an urban area, according to the second installment of the National Association of Realtors new quarterly consumer survey. The survey also found that confidence about now being a good time to buy is waning amongst renters, particularly in the West – where prices have solidly risen. The survey data reveals an overwhelming consumer preference for single-family homes in suburban areas. Most current homeowners (85%) and 75 percent of renters said they would purchase a home in a suburban area, while only 15 percent of homeowners and 21 percent of renters said they would buy in an urban area.
Full Story… http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2016/03/nar-home-survey-underscores-need-for-more-single-family-home-construction
Have a productive week!

Jason

 

This Week in Real Estate: March 14, 2016

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A much better than expected February jobs report fuels consumer confidence This Week in Real Estate. Below are a few highlights from the second week of March that influence our business:

* Mortgage Rates Looking Favorable for Spring Home Buying Season. Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) this week, showing mortgage rates moving higher for the second week in a row, while also only posting the second increase this year making mortgage rates very attractive for the upcoming spring home buying season. “The 10-year Treasury yield ended the survey week exactly where it started, however the solid February employment report boosted the yield noticeably on Friday and Monday. Our mortgage rate survey captured the impact of this temporary increase in yield, and the 30-year mortgage rate rose 4 basis points to 3.68. This marks the second increase this year. Nonetheless, the mortgage rate remains 33 basis points lower than its end-of-2015 level,” said Sean Becketti, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac.
Full Story… http://freddiemac.mwnewsroom.com/press-releases/mortgage-rates-looking-favorable-for-spring-home-b-otcqb-fmcc-1248416?feed=429e0be3-9aef-4a3a-9775-43f8e470d510

* 1 Million Borrowers Regained Equity Last Year. Approximately 1 million borrowers regained equity in 2015, boosting the total number of mortgaged residential properties with equity at the end of the fourth quarter 2015 to 46.3 million, or 91.5% of all mortgaged properties, a new report from CoreLogic said. Borrower equity increased year-over-year by $682 billion in Q4 2015. “In Q4 of last year home equity increased $680 billion or 11.5%, the 13th consecutive quarter of double digit growth,” said Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic.
Full Story… http://www.corelogic.com/about-us/news/corelogic-reports-1-million-us-borrowers-regained-equity-in-2015.aspx

* Completed Foreclosures Drop 16.2%. Foreclosure inventory declined by 21.7%, and completed foreclosures declined by 16.2% compared with January 2015, CoreLogic’s latest January 2016 National Foreclosure Report showed. The number of completed foreclosures nationwide decreased year-over-year from 46,000 in January 2015 to 38,0000 in January 2016. The number of completed foreclosures in January 2016 was down 67.6% from the peak in September 2010 of 117,743. “In January, the national foreclosure rate was 1.2%, down to one-third the peak from exactly five years earlier in January 2011, a remarkable improvement,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said. “The month’s supply of foreclosure fell to 12 months, which is modestly above the nine-month rate seen 10 years earlier and indicates the market’s ability to clear the stock of foreclosures is close to normal.”
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36469-corelogic-completed-foreclosures-drop-162?eid=322520585&bid=1333280

* Unemployment Scrapes Lowest Level Since 2008. In great news for the U.S. economy, 242,000 jobs were added in February, with the unemployment rate flat at 4.9 percent, according to recently released Bureau of Labor statistics. This was well above market expectations of 190,000 new jobs, and the lowest unemployment level since May 2008. “February’s employment situation report should strengthen consumer confidence,” says realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “Additionally, the strong pace of job creation should lead to continued positive household formation. Combined with substantial pent-up demand for home purchases, we remain confident we will see the strongest spring buying season in a decade.”
Full Story… http://rismedia.com/2016-03-06/unemployment-scrapes-lowest-level-since-2008/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=eNews

Have a productive week!

Jason

 

This Week in Real Estate: March 7, 2016

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Appraisal volume and consumer spending is on the rise This Week in Real Estate, which bodes well for a strong spring selling season. Below are a few highlights from the first week of March that influence our business:

* Winter’s Top 5 Hottest Single-Family Housing Markets. Where will the hottest markets be as we move into the busy spring home buying season? Ten-X, formerly Auction.com, released its report on the top single-family housing markets this winter, which ranks the nation’s 50 largest housing markets according to current and forecasted housing fundamentals. According to the list, these markets had the best combination of rising home prices, favorable affordability and strong housing demand, combined with strong economic and demographic conditions that point to future demand. “The U.S. housing market recovery continues to be supported by underlying economic fundamentals, particularly the improved labor market,” said Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio. The top 5 hottest single-family housing markets: 1. Seattle, Washington, 2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 3. Orlando, Florida, 4. Portland, Oregon, and 5. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36448-here-are-winters-top-5-hottest-single-family-housing-markets

* Consumer Spending Has Biggest Increase in Eight Months. Consumers ramped up their spending in January at the fastest pace in eight months as incomes also continued to grow at a strong pace in a sign economic growth is improving after slowing at the end of last year. Incomes rose in January for the 10th-straight month and the 0.5 percent increase was the best since June. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity and the increase in January bodes well for a pick-up in economic growth in the first quarter of the year.
Full Story… http://rismedia.com/2016-02-28/consumer-spending-has-biggest-increase-in-eight-months/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=eNews

* Appraisal Volume Rises as Spring Home Buying Season Starts Early. Appraisal volume jumped 8.4% for the week of February 21, marking the fifth consecutive week of increases, as the spring homebuying season draws closer, a la mode, an appraisal software company that tracks appraisal volume throughout the country. Appraisal volume is an indicator of market strength and has some advantages over mortgage applications. Fallout is less for appraisals since they are ordered later in the mortgage process after credit worthiness determined and there are few multiple-orders.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36420-appraisal-volume-rises-as-spring-homebuying-season-starts-early

* Home Flipping on the Rise in 75 Percent of Markets. Home flipping shot up in 2015, with 179,778 U.S. single-family homes and condos flipped, 5.5 percent of all single-family home and condo sales during the year, according to RealtyTrac. The 5.5 percent share of U.S. home flips in 2015 was up from a 5.3 percent share in 2014, marking the first annual increase in the share of homes flipped following four consecutive years of decreases. The share of homes flipped in 2015 increased from the previous year in 83 of 110 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas nationwide analyzed for the report (75 percent). “Homes flipped in 2015 were on average purchased at a 26 percent discount below estimated market value and re-sold by the flipper at a 5 percent premium above estimated market value.”
Full Story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/real-estate-investing/2015-year-end-and-q4-u-s-home-flipping-report/

Have a productive week!

Jason

 

This Week in Real Estate: Feb. 29, 2016

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This Week in Real Estate was fueled by better than anticipated existing home sale numbers for January. Below are a few highlights from the fourth week of February that influence our business:

* There’s Reason to Be Excited About the U.S. Housing Market. Economic data and corporate earnings reports released on Tuesday make it easy to remember why the housing market is expected to be one of the U.S. economy’s bright spots for years to come. During an interview on Bloomberg TV, Douglas Yearly, CEO of Toll Brothers, noted that he didn’t see any recessionary conditions in the U.S. but cautioned that volatility in financial markets was beginning to weigh on deals. “There’s a real disconnect right now between the housing market and the broader markets.” While the downdraft in equity prices won’t make American’s feel any richer, home price appreciation should help cushion the blow. “Home sales are at cycle highs, but the market still seems mainly to be dominated by supply constraints. This suggests that home prices generally still continue to rise at a solid pace,” said Johnny Bo Jakobsen, chief analyst at Nordea Markets.
Full Story… http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-24/there-s-reason-to-be-excited-about-the-u-s-housing-market

* Existing Sales Advance. Existing home sales, as reported by NAR, increased 0.4% in January to the highest level since July, and are up 11% from last January. The first-time buyer share for 2015 averaged 30%, up from 29% in 2014 and 2013. Year-over-year, all regions increased, including 20.6% in the Northeast, 18.2% in the Midwest, 8.3% in the West and 5.7% in the South. Total housing inventory increased by 3.4% in January, but remains 2.2% lower than its level a year ago. January represented the 47th consecutive month of year-over-year median sales price increases. The Pending Home Sales Index increased slightly in December, and the sharp volatility in November and December existing sales was a function of implementing a new regulation. Builder sentiment remains strong, and the tight inventory homes bodes well for new single-family sales in 2016.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/02/existing-sales-advance/

* U.S. Housing Market Continues Its Steady Comeback. Freddie Mac on Wednesday released its Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi), showing the U.S. housing market continuing to improve with two additional states – Florida and Arizona – entering their outer range of stable housing activity. The MiMi purchase applications indicator improved by 9% in 2015, its best showing since September 2013.The national MiMi value stands at 82.7, indicating a housing market that is on its outer range of stable housing activity. On a year-over-year basis, the national MiMi value has improved 7.65% percent. On a year-over-year basis, the most improving states were Florida (+16.59%), Oregon (+15.64%), Colorado (+14.09%), Washington (+12.58%) and Nevada (+12.54%). In December, 45 of 50 states and 86 of the top 100 metro areas were showing an improving three-month trend. The same time last year, 19 of 50 states, and 49 of the top 100 metro areas were showing an improving three-month trend.
Full Story… http://freddiemac.mwnewsroom.com/press-releases/u-s-housing-market-continues-its-steady-comeback-otcqb-fmcc-1245689?feed=429e0be3-9aef-4a3a-9775-43f8e470d510

* Appraisal Volume Records Fourth Week of Consecutive Increases. Appraisal volume recorded its fourth week of consecutive increases, with volume rising 1.9% for the week of February 14, according to the most recent report from a la mode, an appraisal forms software company that tracks appraisal volume throughout the country. Appraisal volume is an indicator of market strength and has some advantages over mortgage applications. Fallout is less for appraisals since they are ordered later in the mortgage process after credit worthiness determined and there are few multiple-orders.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36351-appraisal-volume-records-fourth-week-of-consecutive-increases

Have a productive week!

Jason

 

This Week in Real Estate: Feb. 22, 2016

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Inventory and rates continue to dominate the headlines This Week in Real Estate. Below are a few highlights from the third week of February that influence our business:
 
* When Will Housing Inventory Shortages Finally End? Four years in active recovery, and the housing market can’t seem to get past the inventory shortage that penetrates into all crevasses of the industry. And while this won’t change this year, there may be hope for next year as builders start to play catch-up. The most recent existing-home sales report from NAR said the total housing inventory at the end of December dropped 12.3% to 1.79 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 3.8% lower than a year ago (1.86 million). Part of the lack of inventory is due to the limited supply of better-located lots suitable for the trade-up market. In general, broad lot development has lagged as many land developers left the industry during the downturn and those remaining were cautious or financially constrained in their subsequent development activities. However, this could finally start to change. Additional capital has been committed to land development, but the sector is still playing catch-up. Looking to 2016, at least a few public builders are opening or planning to open subdivisions in outlying communities and offering more affordable housing targeted to first-time buyers.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36327-when-will-housing-inventory-shortages-finally-end
 
* Mortgage Rates Remain Near 10-Month Lows. Two months ago, when the Federal Reserve announced it was raising its benchmark rate, most observers expected mortgage rates to start creeping higher. Instead, for the past six weeks, the average for the 30-year fixed-rate, the most popular home loan product, has fallen 36 basis points (a basis point is 0.01 percentage point). It is now at its lowest level in 10 months. Mortgage rates are closely tied to the movement of the 10-year Treasury, and investors lately have been flooding the bond market, driving down yields, so rates on home loans have tumbled. According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average held steady at 3.65 percent with an average of 0.5 point, same as it was a week ago (points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount). It was 3.76 percent a year ago.
Full Story… https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/where-we-live/wp/2016/02/18/mortgage-rates-remain-near-10-month-lows/

* Homeowners: 4 Tax Deductions to Maximize Your IRS Refund. It’s tax season again. While you might not be jumping for joy at the thought of this, let’s at least make sure you’re doing your due diligence and gaining all the benefits you can from tax deductions that apply to you. The mortgage interest deduction might be one of the first ones to mind, but it’s definitely not the only one. Four tax deductions to maximize your IRS refund: (1) residential energy credits, (2) mortgage interest, mortgage insurance premiums and deductible points, (3) moving expenses and (4) home office.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/blogs/1-rewired/post/36311-homeowners-4-tax-deductions-to-maximize-your-irs-refund?eid=322520585&bid=1314331
Have a productive week!

Jason

 

This Week in Real Estate: Feb. 15, 2016

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Six weeks into 2016 and the stock market is struggling to find stability. The question This Week in Real Estate is how much further can interest rates drop? Below are a few highlights from the second week of February that influence our business:

* Mortgage Rates Drop Six Weeks Straight. The downward trend in mortgage rates continued for the sixth consecutive week amid ongoing market volatility, the latest results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey found. “In a falling rate environment, mortgage rates often adjust more slowly than capital market rates, and the early-2016 flight-to-quality has run true to form,” said Sean Becketti, chief economist with Freddie Mac. “The 30-year mortgage rate has dropped 36 basis points since the start of the year, while the yield on the 10-year treasury has dropped 59 basis points over the same period. If treasury yields were to hold at current levels, mortgage rates might well sink a little further before stabilizing,” he said. Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36260-freddie-mac-mortgage-rates-drop-six-weeks-straight?eid=322520585&bid=1308495

* Foreclosures Fall to Lowest Level Since 2006. In another sign that the recovery from the housing crisis is ongoing rather than stalled out, the total number of completed foreclosures in 2015 was the lowest number of completed foreclosures in any year since 2006, a new report from CoreLogic shows. The numbers hit a 8-year low just last month. The number of completed foreclosures fell more than 20% from 2014 to 2015, making it the best year since before the housing crisis began. The number of completed foreclosures in December 2015 was down 72.8% from the peak of 117,722 in September 2010. As of December 2015, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 433,000, or 1.1%, of all homes with a mortgage compared with 568,000 homes, or 1.5%, in December 2014. The December 2015 foreclosure inventory rate is the lowest for any month since November 2007. The December 2015 serious delinquency rate (90 days or more past due) was the lowest in eight years, falling to the lowest level since November 2007. Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36238-corelogic-foreclosures-fall-to-lowest-level-since-2006?eid=322520585&bid=1306038

* Home-Price Growth Sped Up Last Year. Home-price growth accelerated late last year, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors. The national median existing single-family home price grew nearly 7% in the fourth quarter, compared with the same time last year. Prices increased year-over-year in 81% of markets measured by NAR. But 30 metro areas saw double-digit increases. Western and sunbelt markets continued to see some of the biggest gains. Full Story… http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/02/10/home-price-growth-sped-up-last-year-realtors-say/

Have a productive week!

Jason

 

This Week in Real Estate: Feb. 8, 2016

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Groundhog’s Day was this week and the most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow (only 14 times in 95 years). As we all know, that means an earlier start to spring, which for This Week in Real Estate means an earlier start to our spring selling season. Below are a few highlights from the first week of February that influence our business:

* U.S. Home Sellers in 2015 Realized Biggest Price Gains Since 2007. RealtyTrac released its Year-End 2015 U.S. Home Sales Report this week, which shows that U.S. home sellers in 2015 realized an average price gain since purchase of 11 percent ($20,378), the biggest average price gain for U.S. home sellers since 2007 – an eight-year high. The 11 percent average price gain in 2015 marked the second consecutive year where U.S. home sellers realized an average price gain following six consecutive years where U.S. home sellers realized average price losses. “This return to consistent home price gains for sellers should reinforce confidence in real estate in 2016 and produce another year of solid sales volume as homeowners cash out their equity gains,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. Additional results: 38 percent of markets hit new all-time home price peak in 2015, home sales volume reaches nine-year high and distressed sales and short sales combined drop to eight-year low.
Full Story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/home-prices-and-sales/realtytrac-year-end-2015-u-s-home-sales-report/

* January Housing Data Offers Strong 2016 Outlook. Economic uncertainty driven by a tumultuous start of the year for financial markets does not seem to be dampening the pent-up demand that drove growth and sales in 2015. Instead, year-over-year trends point to this spring being the busiest since 2006, according to the analysis of preliminary January data on realtor.com. The residential real estate market is following a typical January pattern, with cooler demand, reduced inventory and slower market velocity than during warmer months in most markets. Despite these monthly trends, 2016 is off to a strong start with robust year-over-year growth. January median list prices are expected to show a substantial increase of 8 percent year-over-year, despite a slight decrease from December. Homes are selling 4 percent faster this year when compared to last year. “Our initial readings on January affirm the positive growth we expect to see in the residential real estate market in 2016,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of realtor.com. “A large number of prospective buyers have been telling us since the second half of 2015 that they plan to purchase in the spring and summer of 2016. All indicators point to this spring being the busiest since 2006, but we’ll need to see inventory grow more robustly this year to satisfy these buyers,” adds Smoke. “The decline in the stock market so far seems to be a net positive for real estate demand. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates are now about 25 basis points lower than at the end of 2015.”
Full Story… http://rismedia.com/?p=106831

* Homeownership Finally Rising After a Decade of Decline. Homeownership rates continue to rise for a second quarter in a row due to job growth and the ability to gain credit. According to the Census Bureau, the share of Americans who own their homes was 63.8% in the fourth quarter, up from 63.4% in the previous three months. Per Bloomberg Business, “The homeownership rate has found a floor,” Matthew Pointon, U.S. property economist for Capital Economics. “We expect it to rise very gradually over the next few years.” Per the Census Bureau’s second quarter report: for householders from 35 – 44 years of age, the homeownership rate increased the most, from 58.1 to 59.3%. For householders 65 years and older, the homeownership rate also rose slightly, from 78.7% to 79.3%. For householders from 45 – 54 years of age, the homeownership rate rose slightly, from 69.9% to 70.1%. For householders from 55 – 64 years of age, the homeownership rate fell, from 75.3% to 75.2%.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36166-homeownership-finally-rising-after-decade-of-decline?eid=322520585&bid=1297728

 
Have a productive week!
Jason

This Week in Real Estate: Feb. 1, 2016

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This Week in Real Estate Oregon and Washington top the list of strongest housing markets in 2016 as reported by Veros Real Estate Solutions. Rising mortgage applications and low rates to end the first month of 2016. Below are a few of the highlights from the final week of January that influence our business:

* The 25 Strongest and Weakest Housing Markets for 2016. A new report from Veros Real Estate Solutions, a provider of enterprise risk management, collateral valuation services and predictive analytics, show the vitality and expected market changes of the U.S. residential market for 2016. In all the top forecast markets, Veros’ report shows an appreciation in the 10% range, especially in the Pacific Northwest, such as California, Washington and Oregon. “Portland, Seattle and Bend are numbers 1, 2 and 4 in the nation, respectively. Oregon, Washington and North Carolina showed the biggest gains in one-year forecast levels from last quarter’s update,” said Eric Fox, vice president of statistical and economic modeling at Veros.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36121-here-are-the-25-strongest-and-weakest-housing-markets-for-2016?eid=322520585&bid=1296355

* Mortgage Applications Rise Three Weeks Straight. For the third week in a row, mortgage application increased, rising 8.8% from one week earlier, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly mortgage applications survey for the week ending January 22, 2016. The refinance index increased 11% from the previous week, while the seasonally adjusted index increased 5% from one week earlier. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) reached its lowest level since October 2015, dropping to 4.02%, from 4.06%. Also falling, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) decreased to 3.89% from 3.93%.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36114-mba-mortgage-applications-rise-three-weeks-straight?eid=322520585&bid=1293033

* Mortgage Rates in Line With 8-Month Lows. Mortgage rates were at 3-month lows on Thursday and on Friday had moved in line with 8-month lows. For most lenders, there was a day or 2 in October that was just slightly better than today, but the differences are negligible. Before that, you’d have to go back to April to find anything remotely as good. At these levels, some of the most aggressive lenders are quoting 3.625% conventional 30yr fixed rates on top tier scenarios. Global financial markets came into the new year in distress. Major stock indices are plummeted around the world, and investors sought shelter in the bond market. When investor demand for bonds increases, rates fall. So we’re left with much lower mortgage rates despite the Fed having just begun its hiking cycle. This paradoxical trend can continue as long as global market turmoil fuels a demand for safer haven investments.
Full Story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/consumer_rates/562453.aspx

 
Have a productive week!
Jason

This Week in Real Estate: Jan. 25, 2016

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This Week in Real Estate there is news of the significant rebound of existing home sales in December as well as the healthy year-over-year increase in housing permits and starts, which bodes well for 2016. Below are a few of the highlights from the third week of January that influence our business:

* Existing-Home Sales Surge Back in December. Existing-home sales snapped back solidly in December as more buyers reached the market before the end of the year, and the delayed closings resulting from the rollout of the Know Before You Owe (TRID) initiative pushed a portion of November’s would-be transactions into last month’s figure. Led by the South and West, all four major regions saw large increases in December. Total existing-home sales ascended 14.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in December from 4.76 million in November. After last month’s turnaround (the largest monthly increase ever recorded), sales are now 7.7 percent above a year ago. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says December’s robust bounce back caps off the best year of existing sales since 2006. “While the carryover of November’s delayed transactions into December contributed greatly to the sharp increase, the overall pace taken together indicates sales these last two months maintained the healthy level of activity seen in most of 2015,” he said.
Full Story… http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2016/01/existing-home-sales-surge-back-in-december

* Mortgage Performance Continues to Improve. It was a year of significant improvement in the distressed home arena. According to Black Knight Financial Services there was a 22 percent decrease in the national foreclosure inventory while the number of delinquent mortgages declined by nearly 15 percent.
Full Story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/01222016_black_knight_first_look.asp

* Home Starts Up 10.8 Percent in 2015. Total housing starts were up in 2015, weighing in at 1.11 million – that’s 10.8 percent higher than in 2014. Single-family starts were up 10.4 percent to 715,300 and multifamily starts were up 11.4 percent to 396,000. “All in all, we’ve made significant gains in 2015 as we closed out at the strongest calendar year for housing starts since 2007,” said Quicken Loans Vice President Bill Banfield. Housing permits were up for the year by 12 percent to 1.18 million with increases in both single-family (up 7.9%) and multifamily (11.4%). “We expect total starts to grow to 1.23 million in 2016, which would be an increase of 11 percent over the number initially reported for 2015. 1.23 million starts will be the highest year for starts since 2007,” said realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/01/home-construction-up-for-2015/

* An Inside Look at Millenial Credit Profiles. Only 3% of Millenials have taken out a mortgage, while 24% have taken out student loans and 27% have opened credit card accounts. So, where is all their cash going? After all, this is the largest generation, with 92 million Millenials.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36079-infographic-an-inside-look-at-millennial-credit-profiles?eid=322520585&bid=1288852

 
Have a productive week!
Jason

This Week in Real Estate: January 18, 2016

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Despite the Dow Jones rough start to 2016, This Week in Real Estate continued to report very favorable year-end results from November and December, carrying forward the positive momentum in U.S. real estate. Below are a few of the highlights from the second week of 2016 that influence our business:

* All-Cash Share of U.S. Home Sales in November Jumps to Highest Level Since March 2013. RealtyTrac November home sales data shows the share of cash sales jumped to 38.1 percent of U.S. single family home and condo sales during the month – up from 29.8 percent in October and up from 30.9 percent a year ago to the highest level since March 2013, when 38.8 percent of all sales were all-cash. The 23 percent year-over-year increase in share of cash sales nationwide followed 29 consecutive months of annual declines in the share of all-cash home sales. “The jump in cash sales is likely a knee-jerk reaction to the new documentation and disclosure rules for mortgages that took effect in October, making it even more difficult for buyers using financing to compete with cash buyers in the already competitive housing market,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Global economic instability may also be driving more foreign cash buyers back to the relative safety of U.S. real estate.” November cash share of home sales in the metro areas of Portland and Seattle were 37.9 percent and 31.9 percent respectively.
Full Story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/home-prices-and-sales/november-2015-u-s-cash-sales-report/

* Consumer Confidence in December. The Consumer Confidence Index, recently released by the Conference Board, rose to 96.5 in December from 92.6 in November. Both subcomponents, the present situation and expectations indices, rebounded in December as well. The present situation index rose to 115.3 in December from 110.9 in November; the expectations index climbed up to 83.9 in December from 80.4 in November. As the recovery from the Great Recession continues, consumer confidence is climbing up toward to the pre-recession levels.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/01/consumer-confidence-in-december-beyond-the-monthly-volatile-data/

* Home Appraisals Fall Short of Owner Expectations Last 11 Months of 2015; Spread Tightens in December. The average appraised values in December were 1.8% lower than the homeowner’s opinion of their home’s value, according to Quicken Loans national Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). December is the 11th straight month when appraised values were lower than homeowners expected, although December marks the fourth month the gap between the two values have narrowed. Appraised values increased a modest 0.18 percent from November, but have risen a steady 5.81 percent since December 2014 and 3.8 percent since the beginning of the year. The West remains the leader in annual home value growth, rising 8.61 percent since December 2014, while the Northeast trails all other regions with a 1.87 percent increase. “2015 bookends with the same story we have heard throughout the year – a housing supply that trails the demand, continuing to push values higher,” said Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters.
Full Story… http://www.quickenloans.com/press-room/2016/01/13/home-appraisals-fall-short-spread-tightens/

* CoreLogic: Foreclosures Fall to Lowest Level Since 2007. The inventory of homes in foreclosure continued to decrease in November 2015, falling to the lowest level since November 2007, a new report from CoreLogic showed. “Tight post-crash underwriting standards coupled with much improved economic and housing market fundamentals have combined to push new mortgage delinquencies to 15-year-lows,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. The report shows that during the month of November foreclosure inventory declined by 21.8% and completed foreclosures declined by 18.8% compared with November 2014. The number of completed foreclosures in November was down 71.6% from the peak of 117,657 in September 2010. “30 states have foreclosure rates below the national average of 1.2% which is evidence of the solid improvement,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist of CoreLogic. The foreclosure inventory rate at the end of November was 1.0% and 1.3% in Washington and Oregon respectively.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36008-corelogic-foreclosures-fall-to-lowest-level-since-2007?eid=322520585&bid=1275777

 
Have a productive week!
Jason

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