This Week in Real Estate: Feb. 29, 2016

image001
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

image001
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

image001

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

image001

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

image001

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

image001

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

image001

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

This Week in Real Estate: Jan. 11, 2016

image001

This Week in Real Estate realized a strong start to 2016 fueled by a robust December jobs report and continued historically low mortgage rates. Below are a few of the highlights from the first week of 2016 that influence our business:

* U.S. Real Estate to Draw More Foreign Investors in 2016. Most foreign investors expect to put more money into U.S. property this year than they did in 2015, according to a survey by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they intend to make modest or major increases to investments in U.S. real estate this year, while thirty-one percent expect to maintain their holdings or reinvest sales proceeds into other U.S. assets. Sixty percent said the U.S. was the country providing the most stable and secure real estate investments and forty-six percent said the U.S. was the country providing the best opportunity for capital appreciation, according to the 24th annual survey by the group, known as AFIRE. Foreign purchases of U.S. real estate have soared since the financial crisis, jumping to $87.3 billion of completed deals last year, from less than $5 billion in 2009, according to Real Capital Analytics Inc. “The recent passage of legislation easing taxes for foreign pension funds that buy U.S. real estate  probably will boost investment further,” said Jim Fetgatter, chief executive of AFIRE.
Full Story… http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-04/u-s-real-estate-to-draw-more-foreigners-in-2016-survey-says

* U.S. Adds 2.65 Million Jobs in 2015 For 2nd Best Year Since 1999. The year ended with a particularly strong sprint. In December, employers hired an additional 292,000 people, the Labor Department said, and October and November were revised up by a total of 50,000, pushing the average for the last three months to 284,000. For all of 2015, the nation added 2.65 million jobs, the second best year of jobs gains since 1999. The unemployment rate stayed at 5% for the third straight month, falling by more than half since exceeding 10 percent in October 2009.
Full Story… http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/08/news/economy/us-economy-jobs-second-best-year-since-1999/?iid=TL_Popular

* CoreLogic: Home Prices Surge 6.3% in November. Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, surged 6.3% in November 2015 compared with November 2014 and increased by 0.5% in November 2015 compared with October 2015, according to the latest report from CoreLogic. Next year is projected to post similar results, with the CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicating that home prices will increase by 5.4% on a year-over-year basis from November 2015 to November 2016. “Heading into 2016, home price growth remains in its sweet spot as prices have increased between 5 and 6 percent on a year-over-year basis for 16 consecutive months,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35948-corelogic-home-prices-surge-63-in-november?eid=322520585&bid=1268130

* Black Knight: Home Prices Keep Rising, Now Just 5% off Pre-Crisis Peak. Home prices continued rising in October, marking the 42nd straight month of year-over-year home price appreciation, according to a new report from Black Knight Financial Services. According to Black Knight’s report, October’s national home price index of $254,000 puts national home prices up 26.9% since the bottom of the market at the start of 2012, and just 5.3% off the June 2006 peak of $268,000.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35937-black-knight-home-prices-keep-rising-now-just-5-off-pre-crisis-peak?eid=322520585&bid=1266221

 
Have a productive week!
Jason

This Week in Real Estate: Jan. 4, 2015

image001
Happy New Year!
 
This Week in Real Estate brought a close to a memorable year. Below are a few of the highlights from the final week of 2015 that influence our business:
 
* Consumers Have Confidence in 2016. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had decreased moderately in November, improved in December. The Index now stands at 96.5, up from 92.6 in November. The Present Situation Index increased from 110.9 last month to 115.3 in December, while the Expectations Index improved to 83.9 from 80.4 in November. “As 2015 drew to a close, consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy remains positive, particularly their assessment of the job market. Looking ahead to 2016, consumers are expecting little change in both business conditions and labor market. Expectations regarding their financial outlook are mixed, but the optimists continue to outweigh the pessimists,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.
 
* What Fed Rate Hike? Interest Rates Hold Steady for 2nd Straight Week. Despite some declarations that the Federal Open Market Committee’s recent decision to raise the federal funds rate for the first time since June 2006 was a “disaster,” the FOMC’s decision is having a limited impact on mortgage interest rates thus far. Mortgage rates ticked up a little in the week that ended December 10 in anticipation of a Fed rate hike, with the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increasing during that week from 3.93% to 3.95%, according to Freddic Mac. And in the week that ended December 17, the week that included the FOMC’s decision to raise rates, mortgage rates ticked up slightly again, from 3.95% to 3.97%, but Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Sean Becketti said that interest rates should remain at “historically low levels” throughout 2016, in spite of whatever moves the Federal Reserve is expected to make. And according to the latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey report from Freddie Mac, interest rates held steady for the second week in a row, with the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage actually falling slightly in the week that ended December 24, from 3.97% to 3.96%. 
 
Freddie Mac: Improving Mortgage Performance Equals Best MiMi in 15 Months. Housing markets across the country are steadily making their way into the stable range, according to Freddie Mac’s latest Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi). The MiMi monitors and measures the stability of the nation’s housing market, as well as the housing markets of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the top 100 metro markets. The most recent report said the national MiMi value now stands at 81.9, 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 6.31%. “The strong annual change of 6.31% is the best improvement we’ve seen in the MiMi on a year-over-year basis since July 2014,” said Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer. “While strong home purchase applications and rising home values in some markets are contributing to this improvement, its largely more of a reflection of mortgage delinquencies continuing to decline at a steady pace, especially in those hardest hit markets, and a better employment picture overall,” he said. On an annual basis the leaders were Florida (+14.47%), Oregon (+12.2%), Colorado (+11.97%), Washington (+11.69%) and Nevada (+11.13%).
 
* Case-Shiller: Home Prices Continue Upward Trend. Home prices once again trended higher in October as positive economic news continues to support increases, according to the most recent S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions. Home prices posted a slightly higher year-over-year gain with a 5.2% annual increase in October, up from a 4.9% increase in September. “Generally good economic conditions continue to support gains in home prices,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Among the positive factors are consumers’ expectations of low inflation and further economic growth as well as recent increases in residential construction including single-family housing starts,” he continued. 
 
Have a productive week!
Jason

This Week in Real Estate: Dec. 28, 2015

image001

Hoping you all had a great holiday week. Industry news from employment to new construction to distressed inventory continues to be very favorable This Week in Real Estate as we close out the year. Below are a few of the highlights from the fourth week in December that influence our business:

* New Home Sales Nudge Forward. The number of new homes sold in November increased by 4.3% from a downwardly revised October level to 490,000 on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. On a year to date level, sales are up 14.5% from the eleven month total in 2014. Inventories of new homes also increased to 232,000, the highest since January 2010 even as builders continue to seek workers and lots. The increase in sales and inventories signifies continued builder optimism and customer demand growth. Regionally, sales increased the most in the West at 20.5% month-over-month. For the year, the West is ahead of last year’s 11 month sum by 19.5%.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/12/new-home-sales-nudge-forward/

* Foreclosure Starts Fall to Lowest Level Since April 2006. The number of homes that had foreclosure proceedings started against them hit the lowest level in nine years in the month of November, a new report from Black Knight Financial Services showed. According to Black Knight’s “First Look” at November’s mortgage performance data, there were only 66,000 foreclosure starts in the month of November, the lowest total since April 2006. That’s down 9.02% from October and down 9.76% from November 2014. Additionally, the inventory of loans in foreclosure continued to decline in November, falling 21% year-over-year to 1.38%. The year-over-year decline means that there were 185,000 fewer loans in foreclosure in November 2015 than there were in November 2014. Overall, there are less than 700,000 active foreclosures remaining, Black Knight’s report showed.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35887-black-knight-foreclosure-starts-fall-to-lowest-since-april-2006?eid=322520585&bid=1263067

* Freddie Mac’s Five Housing Predictions for 2016. With just a few days left in 2015, Freddie Mac is looking towards 2016 and trying to predict just what’s going to happen in housing over the next 12 months. Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Sean Becketti, said that interest rates should remain at “historically low levels” throughout 2016, in spite of whatever moves the Federal Reserve is expected to make. Here are five more housing predictions for 2016, courtesy of Freddie Mac: (1) Expect the 30-year fixed-mortgage to average below 4.5% for 2016 on an annualized basis, (2) Gradually higher mortgage interest rates will present an affordability challenge, but expect a strengthening labor market and pent-up demand to carry 2015’s home sales momentum into 2016, (3) Expect house price growth to moderate a bit to 4.4% in 2016, (4) Expect total housing starts to increase 16% year-over-year and total home sales to increase 3% and (5) While home purchases will increase next year, higher interest rates will reduce the refinance volume pushing overall mortgage originations lower in 2016 than in 2015.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35894-here-are-freddie-macs-five-housing-predictions-for-2016

* Record-Setting Solar Market Shines Light on New Design Trends. 2015 could very well be a record-setting year for the solar market. The third quarter set another record for growth of residential solar installations, increasing 69% year-over-year and accounting for 41% of the U.S. solar market. Coupled with the likely extension of several energy efficient tax credits, the solar market is poised for an even bigger boom over the next five years. As the United States increasingly embraces solar energy, design trends in home building will continue to evolve. This evolution is changing perspectives of builders, architects and home owners alike, many of whom previously considered solar panels to be eyesores, more than anything. “The key is to integrate them as early as possible into the overall design process,” said James Hannah, director of client energy services at Bright Power.
Full Story… http://nahbnow.com/2015/12/record-setting-solar-market-shines-light-on-new-design-trends/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mmb1221

* U.S. Jobless Claims Near 42-Year Low as Labor Market Tightens. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, nearing a 42-year low as labor market conditions continued to tighten in a boost to the economy. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000 for the week ended December 19, not far from levels last seen in late 1973, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims have been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a buoyant labor market, for 42 consecutive weeks. That is the longest stretch since the early 1970s.
Full story… http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-idUSKBN0U711A20151224?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

Have a productive week!

Jason


©2016 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc. Equal Housing Opportunity.