This Week in Real Estate: March 20, 2017

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Favorable news This Week in Real Estate from the new construction sector as builder confidence hits a 12-year high and single-family housing starts reach its highest level since late 2007. Below are a few highlights from the second full week of March that influence our business:

* Builder Confidence Hits 12-Year High. Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes jumped six points to a level of 71 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the highest reading since June 2005. All three HMI components posted robust gains in March. The component gauging sales conditions increased seven points to 78 while the index charting sales expectations in the next six months rose five points to 78. Meanwhile, the component measuring buyer traffic jumped eight points to 54. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Midwest increased three points to 68 and the South rose one point to 68. The West dipped three points to 76 and the Northeast edged one point lower to 48.
Full Story… http://www.nahb.org/en/news-and-publications/press-releases/2017/03/builder-confidence-hits-twelve-year-high.aspx

* MBA: Mortgage Applications Rise Three-Weeks Straight. Mortgage applications increased three-weeks straight as the market gears up for the spring home-buying season. The latest update from the Mortgage Bankers Association Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 10 found that applications increased 3.1% from one week earlier. This is similar to the previous week’s 3.3% increase in applications. Both refinance and purchase applications rose, helping boost overall application volume. The Refinance Index increased 4% from the previous week, while the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 2% from one week earlier. Mortgage interest rates for most products jumped close to two-year highs. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) now sits at its highest level since April 2014, growing to 4.46% from 4.36%. Also reaching its highest level since April 2014, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) increased to 4.44% from 4.27%.
Full Story…  http://www.housingwire.com/articles/39572-mba-mortgage-applications-rise-three-weeks-straight?eid=322520585&bid=1693359

* Single-Family Housing Starts Reach Highest Level Since Late 2007. Nationwide housing starts rose 3 percent in February from an upwardly revised January reading to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.288 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. Single-family production increased 6.5 percent to 872,000 units – its highest reading in nearly a decade – while multifamily starts fell 3.7 percent to 416,000 units. “This month’s gain in single-family starts is consistent with rising builder confidence in the housing market,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “We should see single-family production continue to grow throughout the year, tempered somewhat by supply-side constraints such as access to lots and labor.” Regionally in February, combined single-family and multifamily housing production (starts) rose 35.7 in the West. Starts fell by 3.8 percent in the South, 4.6 percent in the Midwest and 9.8 percent in the Northeast. Regionally, overall permits rose 25.4 percent in the Midwest. Permits fell 10 percent in the West, 10.4 percent in the South and 22.3 percent in the Northeast.
Full Story… http://www.nahb.org/en/news-and-publications/press-releases/2017/03/single-family-housing-starts-reach-highest-level-since-late-2007.aspx

Have a productive week!
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: March 13, 2017

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As the market prepares for the spring selling season, Fannie Mae reported This Week in Real Estate that consumers have never felt better about housing than they do right now. Below are a few highlights from the first week of March that influence our business:

* Fannie Mae: Consumers Have Never Felt Better About Housing Than They Do Right Now. Consumers’ faith in the housing market is stronger than it’s ever been before, according to a newly released survey from Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae’s latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index shows that consumer confidence in housing hit an all-time high in February, continuing a climb in confidence that began in January. According to the Fannie Mae report, the Home Purchase Sentiment Index increased by 5.6 percentage points in February to 88.3, setting a new all-time high. Overall, five of the six components that make up the HPSI were up, with three hitting record highs. According to the report, the net share of Americans who said that now is a good time to buy rose by 11 percentage points, and the net share of consumers who believe that now is a good time to sell also rose by 7 percentage points.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/39502-consumers-have-never-felt-better-about-housing-than-they-do-right-now?eid=322520585&bid=1685872

* CoreLogic: 1 Million US Borrowers Regained Equity in 2016. CoreLogic released a new analysis on Thursday showing that U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all homeowners) saw their equity increase by a total of $783 billion in 2016, an increase of 11.7 percent. Additionally, just over 1 million borrowers moved out of negative equity during 2016, increasing the percentage of homeowners with positive equity to 93.8 percent of all mortgage properties, or approximately 48 million homes. In Q4 2016, the total number of mortgaged residential properties with negative equity stood at 3.17 million, or 6.2 percent of all homes with a mortgage. That is a decrease of 25 percent year over year from 4.23 million homes, or 8.4 percent of all mortgaged properties in Q4 2015. Negative equity peaked at 26 percent of mortgage residential properties in Q4 2009. “Average home equity rose by $13,700 for U.S. homeowners during 2016,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The states with the largest home-price appreciation last year, according to the CoreLogic Home Price Index, were Washington and Oregon at 10.2 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively, with average homeowner equity gains of $31,000 and $27,000, respectively.” This is doubt the pace for the U.S. as a whole. Texas had the highest percentage of homes with positive equity at 98.4 percent followed by Hawaii at 98.1 and five states, including Oregon and Washington at 97.9 percent.
Full Story…  http://www.corelogic.com/about-us/news/corelogic-reports-1-million-us-borrowers-regained-equity-in-2016.aspx

* MBA: Average Loan Size For Purchase Applications Hits All-Time High. The average loan size for purchase mortgage applications hit an all-time high last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The data comes courtesy of the MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 3, 2017, which showed that the average loan size for purchase applications was $313,300. That’s the highest that figure has been during any week since the MBA began conducting its weekly application survey in 1990. The report showed that the refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 45.4% of total applications. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity also increased to 7.7% of total applications, which marks the highest level since October 2014.
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/39512-mba-average-loan-size-for-purchase-applications-hits-all-time-high?eid=322520585&bid=1686410

Have a productive week!
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: March 6, 2017

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Home price appreciation continues to capture headlines. Case-Shiller reported This Week in Real Estate that the annual December number was the largest increase in 30 months, while consumer confidence reached it’s highest peak in a decade and a half to close out February. Below are a few highlights from the last week of February that influence our business:

* Case-Shiller: Home Price Appreciation Highest in 30 Months. Home prices accelerated their growth again in December. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, rose by 5.8% compared to one year earlier. The year-over-year increase has been larger each month since July and Case-Shiller called the annual December number the largest increase in 30 months. Among the 20 cities the largest annual gains were again registered in Seattle, Portland and Denver. Seattle led the way with a 10.8 percent year-over-year price increase followed by Portland with 10.0 percent and Denver at 8.9 percent. Case-Shilled says that an analysis of prices in Portland and Seattle, which have alternated in first and second place as price increase leaders, show that, over the course of 2016, prices in the highest tier, over $532,716 for Seattle and $411,335 for Portland, to be the most stable while those in the lowest tier, (under $335,111 and $296,361) are the most volatile.
Full Story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/02282017_case_shiller_indices.asp

* Consumer Confidence Hits 15-Year High in February. Consumers are more confident in the economy than they’ve been in the previous 15 years, according to the Consumer Confidence Survey conducted by The Conference Board. The Consumer Confidence Index increased in February to 114.8, up from 111.6 in January. Similarly, the Present Situation Index increased from 130 to 133.4 and the Expectations Index increased from 99.3 to 102.4. In 1985, the index was set to 100, representing the index’s benchmark. This value is adjusted monthly based on results of a household survey of consumers’ opinions on current conditions and future economic expectations. Opinions on current conditions make up 40% of the index, while expectations of future conditions make up 60%. “Consumers rated current business and labor market conditions more favorably this month than in January,” said Lynn Franco, The Conference Board director of economic indicators. “Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue expanding in the months ahead.
Full Story…  http://www.housingwire.com/articles/39393-consumer-confidence-hits-15-year-high-in-february?eid=322520585&bid=1679504

* Pace of Residential Construction Spending Continues Positive Trend. Private residential construction got off to an auspicious start in 2017, continuing the growth trend that began in October of last year. NAHB analysis of Census Construction Spending data shows that total private residential construction spending grew 0.5% in January 2017 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of $476.4 billion. Multifamily construction spending in January grew by 2.2% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $63.5 billion, more than double that of December. The SAAR spending on new multi-family structures was 9.0% higher than one year prior, while single-family construction grew by 2.3%.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/03/pace-of-residential-construction-spending-continues-positive-trend/

 

Have a productive week!
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: February 27, 2017

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The National Association of Realtor’s analysis of January existing-home sales was released This Week in Real Estate, concluding sales are at the fastest pace since early 2007, while the job market shows signs of strength as evidenced by the four week average of unemployment benefits declined to the lowest level since 1973. Below are a few highlights from the third week of February that influence our business:

* Existing-Home Sales Begin 2017 With a Bang. Existing-home sales began 2017 with a bang, growing 3.3 percent and hitting a 10-year high in January, according to the National Association of Realtors. With the exception of the Midwest, every region saw gains, with total sales reaching 5.69 million – the fastest pace since February 2007. “Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month as strong hiring and improved consumer confidence at the end of last year appear to have sparked considerable interest in buying a home,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Market challenges remain, but the housing market is off to a prosperous start as homebuyers staved off inventory levels that are far from adequate and deteriorating affordability conditions.” Total housing inventory at the end of January rose 2.4 percent to 1.69 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 7.1 percent lower than a year ago (1.82 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 20 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.6 month supply at the current sales pace. Existing-home sales in the West ascended 6.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.29 million in January, and are now 8.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $332,300, up 6.8 percent from January 2016.
Full Story… https://www.nar.realtor/news-releases/2017/02/existing-home-sales-jump-in-january

* Claims for Jobless Benefits in U.S. Point to Firm Job Market. A tight labor market and growing economy are prompting companies to hold on to employees. The four-week average declined to the lowest level since July 1973. The four-week moving average decreased by 4,000 to 241,000, the lowest since July 21, 1973. The latest tally marks 103 straight weeks of claims below 300,000, the level economists consider consistent with a healthy labor market. The 161-week period that ended in April 1970 was the longest such streak in records back to 1967.
Full Story…  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-23/claims-for-jobless-benefits-in-u-s-point-to-firm-job-market

* New Home Sales Post Slight Increase. New home sales contracts expanded by 3.7% in January over a soft December reading, according to estimates from the joint data release of HUD and the Census Bureau. Despite the gain, which places the January pace of sales 5.5% higher than a year ago, the current seasonally adjusted annual rate of 555,000 is slightly below the positive growth trend that has been in place over the last few years. Inventory growth continued in January. After hovering near 240,000 for most of 2016, inventory increased to 247,000 in October, 256,000 in December and 265,000 in January. The current months’ supply number stands at 5.7, higher than the existing market (3.6) estimate. Solid builder confidence and ongoing tight inventory conditions suggest continued growth for single-family construction in the months ahead. An open question is pricing, given rising construction prices and increasing interest rates. New homes will need to be competitively priced, even as prices for existing homes continue to grow. For this reason, we continue to expect a broadening of the new home inventory base and slight declines in median new home size.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/02/new-home-sales-post-slight-increase/

 

Have a productive week!
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: February 21, 2017

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Favorable news This Week in Real Estate with respect to new construction permits as well as mortgage applications for new homes fuels optimism for this sector in the coming months. Below are a few highlights from the second week of February that influence our business:

* Commerce Department: Home-Building Down in January, but Permits Up. Home-building overall stalled in January, but more permits indicate construction will pick up in the months ahead. Single-family construction rose 1.9 percent in January to a rate of 823,000, up from 808,000 in December, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Privately-owned construction fell 2.6 percent to a rate of 1,246,000, down from 1,279,000 in December – though 10.5 percent higher than the January 2016 rate of 1,128,000. “Today’s reported decline in housing starts and completions weren’t statistically significant, but the big increase in permits was a good sign that we are on track for more much-needed new construction in the months to come,” says Joseph Kirchner, senior economist at realtor.com. “For the housing market as a whole, this means we are seeing a continuing increase in permitting and starts, but not yet completions,” Kirchner says. “Eventually, the permits will turn to starts and completions – the question is whether this will occur prior to the spring market.” Permits for privately-owned housing in January rose 4.6 percent from December to a rate of 1,285,000, an 8.2 percent increase from January 2016 – movement that lays the groundwork for future construction. The National Association of Home Builders anticipates a 10 percent increase in single-family construction in 2017, and a 12 percent increase in 2018.
Full Story… http://rismedia.com/2017/02/16/commerce-department-home-building-down-january-permits-up/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=eNews

* January New Home Purchase Mortgage Applications Increased 9.2 Percent Year Over Year. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey data for January 2017 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 9.2 percent compared to January 2016. Compared to December 2016, applications increased by 22 percent relative to the previous month. “As house prices continue to rise and inventories of homes available for sale remain low, it is not surprising that mortgage applications for new homes in January came in higher than a year ago,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “Alongside relatively low supply, rising household incomes and favorable demographics should continue to bolster demand for new homes, despite rising interest rates, leading to modest growth in new home sales this year.” By product type, conventional loans composed 67.2 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 18.6 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.1 percent and VA loans composed 13 percent.
Full Story…  https://www.mba.org/2017-press-releases/february/january-new-home-purchase-mortgage-applications-increased-92-percent-year-over-year

* New Single-Family Home Size Trends. After increasing and leveling off in recent years, new single-family home size continued along a general trend of decreasing size during the fourth quarter of 2016. This ongoing change marks a reversal of the trend that had been in place as builders focused on the higher end of the market during the recovery. According to fourth quarter 2016 data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, median single-family square floor area was slightly higher at 2,453 square feet. Average square footage for new single-family homes increased to 2,661 square feet. Typical new home size falls prior to and during a recession as some home buyers tighten budgets, and then sizes rise as high-end homebuyers, who face fewer credit constraints, return to the housing market in relatively greater proportions.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/02/new-single-family-home-size-trends/

Have a productive week!
Jason

 


This Week in Real Estate: February 13, 2017

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Consumer confidence was the theme of the week This Week in Real Estate as Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index hit a new high in January, and unemployment claims near a 43-year low. Below are a few highlights from the first full week of February that influence our business:

* Swift Gains in Fourth Quarter Push Home Prices to Peak Levels in Majority of Metro Areas. The best quarterly sales pace of the year pushed available housing supply to record lows and caused price appreciation to slightly speed up in the final three months of 2016, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors. For all of 2016, an average of 87 percent of measured markets saw increasing home prices, up from the averages in 2015 (86 percent) and 2014 (75 percent). Of the 150 markets NAR has tracked since 2005, 78 (52 percent) now have a median sales price at or above their previous all-time high. In the West, existing-home sales rose 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter and are 9.1 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 7.8 percent to $348,800 in the fourth quarter from the fourth quarter of 2015.
Full Story… https://www.nar.realtor/news-releases/2017/02/swift-gains-in-fourth-quarter-push-home-prices-to-peak-levels-in-majority-of-metro-areas

* U.S. Jobless Claims Near 43-Year Low. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week to near a 43-year low, amid a further tightening of the labor market that could eventually spur faster wage growth. Other data on Thursday showed inventories at wholesalers surged in December for a second straight month and sales recorded their biggest increase since 2011, signs of confidence in the economy as domestic demand strengthens. Claims have now remained below 300,000, a threshold associated with a strong labor market, for 101 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller. The labor market is at or close to full employment, with the unemployment rate at 4.8 percent after hitting a more than nine-year low of 4.6 percent in November.
Full Story…  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-unemployment-idUSKBN15O1MF?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FtopNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Top+News%29

* US Economic Confidence Index Hit New High in January. American’s confidence in the U.S. economy remained strong in January. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged +11, the highest monthly average in Gallup’s nine-year trend. Some of January’s three-day averages also marked new highs in Gallup’s tracking since 2008. The index peaked at +19 for the January 21 – 23 three-day average. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they feel the economy is improving or getting worse.
Full Story… http://www.gallup.com/poll/203510/economic-confidence-index-hit-new-high-january.aspx?utm_source=tagrss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=syndication

Have a productive week,
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: February 5, 2017

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CoreLogic released data This Week in Real Estate that suggests the real estate market has completely recovered from the “boom-bust” cycle that started a dozen years ago. In other news this week, the Federal Reserve decided not to increase the federal funds rate. Below are a few highlights from the last week of January and the first few days of February that influence our business:
 
* Case-Shiller: Housing Market Now Officially, Completely Recovered. According to the latest data released Tuesday by S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, increased 5.6% annually. “With the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index rising at about 5.5% annual rate over the last two-and-a-half years and having reached a new all-time high recently, one can argue that housing has recovered from the boom-bust cycle that began a dozen years ago,” said David Blitzer, S&P Dow Jones Indices managing director and chairman of the Index Committee. “The recovery has been supported by a few economic factors: low interest rates, falling unemployment, and consistent gains in per-capita disposable personal income.” Seattle, Portland, and Denver reported the highest annual gains among the top 20 cities for each of the past 10 months.
 
* U.S. Distressed Sale Share Drops to Nine-Year Low in 2016, U.S. Home Sellers in 2016 Realized Biggest Average Profits Since 2007, 44% of Markets Reached New All-Time Home Price Peaks in 2016. ATTOM Data Solutions released its Year-End 2016 U.S. Home Sales Report on Thursday, which shows 16.2 percent of single family home and condo sales in 2016 were distressed sales – bank-owned sales, short sales or foreclosure auctions – down from 18.8 percent of all sales in 2015 to the the lowest level since 2007. “The housing market hit several important milestones in 2016, with distressed sales at a nine-year low and home prices at a 10-year high, just barely below the pre-recession peak in 2006,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “This was all good news for home sellers, who realized their biggest average profits since purchase nationwide in 2016. Even distressed property sellers are benefitting from this hot seller’s market, with a record-high share of homes at foreclosure auction being purchased by third-party buyers rather than reverting back to the foreclosing bank.” Homeowners who sold in 2016 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $38,206, which translated into an average 21 percent gain since purchase, up from an average 13 percent gain in 2015 to the highest since 2007, a nine-year high. Among 201 Metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000 and sufficient home price data, 89 metro areas (44 percent) reached new all-time home price peaks in 2016. Nationwide home sales to all-cash buyers represented 28.3 of all home sales in 2016, the lowest level since 2007 – a nine-year low.
 
* Federal Open Market Committee January/February Meeting – No News is Good News. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policy arm of the Federal Reserve System, concluded its two-day meeting and released a statement announcing no change in the target range for the federal funds rate. The current 50-75 basis point range was expected to be maintained following this first meeting since the December meeting, at which the target range for the funds rate was raised for only the second time since the financial crisis. The pace of rate increases is expected to accelerate. Among FOMC participants, the median projection of the “appropriate” level for the funds rate indicates three rate increases by the end of 2017. The CME Group’s FedWatch Tool indicates the FOMC meeting in June is currently the most popular bet for the next increase. With payroll gains steady, the unemployment rate below 5% and inflation grudgingly moving toward the Fed’s 2% target, economic conditions are right for a faster pace for monetary policy normalization, but the mantras of “only gradual increases” and “below levels expected to prevail in the longer run” still apply. 

Have a productive week,
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: January 30, 2017

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The National Association of Realtors reported This Week in Real Estate that 2016 recorded the highest number of existing-home sales since 2006. Below are a few highlights from the fourth week of January that influence our business:

* Consumer Confidence Hits Highest Level in 12 Years. Consumers are now more confident in the economy than they have been in the previous 12 years. The Index of Consumer Sentiment increased 0.3% from December to 98.5 in January. This marks an increase of 7.1% from January of last year. “Consumers expressed higher level of confidence January than any other time in the last dozen years,” Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist Richard Curtin said. “The post-election surge in confidence was driven more a more optimistic outlook for the economy and job growth during the year ahead as well as more favorable economic prospects over the next five years.” “Consumers also reported much more positive assessments of their current financial situation due to gains in both incomes and household wealth, and anticipated the most positive outlook for their personal finances in more than a decade,” Curtin said. The Index of Consumer Expectations also increased by 0.9% from last month’s 89.5 and up 9.2% from 82.7 last year to 90.3 in January.

Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/39057-consumer-sentiment-hits-highest-level-in-12-years?eid=322520585&bid=1648380

* 2016 Sales Best Since 2006. Existing-home sales had a banner 2016, amounting to 5.45 million sales and surpassed the 5.25 million sales in 2015 as the highest since 2006 (6.48 million), according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). “Solid job creation throughout 2016 and exceptionally low mortgage rates translated into a good year for the housing market,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The inventory of homes for sale fell to the lowest level in the 17 years for which data is available,” Nationwide Chief Economist David Berson said. “Looking at just single-family sales, the inventory of home for sale dropped to the second lowest level in the nearly 34 years for which data is available.” “This low level of inventories has two significant impacts: it reduces the number of sales as there are fewer homes to be purchased and it pushes up re-sale prices, with the median sales price of existing homes sold up by 5.5% in 2016 – the fifth consecutive year in which prices rose by more than 5%,” Berson said. “Given current population and economic growth trends, housing starts should be in the range of 1.5 million to 1.6 million completions and not stuck at recessionary levels. More needs to be done to address the regulatory and cost burdens preventing builders from ramping up production,” Yun said.

Full Story…  https://www.nar.realtor/news-releases/2017/01/existing-home-sales-slide-in-december-2016-sales-best-since-2006

* Sold Out: These 10 U.S. Cities Have The Biggest Housing Shortages. Increasingly across the U.S., there just aren’t enough homes being listed to meet demand. For the past 28 months, the housing market has been defined not just by demand, but also by the shrinking number of available homes for sale. First-time buyers are especially hard hit as housing shortages drive up prices. Realtor.com recently took a look at the 150 largest housing markets in the U.S., studying the proportion of homes available for sale in each city. These numbers were then compared to 2015-2016 percentages. Half of the top 10 lowest inventory markets are concentrated on the West Coast, with the other half composed mostly mid-sized midwestern cities. “More than two-thirds of the markets are seeing less inventory now compared to a year ago,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Realtor.com. Seattle took the cake with just 0.4 percent of the city’s homes up for sale, a decrease of 13.4 percent from 2016. Eugene, Oregon is next on the list with just 0.6 percent of homes on the market at an inventory decrease of 27.3 percent from last year. Sacramento, Portland and Santa Rosa also broke the top 10.

Full Story… http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/top-10-housing-markets-constrained-by-tight-inventory/?aid=11921783&pid=7597981&cid=aff_cj_rdcandrental_allaffiliates_cj

Have a productive week,
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: January 23, 2017

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Favorable year-over-year increase in single-family construction starts were reported This Week in Real Estate while the National Association of Home Builders expects a 10 percent growth in single-family construction in 2017. Below are a few highlights from the third week of January that influence our business:

* Builder Confidence Holds Firm in January. Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained on firm ground in January, down two points to a level of 67 from a downwardly revised December reading of 69 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). The solid reading is consistent with building expectations heading into the new year. NAHB expects 10 percent growth in single-family construction in 2017, adding to the gains of 2016. However, ongoing industry concerns include rising mortgage interest rates as well as a lack of lots and access to labor. The HMI rose sharply in December as the election results raised hopes among builders that a new Congress and administration will help create a better business climate for small businesses, particularly with respect to improving regulatory costs, which increased more than 29% over the last five years. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose two points to 52 and the Midwest posted a three-point gain to 64. The South and West each held steady at 67 and 79, respectively.

Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/01/builder-confidence-holds-firm-in-january-2/

* Single-Family Housing Starts Up 9% in 2016. For 2016 as a whole, single-family construction improved 9.3% over the 2015 level of starts. And as measured on a three-month moving average, single-family starts are at a post-cycle high. This increase is consistent with the recent growth in the NAHB/Wells Fargo measure of single-family builder confidence. Single-family permits also point to more growth in 2017. Single-family permits grew 4.7% in December, reaching an annual rate of 817,000, the fastest pace in the current cycle. Total starts were up 11.3% in December, rising to a 1.226 million seasonally adjusted annual rate. Focusing on housing’s economic impact, in December 57% of homes under construction were multi-family (604,000). This multifamily count is 8% higher than a year ago. There were 450,000 single-family units under construction, a gain of 7% from this time in 2015. This is the highest count of single-family units under construction since 2008.

Full Story…  http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/01/single-family-housing-starts-up-9-in-2016/

* Ellie Mae: Closing Rates in December Hit Highest Point For The Year. Closing rates for all loans in December hit their highest point of 2016, according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report. Closing rates for all loans increased to 73.2% in December. While refinance closing rates increased from 68.7% in November to 69.6%, purchase closing rates increased from 76.1% in November to 77% in December. As more loans closed, the market also shifted slightly away from refinances and towards purchase loans. With the increase in interest rates, the total number of refi originations shrank to 46% in December, down from 47% the previous month. But the purchase origination market remained strong, increasing from 54% of all closed loans. “As rates began to increase we saw purchases tick back up in December, signaling the start of a trend we expect to continue into 2017,” Ellie Mae president and CEO Jonathan Corr said. The time to close a loan continued to increase in December, increasing from 49 days in November to December’s 50 days. Time to close a refinance increased to 52 days while time to close a purchase loan increased to 48 days, both an increase of one day from the previous month. Average FICO scores slipped to 726 from 728 in November. Conventional purchase FICO scores held steady at 753 for the third month in a row while conventional refis decreased from 743 in November to 739 in December. FHA purchase FICOs also stayed the same at 686 and refinance FICO scores increased one point to 655 in December.

Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38984-ellie-mae-closing-rates-in-december-hit-highest-point-for-the-year?eid=322520585&bid=1639858

Have a productive week,
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: January 16, 2017

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The attention grabbing headline This Week in Real Estate was from the Federal Housing Administration and their decision to reduce the annual insurance premiums on most FHA mortgages. Below are a few highlights from the second week of January that influence our business:

* Supply Watch: Gradual Single-Family Construction Expected in 2017. More single-family homes will be constructed in 2017, but at a gradual rate, reported economists at the recent National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show. The NAHB expects single-family construction to rise 10 percent to 855,000 units, and to 12 percent to 961,000 in 2018. Sixty-four percent of home builders, according to NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz, are seeing “low” to “very low” lot supplies. “While positive developments on the demand side will support solid growth in the single-family housing sector in 2017, builders in many markets continue to face supply-side constraints led by the three Ls – lots, labor and lending,” said Dietz. Confidence and growth in the economy could give home-building a boost, with home builders optimistic that the new administration will lower construction costs. Said Dietz, “Regulatory requirements make up nearly 25% of the cost of a new home.
Full Story… http://www.nahb.org/en/news-and-publications/press-releases/2017/01/housing-will-continue-gradual-climb-to-higher-ground-in-2017.aspx

* FHA To Reduce Annual Insurance Premiums on Most Mortgages. As the nation’s housing market continues to improve, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro announced this week the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce the annual premiums most borrowers will pay by a quarter of a percent. FHA’s new premium rates are projected to save new FHA-insured homeowners an average of $500 this year. FHA is reducing its annual mortgage insurance premium by 25 basis points for most new mortgages with a closing date on or after January 27, 2017. “After four straight years of growth and with sufficient reserves on hand to meet future claims, it’s time for FHA to pass along some modest savings to working families,” said Secretary Castro. “This is a fiscally responsible measure to price our mortgage insurance in a way that protects our insurance fund while preserving the dream of homeownership for credit-qualified borrowers.”
Full Story…  https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2017/HUDNo_17-003

* Foreclosure Inventory Declines Another 30%. Once again, foreclosure inventory declined 30% annually in November, and completed foreclosures decreased 25.9% from November 2015, according to the November 2016 National Foreclosure Report from CoreLogic. Since November of 2015, foreclosures dropped from 35,000 to 26,000. This represents a decrease of 78.2% from September 2010’s peak of 118,339 foreclosures. “The 7% appreciation in home prices through November 2016 has added an average of $12,500 in home-equity wealth per homeowner across the U.S. during the last year,” CoreLogic President and CEO Anand Nallathambi said. “Sustained growth in home prices is clearly bolstering homeowners’ spending power and balance sheets and, as a result, spurring a continued drop in defaults.”
Full Story… http://www.corelogic.com/about-us/news/corelogic-reports-26,000-completed-foreclosures-in-november-2016.aspx

Have a productive week.
Jason


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