This Week in Real Estate: June 25, 2018

According to reports released by the Census Bureau, HUD and Ellie Mae, single-family starts are up 9.8% through the first five months of 2018 compared to the same time period in 2017 and purchase loans now represent the largest share of loans since the recessionBelow are a few highlights from the third week of June that influence our business:


* Housing Starts Reach Post-Recession High in May as Permits Soften.Total housing starts increased in May with gains in both the single-family and multifamily sectors. Starts increased 5% month-over-month to a 1.35 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to the joint data release from the Census Bureau and HUD. This pace is a post-recession high. The rate of single-family starts was 3.9% higher in May, reaching a 936,000 annual rate. Recent growth trends for single-family starts match ongoing healthy levels of the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, now registering a score of 68. However, builders continue to report concerns about ongoing labor access issues and dramatic price increases for softwood lumber. Recent price increases for lumber are adding about $9,000 in price per newly-built single-family home. On a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are 9.8% higher as of May relative to the first five months of 2017, performing better than our forecast. However, single-family permits, a useful indicator of future construction activity, declined 2.2% in May. With respect to housing’s economic impact, 54% of homes under construction in May were multifamily (612,000). The current count of apartments under construction is roughly unchanged over the last year. In May, there were 515,000 single-family units under construction, a gain of more than 12% from this time in 2017.


* Mortgage Application Volume Second Highest of the YearMortgage interest rates waffled, moving in different directions depending on the product last week, but the volume of mortgage applications increased rather decisively.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of that volume, surged by 5.1 percent during the week ended June 15. It was the largest increase in total mortgage volume since the week ended January 5, 2018. On an unadjusted basis the volume was up 3 percent. Applications for both refinancing and home purchases increased compared to the week ended June 8. The Refinance Index gained 6 percent and the refinancing share of applications grew from 35.6 percent to 36.8 percent.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased by 4.0 percent from one week earlier and the unadjusted Purchase Index by 1.0 percent.  The latter was up 3.0 percent from the same week one year ago.


* Ellie Mae: Purchase Loan Share at Post-Recession Highs. Loans for home purchasing continue to dominate mortgage originations and Ellie Mae says they may now represent the largest share of loans since the recession.  The company’s May Origination Insight Report put the purchasing share at 70 percent, the largest percentage at least since they started tracking the figure in 2011.  Purchase loans made up had 66 percent of closed conventional loans, 75 percent of VA loans, and 80 percent of those backed by FHA. The 30-year interest rate for loans closed during the month was also the highest in Ellie Mae’s history, up 5 basis points from April to 4.84 percent. The distribution of loans across loan types was unchanged for conventional and FHA loans at 66 percent and 28 percent respectively while VA loans upped its  share from 9 to 10 percent.  The percentage of originations that were adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) stayed at 6.6 percent for the second month, the highest since June 2014. Closing time for all loans held steady across the board at 41 days for the third month.  Refinance loans took an average of 37 days and purchase loans 43 days. Overall FICO scores increased slightly for the fourth consecutive month to 724. LTV remained at 79 and front and back DTI’s averaged 26/39.

Have a productive week!

Jason

This Week in Real Estate: June 18, 2018

According to the Financial Accounts of the United States, published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the value of owners’ equity in real estate reached $15 trillion in the first quarter of 2018Below are a few highlights from the second week of June that influence our business:
* Homeowners’ Equity Reaches a New High. Over the first quarter of 2018, the value of owners’ equity in real estate expended and hit a new high on a nominal and not seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Financial Accounts of the United States for the first quarter of 2018. This data is published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. On a nominal and not seasonally adjusted basis, households’ owner-occupied real estate increased to $25.1 trillion totally in the first quarter of 2018, $544 billion more than the fourth quarter of 2017 and $1,674 billion more than the first quarter of 2017. The value of owners’ equity in real estate, the difference between the value of owner-occupied real estate and home mortgage debt, rose by $1.4 trillion over the past four quarters and reached $15.0 trillion in the first quarter of 2018.

* These Are The 5 Issues Impacting Real Estate Right NowThe Counselors of Real Estate, an advisory organization that monitors real estate, released its latest report detailing the top 10 issues affecting the real estate industry. This year, the organization divided its annual list to focus on five issues currently impacting the industry and five issues to watch for potential long-term impact over the next three to seven years. Leading the list of current issues to watch is interest rates and the economy. While interest rates continue to climb, both the commercial and residential real estate markets are feeling changes. Leading the list of long-term issues impacting real estate is infrastructure – and what the organization says is a lack of effort by the U.S. to address deterioration. The five issues impacting real estate right now are: rising rates and the economy, politics and political uncertainty, housing affordability, generational change and demographics and e-commerce and logistics. The five issues to look out for in the future are: infrastructure, disruptive technology, natural disasters and climate change, immigration and energy and water.

* The Number of Days Homes Spend on the Market Hits Post-Recession Low. In yet another sign of the ultra-competitive housing market buyers now face, the time homes spend on the market has never been shorter since the recession began. List to sale time has dropped by more than 50% since 2010. The median list-to-sale time, which is the period of time between when a listing is officially posted and when the home is officially sold, was just 64 days, down from 77 a year ago, according to real-estate website Trulia. This figure has consistently dropped every year since 2010. The figure set this month now represents an all-time low, according to Trulia’s calculations. The fastest moving markets are all located in the West: The median period for Seattle, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., is just 36 days.

This Week in Real Estate: June 11, 2018

According to CoreLogic’s Q1 2018 Home Equity Report that was released This Week in Real Estate, homeowners with mortgages saw their equity increase 13.3 percent year-over-year, representing a gain of more than $1 Trillion since the first quarter of 2017. Below are a few highlights from the first week of June that influence our business:

* Where Are Millenials Moving. Where are milliennials headed, at least in terms of places they are moving to. For the second year running, SmartAsset set about finding out. Washington received the largest influx of millennials both in terms of net influx and net influx relative to population. This state received nearly 40,000 more millennials than it lost, which is around 0.55% of the overall population. Seattle was the main beneficiary of these millennials, which we’ll discuss in the section below. Washington was not the only western state to crack this top 10: Colorado, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona are also in the top 10. Colorado and Oregon in particular were popular landing spots for millennials. Colorado received over 26,500 more millennials than it lost and for Oregon that number was just under 12,000. Nevada and Arizona had slightly less spectacular numbers, receiving 8,800 and 7,000 millennials, respectively. The South makes up the rest of the states in our top 10. The no. 2 ranking state is Texas, with a net influx of nearly 34,000 millennials, followed by Virginia which gained 18,300 more millennials than it lost. Georgia, North Carolina and Florida round out the top 10.

* Home Equity Gains Topped $1 Trillion in the First Quarter of 2018CoreLogic released Thursday the Home Equity Report for the first quarter of 2018, which shows that U.S. homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 63 percent of all properties) have seen their equity increase 13.3 percent year over year, representing a gain of $1.01 trillion since the first quarter of 2017. Additionally, the average homeowner gained $16,300 in home equity between the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. While home equity grew nationwide, western states experienced the largest increase. Washington homeowners gained an average of approximately $44,000 in home equity, and California homeowners gained an average of approximately $51,000 in home equity. “Home-price growth has accelerated in recent months, helping to build home-equity wealth and lift underwater homeowners back into positive equity the primary driver of home equity wealth creation,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The CoreLogic Home Price Index grew 6.7 percent during the year ending March 2018, the largest 12-month increase in four years. Likewise, the average growth in home equity was more than $15,000 during 2017, the most in four years. Washington led all states with 12.8 percent appreciation, and its homeowners also had much larger home-equity gains than the national average.”

* U.S. Home Flipping Rate Matches Six Year High in Q1 2018. ATTOM Data Solutions released Thursday its Q1 2018 U.S. Home Flipping Report, which shows that 48,457 U.S. single family homes and condos were flipped in the first quarter of 2018, down 4 percent from the previous quarter and down 3 percent from a year ago to a two-year low. The 48,457 homes flipped in the first quarter represented 6.9 percent of all home sales during the quarter, up from 5.9 percent in the previous quarter and unchanged from a year ago – matching the highest home flipping rate since Q1 2012. Homes flipped in Q1 2018 sold at an average gross profit of $69,500, up from an average gross flipping profit of $68,250 in the previous quarter and up from $66,287 in Q1 2017 to the highest average gross flipping profit since ATTOM began tracking in Q1 2000. The average gross flipping profit of $69,500 in Q1 2018 translated into an average 47.8 percent return on investment compared to the original acquisition price, down from a 48.9 percent average gross flipping ROI in Q4 2017 and down from an average gross flipping ROI of 50.3 percent in Q1 2017 to the lowest level since Q2 2015 – a nearly three-year low.

This Week in Real Estate: June 4, 2018

According to the most recent report from the Census Bureau, which was released This Week in Real Estate, the dollar value of new construction spending is 7.6% higher than the same time period last year at $1.31 trillion. Below are a few highlights from the last week of May that influence our business:

* ShowingTime: High Consumer Demand Continues to Propel Showing Activity to Near-Record Levels. Showing activity across the U.S. increased 4.6 percent year-over-year in April, according to the ShowingTime Showing Index, as buyer demand continues to rise throughout most of the country. The South region experienced the highest regional year-over-year increase for the second consecutive month, jumping 9.3 percent, while the Northeast (4.9 percent) and Midwest (4 percent) regions also saw a rise in showing activity. Activity in the West region dropped 8.3 percent compared to April 2017, marking the region’s third consecutive year-over-year monthly decrease. ShowingTime Chief Analytics Officer Daniil Cherkasskiy says the near-record level of showing activity across the country indicates high consumer demand remains despite rising home prices. “Overall, we continue to see record levels of activity across the U.S.,” says Cherkasskiy. “Showing activity only declined in the West region, while other regions throughout the country have consistently experienced increased demand.”

* Residential and Private Construction Numbers Solid in AprilApril turned out to be a solid month for construction. The Census Bureau said that dollar value of new construction activity on residential, non-residential, and public projects was at a seasonally adjusted and annual total of $1.31 trillion. This represented a 1.8 percent increase from March’s total of 1.29 trillion and was 7.6 percent higher than the $1.22 trillion rate in April 2017. Privately funded construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.01 trillion, a 2.8 percent gain from March, and up 7.6 percent from the previous April. Through the end of April private construction totaled $305.27 billion, a 6.3 percent increase. Residential spending is the largest component of private construction. Spending there was up 4.5 percent from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $556.30 billion, 9.5 percent higher than spending in April 2017. Single-family construction was at a rate of $285.70 billion, unchanged from March but up 9.6 percent year-over-year.  Multifamily construction spending rose 3.6 percent for the month but was 4.0 lower than a year earlier. Public construction spending slowed by 1.3 percent from March at $296.12 billion but was 7.7 percent higher year-over-year. The residential component was down 0.2 percent to an annual rate of $7.14 billion but is 26.4 percent greater than last year. That spending is also 7.5 percent higher across the first four months of 2018.

* Homeowners Who Remodel Will Spend an Estimated $7,893 Per Home in 2018. In the average zip code, owners who improve their homes in 2018 will spend $7,893 per home; but, as you would expect in a country as large as the U.S., there is considerable variation. There are many zip code areas where spending per improved home is under $5,5000, and many where it is over $11,000.  Zip codes with high spending per improved home tend to cluster around large metro areas—especially in the Northeast. At the very top are 17 zip codes where estimated spending per improved home is over $18,000.  Ten of these are in the New York-Newark-Jersey City Metropolitan Statistical Area, two are in Fairfield County, Connecticut; and one is in a suburb of Boston.  Of the remaining four, two are zip codes on Lake Michigan in Cook County north of Chicago, and two are close-in suburbs of San Francisco.

This Week in Real Estate: May 29, 2018

The National Association of Realtors 2018 midyear forecast was released This Week in Real Estate, predicting a moderate and multi-year increase in home sales despite some headwinds. Below are a few highlights from the fourth week of May that influence our business:

* Home Sales, Prices to Rise Despite Inventory, Affordability Challenges. A stronger economy, wage growth and an improving job market are expected to march home sales and prices higher in 2018, but low supply and weakening affordability will tamper the rate of increases, according to speakers at a residential real estate forum during the 2018 Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®, presented his 2018 midyear forecast and said despite headwinds a moderate and multiyear increase in home sales is likely ahead. After accelerating 3.8 percent in 2016, existing home sales rose only 1.1 percent to 5.5 million in 2017 and are forecast to finish 2018 at a pace of around 5.6 million (up 1.8 percent). He projects 5.7 million sales for 2019. Home price growth, up 48 percent from 2011 to 2017 and likely to rise an additional 4 percent in 2018.

* Who Is Tomorrow’s Borrower? What We’re Learning Might Surprise YouThe borrower of the future is affected, and in many ways shaped, by current and emerging demographic and generational trends. For example: The digital age has allowed for work to be done from anywhere. And more Americans today work two or three different jobs, versus being full-time, salaried employees. By the year 2020, it’s estimated that 43% of all workers will be freelancers, either by choice or because of new business models. With more millennials now living with their parents than with a spouse, they represent a reservoir of pent-up demand for housing. And although some boomers are downsizing for economic reasons or moving to be closer to family, many are choosing to “age in place.” America is on track to become a “majority-minority” country. This demographic shift will result in Hispanic Americans making up 50% of first-time homebuyers by 2020. And multi-generational household trends are increasing, with children, parents and grandparents living under one roof.

* Single-Family Home Size Increases at the Start of 2018. Counter to the recent prevailing trend, new single-family home size increased at start of 2018. New home size had been falling over the last two years due to an incremental move to additional entry-level home construction. According to first quarter 2018 data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, median single-family square floor area increased to 2,436 square feet. Average (mean) square footage for new single-family homes increased to 2,641 square feet. Since cycle lows (and on a one-year moving average basis), the average size of new single-family homes is 10% higher at 2,602 square feet, while the median size is 14% higher at 2,392 square feet. The post-recession increase in single-family home size is consistent with the historical pattern coming out of recessions. Typical new home size falls prior to and during a recession as 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.

This Week in Real Estate: May 29, 2018

The National Association of Realtors 2018 midyear forecast was released This Week in Real Estate, predicting a moderate and multi-year increase in home sales despite some headwinds. Below are a few highlights from the fourth week of May that influence our business:

* Home Sales, Prices to Rise Despite Inventory, Affordability Challenges. A stronger economy, wage growth and an improving job market are expected to march home sales and prices higher in 2018, but low supply and weakening affordability will tamper the rate of increases, according to speakers at a residential real estate forum during the 2018 Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®, presented his 2018 midyear forecast and said despite headwinds a moderate and multiyear increase in home sales is likely ahead. After accelerating 3.8 percent in 2016, existing home sales rose only 1.1 percent to 5.5 million in 2017 and are forecast to finish 2018 at a pace of around 5.6 million (up 1.8 percent). He projects 5.7 million sales for 2019. Home price growth, up 48 percent from 2011 to 2017 and likely to rise an additional 4 percent in 2018.

* Who Is Tomorrow’s Borrower? What We’re Learning Might Surprise YouThe borrower of the future is affected, and in many ways shaped, by current and emerging demographic and generational trends. For example: The digital age has allowed for work to be done from anywhere. And more Americans today work two or three different jobs, versus being full-time, salaried employees. By the year 2020, it’s estimated that 43% of all workers will be freelancers, either by choice or because of new business models. With more millennials now living with their parents than with a spouse, they represent a reservoir of pent-up demand for housing. And although some boomers are downsizing for economic reasons or moving to be closer to family, many are choosing to “age in place.” America is on track to become a “majority-minority” country. This demographic shift will result in Hispanic Americans making up 50% of first-time homebuyers by 2020. And multi-generational household trends are increasing, with children, parents and grandparents living under one roof.

* Single-Family Home Size Increases at the Start of 2018. Counter to the recent prevailing trend, new single-family home size increased at start of 2018. New home size had been falling over the last two years due to an incremental move to additional entry-level home construction. According to first quarter 2018 data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, median single-family square floor area increased to 2,436 square feet. Average (mean) square footage for new single-family homes increased to 2,641 square feet. Since cycle lows (and on a one-year moving average basis), the average size of new single-family homes is 10% higher at 2,602 square feet, while the median size is 14% higher at 2,392 square feet. The post-recession increase in single-family home size is consistent with the historical pattern coming out of recessions. Typical new home size falls prior to and during a recession as 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.

This Week in Real Estate: May 14, 2018

According to Fannie Mae’s most recent Home Purchase Sentiment Index released This Week in Real Estate, housing confidence hits a new all-time high. Below are a few highlights from the second week of May that influence our business:

* Housing Confidence Hits New All-Time High. The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) rose 3.4 points in April to 91.7, marking a new all-time survey high. The increase can be attributed to increases in five of the six HPSI components. The net share of respondents who said now is a good time to buy a home was the only component that decreased, falling 3 percentage points compared to March. However, the net share who reported that now is a good time to sell a home increased 6 percentage points month over month. Additionally, the net share who said home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased 7 percentage points in April, while the net share of consumers who said mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months increased 4 percentage points. Americans expressed an increased sense of job security, with the net share who say they are not concerned about losing their job increasing 5 percentage points this month. Finally, the net share reporting that their income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago increased 1 percentage point in April. “The latest HPSI reading edged up to a new survey high, showing that consumer attitudes remain resilient going into the spring/summer home buying season,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “High home prices and good economic conditions helped push the share of Americans who think it’s a good time to sell to a fresh record high.
* House Search Takes Many Months, But Buyers Do Not Intend to Give Up. The Housing Trends Report (HTR) is a new research product created by NAHB’s Economics team to track prospective home buyers’ perceptions about the availability and affordability of homes for-sale in their markets. 17% of adults responding to our poll in the first quarter of 2018 reported to be planning the purchase of a home in the next 12 months. A follow-up question asked that group if they were already actively trying to find a house or still just in the planning stage: 42% said their house search was in full throttle, down from the 67% of prospective buyers who said to be actively searching in the last quarter of 2017. A breakdown of first quarter 2018 results by generation shows that, of the 19% of Millennials who said to be planning a home purchase within the next year, about half (49%) are already actively engaged in the search for a home, making them the most likely generation to be currently involved in trying to find a house (and not just planning it). The poll also revealed that prospective buyers actively looking for a home are spending considerable amounts of time house hunting. In fact, more than half have been trying to find the right home for three months or longer: 51% in the first quarter of 2018 and 62% in the last quarter of 2017.

* Conventional Loan Share Reaches Decade High. NAHB analysis of the most recent Quarterly Sales by Price and Financing published by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that conventional loans accounted for 73.8% of new home sales in the first quarter of 2018, the highest share in a decade. Conventional loans financed over three-quarters of new home sales in the second quarter of 2008 before steadily falling and bottoming out at 57.3% in the third quarter of 2010. The share has steadily risen since then and has been above 71% each of the last seven quarters. FHA-loans financed 11.6% of new home sales during the first quarter of 2018, down from 12.5% in the prior quarter and from 14.8% in Q3 2017. Since its most recent peak in Q1 2016, the share of sales financed with FHA-backed mortgages has fallen 5.5 percentage points. Cash purchases accounted for 9,000 new home purchases, 5.2% of total new home sales. The aggregate 1.6% decline in the share of sales financed by FHA loans and cash was mostly due to the 1.6% rise in conventional mortgage market share.
Have a productive week.

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: May 7, 2018

Home values and employment continue their favorable trajectory as reported by CoreLogic and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. All 50 states realized year-over-year price appreciation in March while unemployment fell to the lowest rate since 2001 in April. Below are a few highlights from the first week of May that influence our business:

* Remodeling in 2017: Baths Reclaim Top Spot from Kitchens. May is National Home Remodeling Month.  Following the tradition established in recent years, the month’s first related post covers the most common types of remodeling projects performed by NAHB Remodelers during the previous calendar year.  Results come from a special question on NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey for the first quarter of 2018. The results show kitchen and bathroom remodeling continuing to duel for the top spot.  In the latest survey, 81 percent of NAHB’s remodelers cited bathrooms as one of their most common projects in 2017, slightly higher than the 78 who cited kitchen remodeling.  Previously, bathrooms had edged out kitchens in 2014 and 2015.  Kitchens then slid to the top in 2016 before the two switched positions again in the most recent numbers.  As in previous years, other remodeling jobs on the list in 2017 trailed baths and kitchens by a substantial margin.  The second tier included whole house remodeling (cited as a common project by 49 percent of remodelers), room additions (37 percent), and window or door replacement (30 percent). Although the whole house remodeling and room addition percentages were down year-over-year, they remain relatively strong compared to the rest of their post-downturn history.
* CoreLogic Reports Home Prices Up Again in March, This Time by 7 PercentCoreLogic released its Home Price Index (HPI) and HPI Forecast for March 2018 Tuesday, which shows home prices rose both year over year and month over month. Home prices increased nationally by 7 percent year over year from March 2017 to March 2018, while on a month-over-month basis, prices increased by 1.4 percent in March 2018 – compared with February 2018 – according to the CoreLogic HPI. All 50 states gained value year over year in March; with Nevada joining Washington at 12.6 percent. Looking ahead, the CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that the national home-price index is projected to continue to increase by 5.2 percent on a year-over-year basis from March 2018 to March 2019. “Home prices grew briskly in the first quarter of 2018,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “High demand and limited supply have pushed home prices above where they were in early 2006. New construction still lags historically normal levels, keeping upward pressure on prices.”

* Modest Job Gains in April. In April, job gains increased by 164,000 and the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%, the lowest rate since 2001. The average job growth was 200,000 for the first four months in 2018, higher than last year’s average of 182,000. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9% in April, after six consecutive months at 4.1%. Monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicates that construction rose by 17,000 jobs in April, after the 10,000 decline in March. Residential construction employment is now 2.80 million, broken down as 785,000 builders and 2 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 14,717 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers have added 125,500 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 818,300 positions. After reaching a peak rate of 22% in February 2010, the unemployment rate for the construction sector has been trending downwards and remains historically low.
Have a productive week.

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: April 30, 2018

According to the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey released This Week in Real Estate, the U.S. homeownership rate is on a “sustainable upward trend” at 64.2%, just 2.1% below the 25-year average rate of 66.3%. Below are a few highlights from the fourth week of April that influence our business:

* Homeownership Rate Stable at 64%. According to the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS), the U.S. homeownership rate was 64.2% in the first quarter 2018, which is statistically no different from its last quarter reading. The rate of homeownership appears to be on a sustainable upward trend after reaching a cycle low of 62.9% in the second quarter of 2016. Compared to the peak of 69.2% in 2004, the homeownership rate is still down 5%, and remains below the 25-year average rate of 66.3%. On an annual basis, homeownership increased among all age groups under 55. The share of millennial who own a home increased from 34.3% a year ago to 35.3% in the first quarter 2018. However, it slipped 0.7% from a three-year high of 36% in the last quarter 2017.The homeownership rates of households ages 35-44 experienced a 0.8% increase, followed by the 0.6% gains registered by households ages 45-54. The non-seasonally adjusted homeowner vacancy rate remained low at 1.5% in the first quarter 2018, down by 0.1% from last quarter 2017. At the same time, the national rental vacancy rate held at 7%.

* Existing-Home Sales Climb 1.1 Percent in MarchExisting-home sales grew for the second consecutive month in March, but lagging inventory levels and affordability constraints kept sales activity below year ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors. Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million in March from 5.54 million in February. Despite last month’s increase, sales are still 1.2 percent below a year ago. Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, says closings in March eked forward despite challenging market conditions in most of the country. “Robust gains last month in the Northeast and Midwest – a reversal from the weather-impacted declines seen in February – helped overall sales activity rise to its strongest pace since last November at 5.72 million,” said Yun. The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $250,400, up 5.8 percent from March 2017 ($236,600). March’s price increase marks the 73rd straight month of year-over-year gains. Existing-home sales in the West declined 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.23 million in March, but are still 0.8 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $377,100, up 7.9 percent from March 2017.

* Mortgage Rates Climb to Highest Level in Over Four Years. Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey on Thursday, showing average mortgage rates continuing the upward trajectory seen in most of early 2018. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac chief economist, says mortgage rates increased for the third consecutive week, climbing 11 basis points to 4.58 percent. “Mortgage rates are now at their highest level since the week of August 22, 2013,” he said. “Higher Treasury yields, driven by rising commodity prices, more Treasury issuances and the steady stream of solid economic news, are behind the uptick in rates over the past week.” Added Khater, “Despite the increase in borrowing costs, demand for home purchase credit remains solid. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported in their latest mortgage applications survey that activity was up 11 percent from a year ago.”
Have a productive week.

Jason


This Week in Real Estate: April 23, 2018

Homeowners continue to realize significant returns as a percentage of their original purchase price as reported This Week in Real Estate in ATTOM Data Solutions Q1 2018 Home Sales Report. The average home seller in the first quarter of this year realized a 29.5% return as a percentage of original purchase price. Below are a few highlights from the third week of April that influence our business:

* Small Gain for Housing Starts in March. Total housing starts increased slightly in March, led by multifamily construction strength. Starts increased 1.9% to a 1.32 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to the joint data release from the Census Bureau and HUD. However, the pace of single-family starts declined in March, falling 3.7% to an 867,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, due to lingering weather effects in some parts of the nation. The three-month moving average for single-family starts remained near a post-recession high rate of construction (889,000). These recent trends for single-family starts match ongoing healthy levels of the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, now registering a score of 69.  For the first quarter of 2018, single-family starts are 7% higher than this time in 2017, in-line with forecast for modest gains. Single-family permits were down 5.5% in March, although are recording a 5.3% improvement thus far in 2018 relative to this time in 2017.

* Most States Record YTD Single Family Permits Growth in February 2018. Over the first two months of 2018, the total number of single-family permits issued nationwide reached 123,871. On a year-over-year basis, this is an 11.2% increase over the February 2017 level of 111,356. The results from theSOC are similar, single-family permits over the second month of 2018 was, 122,800 which is 10.2% ahead of its level over the same period of 2017, 111,400. Between February 2017 to February 2018, 34 states saw growth in single-family permits issued while there was no change in New Hampshire. Seventeen states, including California, recorded a growth above 11.2% but 15 states, including New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois, as well as the District of Columbia registered a decline. Idaho had the highest growth rate during this time at 53.9% while single-family permits in the District of Columbia declined by 51.0%. In the single-family sector, Texas led with 19,893 permits issued year-to-date in February 2018 and Florida was second with 13,964 during this time. Meanwhile the lowest number came from the District of Columbia with 24 permits.  The 10 states issuing the highest number of single-family permits combined accounted for 64.0% of the single-family permits issued.

* 54% of U.S. Metros Post Median Home Prices Above Pre-Recession Peaks in Q1 2018. On Thursday ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q1 2018 U.S. Home Sales Report, which shows that median home prices in 57 of 105 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report (54 percent) were above their pre-recession home price peaks in the first quarter. Nationwide the median home price of $240,000 in Q1 2018 was less than 1 percent below its pre-recession peak of $241,500 in Q3 2005, but still up 9.1 percent from a year ago. Among the 105 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report, those posting the biggest year-over-year increase in median home prices were San Jose, California (up 33 percent); Flint, Michigan (up 20 percent); Spokane, Washington (up 18 percent); Reno, Nevada (up 17 percent); and Seattle, Washington (up 16 percent). U.S. homeowners who sold in Q1 2018 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $53,369, down from an average gain of $54,000 in Q4 2017 but still up from an average gain of $45,000 in Q1 2017. The average home seller gain of $53,369 in Q1 2018 represented an average 29.5 percent return as a percentage of original purchase price, down from a 29.8 percent return in the previous quarter but still up from a 25.7 percent return in Q1 2017. Among 154 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report, those with the highest average home seller returns in Q1 2018 were San Jose, California (109.1 percent); San Francisco, California (73.6 percent); Seattle, Washington (66.0 percent); Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii (65.3 percent); and Vallejo-Fairfield, California (58.8 percent).
Have a productive week.

Jason


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