This Week in Real Estate: January 29, 2018

Despite inventory pressure, which in turn has driven continued price appreciation as a result of buyer demand, the National Association of Realtors announced This Week in Real Estate that 2017 existing home sales recorded the best year in 11 years. Below are a few highlights from the fourth week of January that influence our business:

* Cash Sales Tie Post-Recession High. NAHB analysis of the most recent Quarterly Sales by Price and Financing published by the Census Bureau reveals that cash sales accounted for 11,000 new home sales in the fourth quarter of 2017. Cash purchases made up 7.9% of purchases in the fourth quarter, a mark not seen since 2014. Although cash sales make up a small portion of new home sales, they constitute a larger share of existing home sales. Roughly 20% of existing home transactions were all-cash sales in December 2017, according to estimates from the National Association of Realtors. Conventional financing contracted sharply following the Great Recession, but has expanded as the recovery has continued. In 2006, conventional financing accounted for 90% of new home purchases, falling to 59% in 2010. Conventional loans accounted for 72% of new home sales in 2017, on average, the highest annual average since 2008.


* Best Year For Home Sales Since 2006, Despite Headwinds. Existing home sales in 2017 increased 1.1 percent for the best year in 11 years. According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the 5.51 million sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and cooperative apartments surpassed the 5.45 million sales in 2016 to have the highest number of transactions since 6.48 million were sold in 2006. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market performed remarkably well for the U.S. economy in 2017, but wasn’t as good as it might have been.  The year brought substantial wealth gains for homeowners and historically low distressed property sales. “Existing sales concluded the year on a softer note, but they were guided higher these last 12 months by a multi-year streak of exceptional job growth, which ignited buyer demand,” he said. “At the same time, market conditions were far from perfect. New listings struggled to keep up with what was sold very quickly, and buying became less affordable in a large swath of the country. These two factors ultimately muted what should have been a stronger sales pace.” The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $246,800, a 5.8 percent rate of appreciation for the year and was the 70th straight month of year-over-year gains. The inventory of available homes fell another 11.4 percent in December to 1.48 million and is now 10.3 percent lower than a year ago (1.65 million).  The inventory has declined year-over-year for 31 consecutive months and is currently estimated at a 3.2-month supply, the lowest level since NAR began tracking in 1999. Existing-home sales in the West declined 0.8 percent below a year ago.


* Purchase Mortgage Applications Hit 8-Year High. Mortgage applications continue on the tear they started during the first week of 2018. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA’s) Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, increased 4.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ended January 19. The gain came on the heels of 8.3 percent and 4.1 percent increases in the first two weeks of the year. Both the Refinancing and Purchase Indexes saw gains.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index was up 6 percent from the week ended January 12, its fourth straight increase, and was the highest since April 2010.
Have a productive week.



This Week in Real Estate: January 22, 2018

Prior to investing in a home improvement project, would it be beneficial to know which remodeling projects net the highest return on investment (ROI)? Remodeling Magazine released This Week in Real Estate it’s Cost vs. Value Report for 2018. Below are a few highlights from the third week of January that influence our business:

* Cost vs. Value: The Home Improvement Projects With The Highest ROI in 2018. Remodeling Magazine’s newly released Cost vs. Value Report for 2018, which measures the average cost of 21 popular remodeling projects and their average resale value one year later, found that average return on investment (ROI) for home improvement projects dipped across the board, with “upscale” projects taking the biggest hit. Garage door replacement has the highest ROI at 98.3 percent (up from 85 percent year-over-year). Backyard patio jobs garner the lowest ROI, at 47.6 percent (down from 54.9 percent year-over-year). The reason for the sweeping decrease in ROI isn’t immediately obvious, but Remodeling magazine’s editor-in-chief (and manager of the report) Craig Webb notes that it’s likely related to the strength of the housing market currently. However, a silver lining from the report relates to when the data was compiled. Remodeling magazine put all the cost information together before the country was struck with several natural disasters, including massive forest fires and several hurricanes. Since then, building supplies and the price of skilled labor has increased, but that’s expected to change over the course of 2018. As a result, expect to see the ROI of most of these projects level out by the end of the year. Despite these events, some longtime trends continued through the new year. Remodeling is still far more cost-effective than replacement, but, according to real estate pros, replacing is still the way to go. This year, there’s a 20-point difference in ROI: 76.1 percent for replacement jobs, versus 56 percent for remodeling. Nationally, when it comes to renovation ROI, curb appeal still wins out.

* Builder Confidence Remains Strong as New Year Starts. Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes dropped two points to a level of 72 in January on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) after reaching an 18-year high in December 2017. Builders confidence remained strong given changes to the tax code will promote the small business sector and boost broader economic growth. Nonetheless, home builders continue to face building material price increases and shortages of labor and lots. In a recent NAHB survey, 84% of builders cited concerns regarding cost and availability of workers as a key challenge for 2018, matching the 84% who cited rising building material prices. The HMI gauge of future sales expectations has remained in the 70s, a sign that housing demand should continue to grow in 2018. As the overall economy strengthens, owner-occupied household formation increases, and the supply of existing home inventory tightens, we can expect the single-family housing market to make further gains this year. The three HMI components registered relatively minor losses in January. The index gauging current sales conditions dropped one point to 79, the component charting sales expectations in the next six months fell a single point to 78, and the index measuring buyer traffic fell four points to 54. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the West rose two points to 81, the South increased one point to 73, the Midwest inched up a single point to 70 and Northeast climbed five points to 59.

* U.S. Foreclosure Activity Drops to 12-Year Low in 2017. Attom Data Solutions released its Year-End 2017 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report on Thursday, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 676,535 U.S. properties in 2017, down 27 percent from 2016 and down 76 percent from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005. Those 676,535 properties with foreclosure filings in 2017 represented 0.51 percent of all U.S. housing units, down from 0.70 percent in 2016 and down from a peak of 2.23 percent in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005. “Thanks to a housing boom driven primarily by a scarcity of supply, which has helped to limit home purchases to the most highly qualified — and low-risk — borrowers, the U.S. housing market has the luxury of playing a version of foreclosure limbo in which it searches for how low foreclosures can go,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.
Have a productive week.


This Week in Real Estate: January 15, 2018

No end of year slow down in 2017 for newly constructed homes, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Builder Applications Survey results, that were released This Week in Real Estate. Below are a few highlights from the second week of January that influence our business:

* New Home Sales Defy Holiday Lull, Rising in December. Despite the usual holiday lull in overall mortgage applications, the demand for newly constructed homes increased in December. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Builder Applications Survey (BAS) found those applications were up 18 percent from November. The applications were 7.8 percent higher than in December 2016. “Looking at all of 2017, applications increased by 7.1 percent compared to 2016. Based on December applications, we forecast that new home sales fell in December but remained nearly 16 percent higher than a year ago, and we are anticipating only modest year over year growth for new home sales in 2018. Despite robust demand, a lack of labor and land will continue to constrain homebuilders,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA Vice President of Research and Economics.
* Home Equity Hits Record High, and Here’s How Homeowners are Spending It. Homeowners are racking up record amounts of home equity, thanks to fast-rising values in today’s competitive housing market. No surprise, more people are now starting to tap that cash. What are they spending it on? Mostly making their homes even more valuable. Renovation spending is soaring, and 80 percent of borrowers taking out home equity lines of credit say they would consider using that money to renovate, according to a survey released in December by TD Bank. “We’re not only seeing more requests for proposals, but more committed projects from home owners,” said Steve Cunningham, a remodeler from Williamsburg, Virginia, in a report from the National Association of Home Builders. “In addition to regular updates and repairs, there’s been an uptick in more ambitious large remodel requests.” Remodeling spending topped $152 billion in 2017, and renovations for owner-occupied single-family homes will increase 4.9 percent in 2018 over 2017, according to the NAHB. That does not include remodeling done by investors looking to flip or rent properties, both of which are increasing as well.
* Property Tax Revenue Increases for 22nd Consecutive Quarter. NAHB analysis of the Census Bureau’s quarterly tax data shows that $556 billion in taxes were paid by property owners over the four quarters ending in Q3 2017. It has now been five and a half years since four-quarter property tax revenues last declined. Property taxes accounted for 40.1% of state and local tax receipts and the share has remained above 40.0% for the consecutive quarters for the first time since 2012-2013.  In terms of the share of total receipts, property taxes are followed by individual income taxes (28.3%), sales taxes (27.7%), and corporate taxes (3.8%). After increasing as a share of state and local tax receipts for six consecutive quarters, property taxes have since held steady at 40.1%.
Have a productive week.


This Week in Real Estate: January 8, 2018

Per Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort Index, released This Week in Real Estate, American consumers were more upbeat in 2017 than at any other time since 2001. Below are a few highlights from the first week of 2018 that influence our business:

* Experts: 2018 Set To Be Best Economic Year Since Housing Crisis. Although December’s job report numbers disappointed experts’ expectations, many explained that the end-of-year increase in construction jobs is just what the housing market needed. “Overall, the job market performed well in 2017 and is a key reason why the economy is poised for its best year since the crisis in 2018,” said Curt Long, National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions chief economist. “One bright spot we saw in the report is the biggest monthly rise in residential construction employment in 2017, raising hopes for some supply relief for housing this year,” Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said. “Residential construction jobs rose to the highest since 2008 as builders work to add supply given the tight inventory and rising home prices,” LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze said. “Construction employment increased by 210,000 in 2017, compared with a gain of 155,000 in 2016.”
* Consumer Comfort in U.S. Advanced in 2017 to a 16-Year High. American consumers last year were more upbeat on average than at any time since 2001, reflecting more favorable views of the economy, personal finances and the buying climate, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Thursday. Sentiment in 2017 got a boost from the combination of a solid labor market that’s pushed unemployment to an almost 17-year low, limited inflation and record stock prices. Such optimism should help keep consumers spending after a bright holiday-shopping season. Retail sales during the year-end holidays may have been the strongest in more than a decade, according to calculations from research firm Customer Growth Partners. Optimism about the economy increased as the jobless rate declined and economic growth exceeded 3 percent annualized rates in the second and third quarters of 2017.
* Private Residential Spending Is On The Rise. NAHB analysis of Census Construction Spending data shows that total private residential construction spending rose 1% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $530.8 billion. It was the highest level since February 2007. Total private residential construction spending was 7.9% higher than a year ago. The monthly gains are largely attributed to the strong growth of spending on single-family. Single-family construction spending rose to a $270.1 billion annual pace in November, up by 1.9%. It was the highest monthly annual rate since November 2007. This is in line with the strong readings of single-family housing starts and solid builder confidence.

Have a productive week.


This Week in Real Estate: January 2, 2018

2017 closed with momentum, as evidenced by NAR’s release that the November Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) remains at its highest level since June, and the Case-Shiller Home Price Index (HPI) set an all-time high in October. Below are a few highlights from the final week of 2017 that influence our business:

* Home Price Increases Outpace Inflation by 3XThe S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, rose 6.2 percent on a year-over-year basis in October. Seattle continues to soar. The city had another annual increase that was nearly double that of the nation as a whole, at 12.7 percent.  Las Vegas also saw a gain in the double digits at 10.2 percent. San Diego had the third highest rate of appreciation at 8.1 percent. Nationally, home prices are up 6.2 percent in the 12 months to October, three times the rate of inflation. Sales of existing homes dropped 6.1 percent from March through September; they have since rebounded 8.4 percent in November. Inventories measured by months-supply of homes for sale dropped from the tight level of 4.2 months last summer to only 3.4 months in November. In what has become a monthly occurrence, the National Index set another new all-time high; 195.63.
* Pending Home Sales Inch Up 0.2% in November. Pending home sales were mostly unmoved in November, but did squeak out a minor gain both on a monthly and annualized basis, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 0.2 percent to 109.5 in November from 109.3 in October. With last month’s modest increase, the index remains at its highest reading since June (110.0), and is now 0.8 percent above a year ago. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says contract signings mustered a small gain in November and were up annually for the first time since June. “The housing market is closing the year on a stronger note than earlier this summer, backed by solid job creation and an economy that has kicked into a higher gear,” he said. The PHSI in the Northeast jumped 4.1 percent to 98.9 in November, and is now 1.1 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index rose 0.4 percent to 105.8 in November, and is now 0.8 percent higher than November 2016. In the South the index decreased 0.4 percent to 123.1 in November but are still 2.5 percent higher than last November. The index in the West declined 1.8 percent in November to 100.4, and is now 2.3 percent below a year ago.
* The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – What it Means for Homeowners and Real Estate Professionals. The final bill includes some big successes. NAR efforts helped save the exclusion for capital gains on the sale of a home and preserved the like-kind exchange for real property. Many agents and brokers who earn income as independent contractors or from pass-through businesses will see a significant deduction on that business income.


Have a productive week.


This Week in Real Estate: December 26, 2017

The passing of the converged Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill This Week in Real Estate, the first major tax reform since President Reagan, overshadowed the fact that existing-home sales in November reached its strongest pace in almost 11 years. Below are a few highlights from the third week of December that influence our business:

* Existing-Home Sales Soar 5.6% in November to Strongest Pace in Over a DecadeExisting-home sales surged for the third straight month in November and reached their strongest pace in almost 11 years, according to the National Association of Realtors. All major regions except for the West saw a significant hike in sales activity last month. Total existing-home sales jumped 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.81 million in November from an upwardly revised 5.50 million in October. After last month’s increase, sales are 3.8 percent higher than a year ago and are at their strongest pace since December 2006 (6.42 million). November existing-home sales in the Northeast leaped 6.7 percent to an annual rate of 800,000, (unchanged from a year ago). Existing-home sales in the South expanded 8.3 percent to an annual rate of 2.34 million in November, and are now 4.0 percent higher than a year ago. In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 8.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.42 million in November, and are now 6.8 percent above a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West declined 2.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.25 million in November, but are still 2.5 percent above a year ago.
* CoreLogic: Mortgage Credit Risk Increased From Q3 2016 to Q3 2017. CoreLogic released its Q3 2017 Housing Credit Index (HCI) Tuesday which measures trends in six home mortgage credit risk attributes. The HCI indicates the relative increase or decrease in credit risk for new home loan originations compared to prior periods. The six attributes include borrower credit score, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), loan-to-value ratio (LTV), investor-owned status, condo/co-op share and documentation level.  In Q3 2017, the HCI increased to 111.1, up 18 points from 93.1 in Q3 2016. Even with this increase, credit risk in Q3 2017 is still within the benchmark range of the HCI. The benchmark range of 90 to 121 is measured as within one standard deviation of the average HCI value for 2001-2003, considered to be the normal baseline for credit risk. The increase in the credit risk, as measured by the HCI during the past year, was partly due to a shift in the purchase-loan mix to more investor loans and to a shift in the refinance-loan mix to borrowers with lower credit scores and higher DTI. This trend for refinance loans may reflect the rise in the FHA-to-conventional share of refinance activity. “The CoreLogic Housing Credit Index is up compared to a year ago, in part reflecting a shift in the mix of loans to the purchase market, which typically exhibit higher risk,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Further, the Index shows higher risk attributes for both purchase and refinance loans, although the risk levels still remain similar to the early 2000s. When looking at the two most recent quarters in which the mix of purchase and refinance loans were similar, the CoreLogic Housing Credit Index for each segment remained stable. Looking forward to 2018, with continuing economic and home price growth, we expect credit-risk metrics to rise modestly.”Full Story...

* 34 Things You Need to Know About The Incoming Tax Law It’s official. Congress has ushered through the first major tax overhaul since Ronald Reagan was president. Among the many changes the most significant to homeowners is: (1) those who sell their house for a gain will still be able to exclude up to $500,000 (or $250,000 for single filers) from capital gains, so long as they’re selling their primary home and have lived there for two of the past five years and (2) mortgage interest deduction has been lowered; anyone buying a new home will only be able to deduct the first $750,000 of their mortgage debt, down from $1,000,000.

Have a productive week.


This Week in Real Estate: December 18, 2017

Positive news released This Week in Real Estate by Genworth Mortgage Insurance about sales activity from the first-time homebuyer community during the third quarter. Below are a few highlights from the second week of December that influence our business:

* First-Time Homebuyers Suddenly Flood Housing Market. First-time homebuyer demand surged to its highest level in 17 years during the third quarter of 2017, according to the First-Time Homebuyer Market Report from Genworth Mortgage Insurance, an operating segment of Genworth Financial. The report, which is drawn from a data set of 21 million first-time homebuyers over a 24-year span, showed first-time homebuyers purchased 601,000 single-family homes in the third quarter. This is up 6% from 567,000 homes during the third quarter of 2016, and the highest quarterly purchase volume since the third quarter of 2000. First-time homebuyers accounted for 40% of all single-family homes sold in the third quarter and 56% of all purchase mortgages financed, the report showed.
* Downpayments at Record Highs as Home Prices Rise. Homebuyers ponied up the highest downpayments on record to purchase homes in the third quarter of 2017. ATTOM Data Solutions’ Residential Property Loan Origination Report says that the median down payment for a single-family home or condo purchased with financing during the quarter rose to $20,000 from $18,162 in the second quarter of this year. In the third quarter of last year the median was $14,400. The most recent number is the highest in ATTOMs records which date back to 2000. The $20,000 downpayment represents 7.6 percent of the median sales price during the quarter of $263,000. The percentage amount was also a recent high, up from 7.1 percent the previous quarter and 6.1 percent in the third quarter of 2016. It was the highest downpayment percentage since the third quarter of 2013. The median downpayment exceeded $50,000 in 12 of the 99 statistical areas included in the report. The four highest amounts were all paid in California markets, with San Jose on top at $247,00 followed by San Francisco at $170,000, Los Angeles ($118,000) and Oxnard ($105,000). The fifth city on the list was Boulder, Colorado, with a median downpayment just under $100K.Full Story...

* Homeowners Equity Improves. The Financial Accounts of the United States for the third quarter of 2017 were published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System recently. In nominal terms, households’ owner-occupied real estate increased to $24.2 trillion in the third quarter of 2017, $1.572 billion more than the third quarter of 2016. Total home mortgage debt outstanding was $10.0 trillion on a not seasonally adjusted basis, $279 billion more than the same period of 2016. The market value of households’ real estate grew faster than underlying home mortgage debt. As a result, the value of owners’ equity in real estate, the difference between the value of owner-occupied real estate and home mortgage debt, rose $1.3 trillion in the past four quarters and reached $14.1 trillion over the third quarter of 2017. Since 2012, home price appreciation has largely contributed to the increase in the owners’ equity share of home values. The market value of households’ real estate rose by 48.6% from 2012 to the present, while mortgage debt increased 3.0%. The ratio of owners’ equity in real estate as a percentage of household real estate rose to 58.5% in the third quarter of 2017, approaching its pre-recession level.Full Story...

Have a productive week.


This Week in Real Estate: December 11, 2017

CoreLogic released This Week in Real Estate that homeowners realized an 11.8% increase in home equity, totaling 870.6 billion dollars, between Q3 2017 and the same time period the prior year. Below are a few highlights from the first week of December that influence our business:

* Homeowner Equity Increased by Almost $871 Billion in Q3 2017. CoreLogic released its Q3 2017 home equity analysis Thursday which shows that U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63 percent of all homeowners) have collectively seen their equity increase 11.8 percent year over year, representing a gain of $870.6 billion since Q3 2016. Additionally, homeowners gained an average of $14,888 in home equity between Q3 2016 and Q3 2017. Western states led the increase, while no state experienced a decrease. Washington homeowners gaining an average of approximately $40,000 in home equity and California homeowners gaining an average of approximately $37,000 in home equity. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, from Q2 2017 to Q3 2017, the total number of mortgaged homes in negative equity decreased 9 percent to 2.5 million homes, or 4.9 percent of all mortgaged properties. Year over year, negative equity decreased 22 percent from 3.2 million homes, or 6.3 percent of all mortgaged properties, from Q3 2016 to Q3 2017.

* FHFA Increases Loan Limits in Nearly Every Area of U.S. for 2018. The Federal Housing Administration announced Thursday that nearly every area of the U.S. will see FHA loan limits increase in 2018. The new loan limits will take effect for FHA case numbers assigned on or after Jan. 1, 2018. FHA is required by the National Housing Act, as amended by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, to set Single Family forward loan limits at 115% of median house prices, subject to a floor and a ceiling on the limits. FHA calculates forward mortgage limits by Metropolitan Statistical Area and county. Back in 2016, the FHA increased loan limits for just 188 counties. Then, in 2017, this number jumped to 2,948 counties that saw an increase. And now, the number of counties increased even further to 3,011 counties for 2018. In high-cost areas, the FHA’s loan limit ceiling will increase to $679,650, up from $636,150 this year. The floor will also increase from $275,665 to $294,515 in 2018. However, in 223 counties, the FHA loan limits will remain the same.Full Story...

 Consumers Expect Strong Increases in Housing Costs. After dropping in October from what had been an all-time high the previous month, Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) resumed its upward trek, increasing by 2.6 points in November to 87.8, Strong responses to questions in the National Housing Survey (NHS) to questions about whether it was a good time to buy a home and expectations for home prices were the primary drivers of the index gains. “In November, the HPSI rebounded to near its all-time high, returning the index to its gradual upward trend and suggesting fairly stable consumer home-buying attitudes,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “These results are consistent with our expectation that the housing market will continue its modest expansion going forward. The net share of respondents who said now is a good time to buy a home increased 7 percentage points to 29, erasing the previous month’s 6-point drop. The net remains down 1 percentage point compared to the same period last year.  The net share who view it as a good time to sell rose 4 points to 34 and is now 21 percentage points higher than last November. The net share who said home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased 6 percentage points in November.Full Story...

Have a productive week.


This Week in Real Estate: December 4, 2017

While new home sales experiences the strongest reading in a decade according to HUD and the Census Bureau This Week in Real Estate, home builder confidence in November reached the second highest reading on record since the recession. Below are a few highlights from the final week of November that influence our business:

* New Home Sales Reach Strongest Pace in a DecadeContracts for new, single-family home sales expanded by 6.2% in October to a 685,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to estimates from the joint release of HUD and the Census Bureau. The strongest reading in a decade continues new home sales on a positive growth trend. The expansion is supported by ongoing job growth and improving household formations, as well as tight existing home inventory. Despite some volatility in the month-to-month sales figures, October marks the sixth month in 2017 at an annual sales pace of more than 600,000. New home sales through October are running 8.9% higher than this time in 2016, in line with NAHB’s forecast. Regionally, there was sales growth in all regions. On a year-to-date basis, home sales are up 30% in the Northeast, up 18% in the Midwest, 6% higher in the West, and up 1% in the South compared to September 2017.
* Pending Home Sales Strengthen 3.5% in October. Pending home sales rebounded strongly in October following three straight months of diminishing activity, but still continued their recent slide of falling behind year ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors. All major regions except for the West saw an increase in contract signings last month. NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released last month – revealed that homeowners typically stayed in their home for 10 years before selling (an all-time survey high). Prior to 2009, sellers consistently lived in their home for a median of six years before selling. The PHSI in the Northeast inched forward 0.5 percent to 95.0 in October, but is still 1.9 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest the index increased 2.8 percent to 105.8 in October, but remains 0.9 percent lower than October 2016. Pending home sales in the South jumped 7.4 percent to an index of 123.6 in October and are now 2.0 percent higher than last October. The index in the West decreased 0.7 percent in October to 101.6, and is now 4.4 percent below a year ago.Full Story...

* Home Builder Confidence Hits 8-Month High in November. A monthly reading of home builder sentiment rose two points in November to 70, according to the National Association of Home Builders. This comes after rising four points in October. Anything above fifty is considered positive sentiment. November’s reading is the highest since March of this year and the second highest on record since before the recession. The index stood at 63 in November 2016. Regionally, on a three-month moving average, builder confidence in the Northeast jumped five points to 54 and rose one point to 69 in the South. Both the West and Midwest remained unchanged at 77 and 63, respectively.

Have a productive week.


This Week in Real Estate: November 27, 2017

The National Association of Realtors released This Week in Real Estate that the pace of existing-home sales in October was the strongest it has been since June. Below are a few highlights from the third week of November that influence our business:

* Existing Home Sales Grow 2% in October. Existing-home sales increased in October to their strongest pace since earlier this summer, but continual supply shortages led to fewer closings on an annual basis for the second straight month, 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, increased 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in October from a downwardly revised 5.37 million in September. After last month’s increase, sales are at their strongest pace since June (5.51 million), but still remain 0.9 percent below a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West grew 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.27 million in October, and are now 0.8 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $375,100, up 7.8 percent from October 2016. The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in October was $247,000, up 5.5 percent from October 2016 ($234,100). October’s price increase marks the 68th straight month of year-over-year gains.
* Freddie Mac November 2017 Outlook. “It’s unlikely the economic environment will be much more favorable for housing and mortgage markets in 2018 and 2019. We forecast that interest rates will remain low by historical standards, but gradually creep higher over the next two years. We also forecast that housing construction will gradually pick up, helping to supply more homes to inventory-starved markets. More housing supply and modestly higher rates will lead to a moderation in house price growth. Refinance activity will drop to very low levels and the mortgage market will be dominated by purchase activity,” said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti. Modest economic growth, robust job gains, and low interest rates make for a favorable economic environment for housing and mortgage markets. But despite the favorable environment, housing markets have stalled a bit through summer and into fall. A lack of available for-sale inventory is helping to contribute to an acceleration in home prices.Full Story...
* Once Hot Apartment Construction Cooling as U.S. Housing Engine. Faster apartment building was instrumental in pulling the U.S. housing market out of its slump a decade ago. Now, that engine is starting to throttle back. The supply of apartments and condominiums has surged in recent years as builders responded to rising demand, fueled in part by young Americans who preferred to rent rather than purchase a home in the aftermath of the recession. A surge in prices for single-family properties, as the real-estate market recovered from its 2006 plunge, also made apartments more attractive for both builders and people unable to buy.  A Commerce Department report on Friday showed completions of multifamily units in October reached the fastest annualized rate in almost three decades. What’s more, the pipeline of apartments under construction is leveling off from a 42-year high reached at the start of 2017. And the number of multifamily units authorized but not yet started also is cooling as builders attempt to calibrate the supply.

Have a productive week.


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