This Week in Real Estate: April 18, 2016

For the second week in a row, falling interest rates dominate the headlines This Week in Real Estate. Below are a few highlights from the second week of April that influence our business:

* Strong March New Home Sales. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA’s) most recent regular report on mortgage application volume released on Wednesday indicated a sudden pick-up in purchase mortgage applications last week. MBA’s data, gathered through its Builder Application Survey (BAS) shows that applications for mortgages to purchase newly constructed homes jumped by 17% in March compared to the previous month. Lynn Fisher, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics, said, “Rising prices for existing homes and a strong job market are making the math work for new construction. In March, the Builder Application Index reached its highest level since its inception in 2012 and was more than 18% higher than one year ago.
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* Foreclosures Now Lowest Since Fourth Quarter 2006. RealtyTrac released its Q1 and March 2016 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report this week which shows foreclosure filings on 289,116 properties in the first quarter of 2016. That is down 4 percent from the previous quarter and down 8 percent from the first quarter of 2015 to the lowest quarterly total since the fourth quarter of 2006, a more than 9-year low. Nationwide the 289,116 properties with foreclosure filings in the first quarter of 2016 was 69% below the quarterly peak of 937,840 properties in the second quarter of 2009. Among the 216 major metro areas analyze for the report, 210 (97%) were below peak foreclosure activity levels in the first quarter.
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* Mortgage Interest Rates Fall to Lowest Level in Nearly Three Years. Mortgage interest rates continued their downward trend in the last week, falling again to the lowest level of the year and the lowest level in nearly three years, Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed. This marks the second week in a row that mortgage rates dipped to a new yearly low. Last week, Freddie Mac’s report showed that the 30-year mortgage rate fell 12 basis points to 3.59%, which was the lowest since February 2015. But rates went even lower in the last week, with the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage falling by one basis point to 3.58%. This week’s new low of 3.58% is the lowest level that interest rates have reached since May 2014. “Demand for treasuries remained high this week, driving yields to their lowest point since February,” Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Sean Becketti said.
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Have a productive week!


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