This Week in Real Estate: April 2, 2018

Favorable news with respect to pending home sales activity and jobs This Week in Real Estate as the spring selling season begins in earnest. Below are a few highlights from the last week of March that influence our business:

* Pending Home Sales Rebound. After a slow start to the year, the Pending Home Sales Index increased 3.1% in February, but remains 4.1% below a year ago. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors. The PHSI increased to 107.5 in February from a downwardly 104.3 in January. The PHSI increased by 10.3% in the Northeast and 3.0% in the South, as well as 0.7% in the Midwest and 0.4% in the West. Year-over-year, the PHSI is lower in all four regions by 1.5% in the South, 2.2% in the West, 5.1% in the Northeast and 9.5% in the Midwest. NAR suggested that the expanding economy and healthy job market continue to generate demand, despite the tight inventory, increasing prices, and rising mortgage rates. February existing home sales increased 3% in February, and although flat, February new home sales were up 2% year-over-year. Builder confidence remains on solid footing as growing demand is expected to spur continued growth in new residential construction.
* Millenials Will Spend 45% of Income on Rent Before Age 30. As rent prices continue to rise, a new study shows Millennials are paying about 45% of their total income toward rent, and pay out close to $100,000 toward rent before they turn 30. Analyzing U.S. Census Bureau data going back as far as 1974, a new study from RentCafé found that Millennials have been the hardest generation for those ages 22 to 30. And the future does not look bright for Generation Z. As it turns out, Millennials pay about $92,600 in rent by the time they turn 30. While they may earn more in income compared to previous generations, they also have to spend more on rent, the study showed. While Baby Boomers paid just 36% of their income toward rent while in their 20s, Gen Xers paid 41% and Millennials now pay 45% of their monthly income toward rent.
* U.S. Jobless Claims Drop to More Than 45-Year Low. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to more than a 45-year low last week, suggesting the economy remains strong despite signs of a slowdown in the first quarter. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 215,000 for the week ended March 24, the lowest level since January 1973, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims have now been below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market, for 158 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller. The labor market is considered to be near or at full employment. The jobless rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, not too far from the Federal Reserve’s forecast of 3.8 percent by the end of this year.
Have a productive week.


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