This Week in Real Estate: Aug. 24, 2015


Despite how the Dow Jones closed on Friday it had no impact on interest rates. This Week in Real Estate ended with the lowest interest rates in 3 months. Below are a few of the highlights from the third week in August that influence our business:

* Existing Sales Grow. Existing home sales steadily increased for the third consecutive month in July, and remained at the highest level since February 2007; but the first-time buyer share fell for the second consecutive month to the lowest level since January. Total existing home sales increased by 2.0% in July to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.59 million units. July existing sales were up 10.3% from the same period a year ago, and have increased year-over-year for ten consecutive months. Existing sales increased by 4.1% in the South and 3.2% in the West, but were flat in the Midwest and fell 2.8% in the Northeast. Year-over-year, all four regions also increased, ranging from 11.3% in the West to 9.4% in the Northeast. Total housing inventory in July decreased by 0.4% from June, and is 4.7% below its level a year ago. At the current sales rate, the July unsold inventory represents a 4.8-month supply. The Distressed sales share decreased to 7% in July, down from 8% in June and 10% in May, compared favorably to the 9% share during the same month a year ago. The July median sales price of $234,000 was 5.6% above the same month a year ago, and represented the 41st consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.
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* Builder Confidence, Single-Family Starts Rising. The most recent home construction data offer modest reasons to be optimistic, although risks remain. The August NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index continued its slow rise to a nine-plus-year high of 61, up one point from July. The index has been at 60 or more since June and above the tipping point of 50 since July 2014. Components measuring current and future home sales also rose to or remained at heights not seen since late 2005. The current sales index rose one point to 66 and the expected sales component remained at 70 after rising to that level in July. However, despite their rising levels of confidence, builders continue to face difficulty obtaining lots to build on and labor to build the homes. In July, Census estimates indicate that the pace of single-family starts was up 13%, as the recovery for home building continues. Single-family permits were down 1.9%, however. Overall, the July starts report indicates a rebalancing of multi-family development, while continuing the modest but steady progress in single-family production. Full story…

* Mortgage Rates on Year’s Longest Winning Streak. Mortgage rates moved moderately lower yet again. This extends a winning streak that began on July 14th, making it the longest positive trend in 2015. If this seems paradoxical in light of everything you may have heard about the Fed hiking rates this year, that’s normal. Market participants and pundits have a long history of getting too attached to a certain idea only to be punished by markets for the imbalance. Today’s rates are the lowest in 3 months.
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* Serious Delinquency Rates Continue Their Descent. According to a report by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association the delinquency rate for mortgage loans on 1-4 unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.30% of all loans outstanding at the end of the second quarter 2015, 24 basis points less than its level in the first quarter of 2015 and 74 basis points below its level one year ago. The serious delinquency rate is now 3.2 percentage points below its peak level in the fourth quarter of 2009. As of the second quarter of 2015, the serious delinquency rate stands at 1.9%. Full Story…

Have a productive week!


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