This Week in Real Estate: July 5, 2016


Very favorable news This Week in Real Estate with respect to consumer confidence, mortgage interest rates and the Pacific Northwest’s continued strong appreciation of home prices. Below are a few highlights from the last week of June that influences our business:

* Case-Shiller: Home Prices Reach New Highs in Key Housing Markets. Home prices continue to increase nationwide, even hitting new highs in several large housing markets in April, according to S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices released this week. Home prices increased 5% in April, down from an increase of 5.1% the month before. The market with the highest annual gain among the 20 cities was Portland, Oregon with an increase of 12.3%. Seattle, Washington came in second with an increase of 10.7%, followed by Denver, Colorado with an increase of 9.5%. “The housing sector continues to turn in a strong price performance with the S&P/Case-Shiller National Index rising at a 5% or greater annual rate for six consecutive months,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The home price increases reflect the low unemployment rate, low mortgage interest rates, and consumers’ generally positive outlook,” Blitzer said.
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* Consumer Confidence Rose in June. After two consecutive months of decline, the Consumer Confidence Index, reported by the Conference Board, rose in June. The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 98 in June, from 92.4 in May. Both the present situation index and the expectations index increased. The present situation index rose to 118.3 in June, from 113.2 in May, and the expectations index rose to 84.5, from 78.5 in May. The trends in the shares of respondents planning to buy a new home and the shares of respondents planning to buy a lived-in home within six months are steadily upward since the recession.
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* 6-Day Winning Streak Leaves Rates Near All-Time Lows. Mortgage rates fell moderately Friday, adding a 6th day to a winning streak that began with last week’s Brexit news and bringing rates right to the brink of all-time lows. Mortgage rate movement can be measured in large and small chunks. The large chunks would be the changes in the actual interest rates being quoted and the small chunks would be the changes in the points associated with any given rate. “Points” have a historically negative connotation to some, but they’re very objective, simply referring to the upfront costs or credit on a rate quote. The actual “rate” piece of the equation has moved down 0.25% in some cases, bringing some lenders from 3.625% to 3.375%, which is now the most prevalently-quoted conventional 30-year fixed rate on top tier scenarios. Why is 3.375% important? Simply put, the next time rates move a notch lower, they’ll be back to official all-time lows. In fact, 3.375% is the lowest rate that markets were able to maintain for more than a day or two back in 2012.
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Have a productive week!

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