This Week in Real Estate: Nov. 23, 2015


This Week in Real Estate Fannie Mae reported their expectation of improved economic growth through the rest of the fourth quarter. Below are a few of the highlights from the third week in November that influence our business:

* Mortgage Foreclosures and Delinquencies at Lowest Level since 2007. The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four unit residential properties maintained its downward trend and dropped to 4.99% of all loans outstanding at the end of the third quarter of 2015, the latest Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Delinquency Survey stated. The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure. This marks the lowest level since the first quarter of 2007. The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the third quarter was 1.88%, posting the lowest foreclosure inventory rate seen since the third quarter of 2007. “The factors influencing this outcome include a nationwide housing market recovery, resolution of long-standing troubled loans that eventually proceeded through the foreclosure process, and an improving employment outlook that provided distressed borrowers viable alternatives to foreclosure,” said Marina Walsh, MBA’s vice president of Industry Analysis.
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* Housing Starts Fall 11% in October, Building Permits Up. U.S. housing starts in October fell to a seven-month low, weighed down by a steep decline in the construction of multi-family homes, but a surge in building permits suggested the housing market remained on solid ground. “Overall, fundamentals for the sector remain solid. Household formation is rising, demand for new homes is outstripping supply, and home builder confidence remains near its highest level in a decade,” said Michelle Girard, chief economist at RBS. Groundbreaking dropped 11% in October, the lowest level since March. However, October marked the seventh straight month that starts remained above 1 million units, the longest stretch 2007. Building permits increased 4.1 percent. The October permit requests were above the starts number, and for the past three months permits have been running a little ahead of the building pace, so don’t be surprised if housing activity rebounds solidly in November.
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* Economy Remains on Firm Footing. Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group expects economic growth to pick up in the fourth quarter, bringing growth for all of 2015 to 2.2 percent with a slight expansion to 2.4 percent in 2016. Solid consumer spending and an increase in construction activity, home sales, and home prices appear poised to offset global headwinds. “Our forecast for housing activity is little changed over the past several months. The supply of existing homes remains lean amid slowing new single-family construction, putting significant upward pressure on home prices. While this helps boost home equity, it hurts affordability, especially for potential first-time homebuyers. Meanwhile, we expect mortgage rates to rise only gradually through next year, and an improving income trend should help support affordability. We foresee total home sales improving further in 2016, albeit at less than half of the 8.0 percent increase expected this year,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Chief Economist.
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Have a productive week and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


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