This Week in Real Estate: Nov. 30, 2015


Breaking news This Week in Real Estate: Google is now in the mortgage business. Below are a few of the highlights from the final week in November that influence our business:

* New Home Sales Beat Expectations. Sales of new single-family houses in October 2015 beat expectations and came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 495,000, according to estimates released jointly Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 10.7% above the revised September rate of 447,000 and is 4.9% above the October 2014 estimate of 472,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in October 2015 was $281,500, while the average sales price was $366,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of October was 226,000. This represents a supply of 5.5 months at the current sales rate.
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* Home Prices Continue Defying Gravity and Expectations. Price increases did not slow in the third quarter as expected the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said today. The agencies purchase-only seasonally adjusted House Price Index (HPI) for the quarter shows that prices rose for the 17th consecutive quarter and posted the largest month-over-month gain since at least that in March to April. The quarterly measure was 5.7 percent higher than in the third quarter of 2014. Year-over-year the increase for the entire U.S. was 6.1 percent. The 8 percent monthly gain crushed analysts expectations.”The long-anticipated slowdown in home price appreciation did not occur in the third quarter,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “The factors that have contributed to extraordinary price growth over the last few years-low interest rates, tight inventories, strong buyer confidence, and improving income growth-continued to drive prices upward in much of the country. However, as prices continue to rise, reduced affordability will be a stronger market headwind,” Leventis said.
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* Google Launches Mortgage Comparison Tool. Well, it’s official. Google has come to mortgages. Google is launching its own mortgage comparison tool via its Compare service. Google Compare is no stranger to mortgages, just not in this country. Google Compare in the United Kingdon previously offered car insurance, travel insurance, credit cards and mortgages. Google began laying the groundwork in February, when it launched its own built-in mortgage calculator. Beginning very soon, consumers all over the country will be able to shop for a mortgage on Google. Imagine a consumer searching for “mortgage” on Google and being prompted to review a list of Google-approved lenders and their rates. “Google Compare for mortgages provides a seamless, intuitive experience that connects lenders with borrowers online,” Google posted on its website Monday.
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