The West, South Lift New-Home Sales

The West, South Lift New-Home Sales
National Association of Home Builders
article by Daily Real Estate News | April 25, 2018

House 1043Builders saw more sales of newly built single-family homes last month, as the spring selling season got underway. New-home sales posted a 4 percent increase in March month over month, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Tuesday. New single-family homes reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000 units in March, the second highest reading since the Great Recession. The West and South regions of the U.S. led to most of that uptick.

“We saw sales move forward in the West and South regions, which is in line with recent evidence of faster growth in population, employment, and single-family construction in these areas,” says Michael Neal, senior economist for the National Association of Home Builders. “But with nationwide economic growth and favorable demographics, we can expect continued strengthening of the housing market across the country.”

New-home sales rose 28.3 percent month over month in March in the West and were up by 0.8 percent in the South. Sales plunged 54.8 percent in the Northeast and by 2.4 percent in the Midwest. Bad winter weather has been blamed on softening sales in the Northeast in recent weeks.

Nationwide, the median sales price of a new home sold was $337,200 in March. Inventories remain tight at a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace.

While new-home sales gained some ground last month, economists say that construction in the sector is still not robust enough to catch up to buyer demand. The low inventories of homes for sale—in both the new and existing-home sectors—are prompting prices to soar. The S&P/Case Shiller national index, reflecting February data, showed home prices rising to a near four-year high. National Association of REALTORS®’ median home price data also shows gains of about double the average wage growth.

“Even as the tightening job market is starting to boost incomes, those looking to buy are facing a double whammy of fast rising home prices and higher mortgage rates,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in reaction to the S&P/Case Shiller index’s release on Tuesday. “The way to make housing more affordable is to build more homes, particularly small-sized entry-level homes and condominiums.”

Source: National Association of Home Builders and National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 042518

Nationally: Home Sales Overcome Inventory, Price Woes

Nationally: Home Sales Overcome Inventory, Price Woes
National Association of REALTORS®
article by Daily Real Estate News | April 23, 2018

House 1042Inventory shortages and pressing affordability issues didn’t suppress home sales activity in March. Total sales of existing homes, including single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops, increased 1.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.6 million, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. However, home sales are still 1.2 percent below a year ago.

“Robust gains last month in the Northeast and Midwest—a reversal from the weather-impacted declines seen in February—helped overall sales activity rise to its strongest pace since last November,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The unwelcoming news is that while the healthy economy is generating sustained interest in buying a home this spring, sales are lagging year-ago levels because supply is woefully low, and home prices keep climbing above what some would-be buyers can afford.”

Here’s a closer look at some key indicators from NAR’s latest existing-home sales report for March:

  • Home prices: The median price for existing homes of all types was $250,400, up 5.8 percent from a year ago. “Although the strong job market and recent tax cuts are boosting the incomes of many households, speedy price growth is squeezing overall affordability in several markets, especially those out West,” Yun says.
  • Inventories: Total housing inventory rose 5.7 percent to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, but that’s still 7.2 percent lower than a year ago. Inventories have fallen year over year for 34 consecutive months. At the current sales pace, unsold inventory is at a 3.6-month supply.
  • All-cash sales: Cash transactions comprised 20 percent of sales, down from 23 percent a year ago. Individual investors tend to account for the bulk of all-cash sales. They purchased 15 percent of homes on the market last month, down from 18 percent a year ago.
  • Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales made up 4 percent of home sales. Broken out, 3 percent of sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.
  • Days on the market: Fifty percent of homes that sold in March were on the market for less than a month. Properties stayed on the market for an average of 30 days, down from 34 days a year ago.

“REALTORS® throughout the country are seeing the seasonal ramp-up in buyer demand this spring—but without the commensurate increase in new listings coming onto the market,” Yun says. “As a result, competition is swift, and homes are going under contract in roughly a month, which is four days faster than last year and a remarkable 17 days faster than March 2016.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 042318

Mortgage Rates Jump to 4-Year High

Mortgage Rates Jump to 4-Year High
Freddie Mac   article by Daily Real Estate News | April 20, 2018

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After mostly stagnant activity levels in recent weeks, mortgage rates are back on the move. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to its highest level since January 2014 this week, also seeing its largest weekly increase since February of this year, Freddie Mac reports.

Average mortgage rates were higher across the board too, posting weekly increases to not only the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage but also to 15-year and 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages in mortgage rates for the week ending April 19:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.47 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 4.42 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.97 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.94 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 3.87 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.23 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.67 percent, with an average 0.3 point, increasing from last week’s 3.61 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.10 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 042018

Another Week of Mostly Flat Mortgage Rates

Another Week of Mostly Flat Mortgage Rates
Freddie Mac   article by Daily Real Estate News | April 13, 2018

Borrowing costs haven’t budged much in recent weeks, offering some relief from the weekly rate increases that had almost become routine at the start of 2018.

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“Mortgage rates have been holding steady over the past two months,” says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist. “Rates have bounced around 4.4 percent since mid-February. Rates could break out and head higher if inflation continues to firm. … If inflation continues to trend higher, we may see two or three more rate hikes from the Fed this year, and mortgage rates could follow. For now, mortgage rates are still quite low by historical standards, helping to support homebuyer affordability as the spring home buying season ramps up.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending April 12:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.42 percent, with an average 0.4 point, up from last week’s 4.40 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.08 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.87 percent, with an average 0.4 point, holding the same average as last week. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.34 percent.

5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.61 percent, with an average 0.3 point, dropping from last week’s 3.62 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.18 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 041318

U.S. News Reveals Best Places to Live List

U.S. News Reveals Best Places to Live List
U.S. News & World Report
article by Daily Real Estate News | April 11, 2018

Austin, Texas, ranked number one for the second year in a row as the top place to live in the United States, according to new rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. The magazine ranks the 125 largest metros based on affordability, employment prospects, and quality of life each year.

“When deciding on a place to settle down, it’s important to understand that where a person lives can impact their well-being,” says Kim Castro, executive editor at U.S. News. “The top-ranked places are areas where citizens can feel the most fulfilled socially, physically, and financially.”

The top 12 best places to live in 2018 are:

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  3. Denver, Colorado
  4. Des Moines, Iowa
  5. Fayetteville, Arkansas
  6. Portland, Oregon
  7. Huntsville, Alabama
  8. Washington, D.C.
  9. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  10. Seattle, Washington
  11. Nashville, Tennessee
  12. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Source: U.S. News & World Report; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 041118

Middle Tennessee Home Sales Begin Taking Shape for Spring

Middle Tennessee Home Sales Begin Taking Shape for Spring
Press Release by Greater Nashville REALTORS® | April 9, 2018

House 1040NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 9, 2018) – There were 3,446 home closings reported for the month of March, according to figures provided by Greater Nashville REALTORS®. This figure represents a .7 percent increase compared to the 3,420 closings in March 2017.

Data for the first quarter of 2018 showed 8,210 closings, down 1.5 percent from the 8,338 closings during the first quarter of 2017.

“March is the early start of the spring home buying and selling season, and it marked a turning point for sales in the region with our first increase in year-over-year sales this year,” said Greater Nashville REALTORS® President Sher Powers. “The data shows what is typical for this time of year, with increases in closings, price and inventory. The strong number of pending home sales indicates a solid season ahead for our market.”

There were 4,076 sales pending at the end of March, compared with 3,739 pending sales at this time last year. The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 34 days.

The median residential price for a single-family home during March was $297,915 and for a condominium it was $218,600. This compares with last year’s median residential and condominium prices of $273,500 and $199,900, respectively.

Inventory at the end of March was 8,521, down slightly from 8,568 in March 2017.

“April is recognized nationally as Fair Housing Month. This year is even more significant as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. REALTORS® are long-standing proponents of equal opportunity in housing and will continue working to ensure quality housing is available for all,” said Powers.

••• Greater Nashville REALTORS® is one of Middle Tennessee’s largest professional trade associations and serves as the primary voice for Nashville-area property owners. REALTOR® is a registered trademark that may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics. •••

Source: Greater Nashville REALTORS®, Press Release 040918

Mortgage Rates Ease This Week

Mortgage Rates Ease This Week
Freddie Mac   article by Daily Real Estate News | April 6, 2018

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Borrowers found some relief for the second consecutive week with lower mortgage rates.

“After dropping earlier this week on trade-related anxiety in financial markets, the benchmark 10-year Treasury stabilized on Wednesday, but at a level slightly lower than from the start of last week,” explains Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist. “Mortgage rates followed and fell for the second consecutive week. … Though rates on the 30-year fixed mortgage are up 0.3 percentage points from the same week a year ago, a robust labor market is helping home purchase demand weather modestly higher rates.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported in its latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey that its index for home purchase applications is up 5 percent from a year ago “indicating that this spring is on track for a modest expansion in purchase mortgage activity,” Kiefer adds.

Freddie Mac reported the following national averages for the week ending April 5:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.40 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 4.44 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.10 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.87 percent, with an average 0.4 point, dropping from last week’s 3.90 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.36 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.62 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 3.66 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.19 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 040618