Builders Reveal Top 10 Biggest Concerns

Builders Reveal Top 10 Biggest Concerns
National Association of Home Builders   article by Daily Real Estate News | January 17, 2018

House Construction 103Homebuilding is still falling short in many markets in alleviating the shrinking inventories of homes for sale. But builders are blaming the construction shortfall on several factors.

Builders revealed the following top 10 “significant” problems they expect to face in 2018, according to the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Housing Market Index:

  1. Cost/availability of labor: 84%
  2. Building material prices: 84%
  3. Cost/availability of developed lots: 62%
  4. Impact/hook up/inspection or other fees: 60%
  5. Local/state environment regulations and policies: 45%
  6. Inaccurate appraisals: 42%
  7. Federal environment regulations and policies: 42%
  8. Difficulty obtaining zoning/permit approval: 42%
  9. Gridlock/uncertainty in Washington making buyers cautious: 42%
  10. Development standards (parling, setbacks, etc.): 38%

Once again for 2018, builders said the cost and availability of labor is their chief concern. The number of builders who are reporting this as a problem is growing. In 2017, 82 percent of builders said cost and availability of labor was their top concern; the percentage has grown to 84 percent of builders heading in 2018.

The availability of labor started growing as a problem among builders since 2011. In 2011, just 13 percent of builders rated labor as a significant problem, but by 2012, the percentage jumped to 30 percent and has ever since continued to increase each year.

“Both the availability of labor and lots highlight the expected constraints of a recovering housing market,” the NAHB reports.

Source: “Building Materials Prices and Labor Access Top Challenges for 2018,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (Jan. 16, 2018); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 011718

2017 Best Year on Record for Middle Tennessee Housing

2017 Best Year on Record for Middle Tennessee Housing
Greater Nashville REALTORS® Press Release, January 8, 2018

Nashville Houses 1000NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 8, 2018) – There were 3,246 closings during the month of December, according to figures provided by Greater Nashville REALTORS®. This is a 1 percent decrease from the 3,280 closings reported for the same period in 2016.

Fourth quarter closings were 9,690 for the Middle Tennessee area. That total is a 1.1 percent increase from the 9,582 closings during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Final numbers for 2017 indicate there were 40,482 homes sold in the region, breaking the 2006 record of 40,056 closings. Compared to the 38,954 closings in 2016, the total sales for 2017 were up 3.9 percent.

“2017 was a record-setting year in many ways for Middle Tennessee’s housing market,” said Greater Nashville REALTORS® President Sher Powers. “From single month sales records to new highs in median price, buyers and sellers worked together to boost our market. All of this activity resulted in our region experiencing the best year on record for home sales.”

“Until now, 2006 had been the strongest year for real estate with 40,056 closings,” said Powers. “Despite uncertainty regarding tax reform and low inventory, buyers and sellers were determined to reach their real estate goals, whether that was through home ownership, real estate investment or any of the other avenues of real estate.”

There were 2,471 sales pending at the end of December, compared with 2,209 pending sales at this time last year. The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 30 days.

The median price for a residential single-family home was $294,000, and for a condominium it was $209,450. This compares with last year’s median residential and condominium prices of $266,408 and $180,000, respectively.

Inventory at the end of December was 9,011 down from 9,330 in December 2016.

“Though we know there will be challenges in the market this year, our market has a solid foundation,” said Powers. “For anyone looking to take action – buying, selling or leasing – options will be available. Making the choice to work with a REALTOR®, a real estate professional with market expertise, will be a competitive advantage for consumers.”

### 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 010818

Mortgage Rates Ring in New Year With a Dip

Mortgage Rates Ring in New Year With a Dip
Freddie Mac   article by Daily Real Estate News | January 5, 2018

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Borrowers kicked off 2018 with a mortgage rate drop. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is now down a quarter of a percentage point from a year ago.

“Treasury yields fell from a week ago, helping to drive mortgage rates down to start the year,” says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist. “The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell four basis points from a week ago to 3.95 percent in the year’s first survey. Despite increases in short-term interest rates, long-term interest rates remain subdued.”

The spread between the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and five-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage is at the lowest since 2009, Kiefer says.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Jan. 4:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.95 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.99 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.20 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.38 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.44 percent average. A year ago, 15-year ARMs averaged 3.44 percent.
  • 5-year ARMs: averaged 3.45 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 3.47 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.33 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 010518

Nationally: Contract Signings Post First Gains Since June

Nationally: Contract Signings Post First Gains Since June
National Association of REALTORS® | December 27, 2017

Pending home sales eked out a small increase in November on both a monthly and annualized basis. The increase was enough to make it the highest gain in contract signings since June as well, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Wednesday.

But will it last? Existing-home sales and price growth are expected to slow heading in 2018 due to the impact from altered tax benefits of homeownership affecting some high-cost areas, according to NAR.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index—a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings—inched up 0.2 percent month over month. NAR’s index reached a reading of 109.5 in November and is at its highest reading since June (110). The index is 0.8 percent higher than a year ago.

“The housing market is closing the year on a stronger note than earlier this summer, backed by solid job creation and an economy that has kicked into a higher gear,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “However, new buyers coming into the market are finding out quickly that their options are limited and competition is robust. REALTORS® say many would-be buyers from earlier this year, stifled by tight supply and higher prices, are still trying to buy a home.”

Existing-home sales are up 5.8 percent—more than double wage growth. Inventories remain tight at a 3.4-month supply of homes on the market, which is the lowest since NAR began tracking in 1999.

“The strengthening economy, and expectation that more millennials will want to buy, serve as promising signs for solid homebuying demand next year, while also putting additional pressure on inventory levels and affordability,” Yun says. “Sales do have room for growth in most areas, but nationally, overall activity could be slightly negative. Markets with high home prices and property taxes will likely feel some impact from the reduced tax benefits of owning a home.”

Yun forecasts that existing-home sales will finish 2017 at around 5.54 million, which is an increase of 1.7 percent from 2016 (5.45 million). The national median existing-home price for 2017 is expected to increase to around 6 percent.

Yun projects that in 2018, existing-home sales will see little change, declining just 0.4 percent to 5.52 million. He also forecasts that price growth will moderate to around 2 percent.

November PHS Infographic

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 122717

Mortgage Rates Up Slightly This Week

Mortgage Rates Up Slightly This Week
Freddie Mac   article by Daily Real Estate News | December 22, 2017

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Average mortgage rates inched up, but the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remains below 4 percent and continues to offer home buyers and refinancers historically low rates.

“Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates have been bouncing around in a narrow 10 basis points range since October,” says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The U.S. average 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased 1 basis point to 3.94 percent in this week’s survey. The majority of our survey was completed prior to the surge in long-term interest rates that followed the passage of the tax bill. If those rate increases stick, we’ll likely see higher mortgage rates in next week’s survey. But even with yesterday’s increase, the 10-year Treasury yield is down from a year ago, and 30-year fixed mortgage rates are 36 basis points below the level we saw in our survey last year at this time. Mortgage rates are low.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Dec. 21:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.94 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.93 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year-rates averaged 4.30 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.38 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 3.36 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.52 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.39 percent, with an average 0.3 point, increasing from last week’s 3.36 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.32 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 122217

NAR: Homes Selling Faster Than Ever

NAR: Homes Selling Faster Than Ever
National Association of REALTORS®   article by Daily Real Estate News | December 22, 2017

The time homes spent on the market hit an all-time low in 2017 at just three weeks, the National Association of REALTORS® reports. A low inventory of homes for sale mixed with strong buyer demand has helped to keep market times low from 2014 to 2017.

During the height of the housing boom from 2001 to 2005, homes sold within a month of being listed. But as the housing market began to slow in 2006, the median time jumped to six weeks, and then to 10 weeks by 2009.

Tight inventories and a lack of construction of homes has helped to keep homes selling faster in recent years, NAR notes.

NARgraphic

Source: “Drop in Time on Market to Sell a Home,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog (Dec. 21, 2017); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 122217