Mortgage Rates Ease for Second Consecutive Week

Mortgage Rates Ease for Second Consecutive Week
Freddie Mac | August 17, 2018

Borrowers had slightly more relief with mortgage rates again this week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate dipped again, averaging 4.53 percent, Freddie Mac reports.

“The stability in borrowing costs comes despite the highest core inflation rates since 2008 and turbulence in the currency markets,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Unfortunately, this pause in rates is not leading to increasing home sales.”

Last week, mortgage applications for home purchases once again trailed levels from last year. “It’s clear that in some markets the combination of ascending home prices, limited affordable inventory, and this year’s higher rates are curtailing home buyer demand,” Khater says.

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Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Aug. 16:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.53 percent, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 4.59 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.89 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.01 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 4.05 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.16 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.87 percent, with an average 0.4 point, down from last week’s 3.90 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.16 percent.

Source: “Mortgage Rates Step Back,” Freddie Mac (Aug. 16, 2018); REALTOR® Magazine Online 081718

Fast-Paced Luxury Sales Raise Entry-Level Price Point

Fast-Paced Luxury Sales Raise Entry-Level Price Point
realtor.com | August 10, 2018

House 1058It’s a good time to be selling high-end real estate: The luxury market is posting a record number of sales, and 19 major areas also saw double-digit gains in July, according to realtor.com®’s 2018 Luxury Home Index. The index measures the entry-level luxury price tier, which is the top 5 percent of residential sales among 91 U.S. counties.

In 49 of the 91 markets analyzed by realtor.com®, the luxury tier had an entry point of at least $1 million. The number of sales at or above $1 million climbed 12 percent over the last year, realtor.com® reports.

“The strong economy is bolstering demand for luxury homes,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “They are selling fast and demand for these homes has pushed the entry-level price point to more than $1 million in half of the markets studied. Although there are some pockets of weaker performance, we’ve seen double-digit price growth in 19 markets for the first time in four years.”

Luxury homes are selling faster, too. The median age of inventory in the 91 luxury markets tracked was 108 days in July, down 11 days or by 9.3 percent year over year, realtor.com® reports.

The fastest-growing luxury market in July: Sarasota, Fla., which continued to hold onto its top spot on realtor.com®’s list. Luxury sales prices in Sarasota have risen 21.2 percent since last May. Half of all luxury homes there have also sold within 157 days, which is 21 days faster than a year ago. Rounding out realtor.com®’s list of the top five fastest-growing luxury markets in July were Queens, N.Y.; Maui, Hawaii; Santa Clara, Calif.; and Boulder, Colo. Each of the cities posted a yearly growth of between 13 to 16 percent.

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Source: “Luxury Housing Sets New Records,” realtor.com® (Aug. 9, 2018); REALTOR® Magazine Online 081018

Dip in Rates Provides ‘Stability’ for Home Sales

Dip in Rates Provides ‘Stability’ for Home Sales
Freddie Mac | August 10, 2018

Borrowers saw a little relief from recent increases. Mortgage rates dropped slightly this week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.59 percent, Freddie Mac reports.

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“This stability is much needed for home sales, which have crested because of the multiyear run up in prices, tight affordable inventory, and this year’s higher rates,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Going forward, the strong economy will support the housing market, but with affordability pressures mounting, further spikes in mortgage rates will lead to continued softening in home price growth.”

Home prices are still climbing and rates are up from 3.90 percent a year ago. “Some prospective buyers are definitely feeling an affordability crunch,” Khater says.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Aug. 9:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.59 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 4.60 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.90 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.05 percent, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 4.08 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.18 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.90 percent, with an average 0.3 point, falling from last week’s 3.93 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.14 percent.

Source: “Mortgage Rates Inch Backward,” Freddie Mac (Aug. 9, 2018); REALTOR® Magazine Online 081018

Middle Tennessee Housing Inventory Continues to Rise

Middle Tennessee Housing Inventory Continues to Rise
Greater Nashville REALTORS®, Press Release | August 7, 2018

TheGulchNashvilleNASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 7, 2018) – There were 3,812 closings reported for the month of July, according to figures provided by Greater Nashville REALTORS®. This represents a 1.5 percent decrease from the 3,872 closings reported for July 2017.

Year-to-date closings total 23,242 a 0.5 percent decrease compared to the 23,365 closings reported through July 2017.

“The numbers in July show a slight decrease in closings compared to 2017, but the market remains stable as we continue to see a steady inventory increase,” said Greater Nashville REALTORS® President Sher Powers. “We are pleased to see inventory continue to grow across Middle Tennessee, which is not the case in other markets across the country.”

There were 3,347 properties under contract at the end of the month, compared to the 3,575 properties under contract at this time last year. The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 25 days.

The median residential price for a single-family home during July was $307,000 and for a condominium it was $222,750. This compares with last year’s median residential and condominium prices of $288,243 and $203,000.

Active inventory at the end of July was 11,671 which increased from 9,151 in 2017.

“The continued increase in inventory can lead to a more balanced and healthy market across Middle Tennessee, calming the steady pricing increases we’ve seen in the past few years, which in turn may inspire buyers on the fence to start their home buying search,” said Powers.

### About Us: 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. ###

The data collected for this release represents nine Middle Tennessee counties: Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Maury, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson.

View the July 2018 Market Data Infographic

Source: Greater Nashville REALTORS®, Press Release 080718

Hike in Mortgage Rates Erases Affordability Relief

Hike in Mortgage Rates Erases Affordability Relief
Freddie Mac | August 3, 2018

Borrowers got stuck with higher mortgage rates again this week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage climbed for the second consecutive week, averaging 4.6 percent. Mortgage rates are now at their fourth highest level of the year, Freddie Mac reports.

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“The higher rate environment, coupled with the ongoing lack of affordable inventory, has led to a drag on existing-home sales in the last few months,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

The Federal Reserve this week voted to hold off on raising its short-term rate, “but the embers of a strong economy potentially stoking higher inflation, borrowing costs will likely modestly rise in the coming months,” Khater adds.

Even with home price growth easing slightly in some markets, Khater notes that mortgage rates hovering near a seven-year high will certainly create affordability challenges for prospective buyers looking to close on a home purchase.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Aug. 2:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.60 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 4.54 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.93 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.08 percent, with an average 0.4 point, increasing from last week’s 4.02 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.18 percent.

5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.93 percent, with an average 0.2 point, rising from last week’s 3.87 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.15 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine 080318

Nationally: Has the Inventory Crunch Begun to Subside?

Nationally: Has the Inventory Crunch Begun to Subside?
National Association of REALTORS® | July 30, 2018

Nashville June2018InventoryContract signings rose in all four major regions across the U.S. last month, a sign that dwindling home sales—which have plagued the market at an unusual time of year this summer—will reverse course in the coming months, the National Association of REALTORS® reports.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 0.9 percent month over month in June to a reading of 106.9. “After two straight months of declines in pending home sales, home shoppers in a majority of markets had a little more success finding a home to buy last month,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The positive forces of faster economic growth and steady hiring are being met by the negative forces of higher home prices and mortgage rates. Even with slightly more homeowners putting their home on the market, inventory is still subpar and not meeting demand. As a result, affordability constraints are pricing out some would-be buyers and keeping overall sales activity below last year’s pace.”

Despite last month’s rise, contract signings are still down 2.5 percent compared to a year ago, NAR reports. Nevertheless, Yun says the worst of the supply crunch may now have passed. In June, existing inventory was up slightly on an annual basis, marking the first increase in three years. Several large metros saw year-over-year surges in inventory levels last month:

  • Portland, Oregon.: +24 percent
  • Providence, Rhode Island: +20 percent
  • Seattle, Washington: +19 percent
  • Nashville, Tennessee: +17 percent
  • San Jose, California: +15 percent

“Home price growth remains swift, and listings are still going under contract at a robust pace in most of the country, which indicates that even with rising inventory in many markets, demand still significantly outpaces what’s available for sale,” Yun says. “However, if this trend of increasing supply continues in the months ahead, prospective buyers will hopefully begin to see more choices and softer price growth.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine 073018

Nationally: New-Home Sales May Be in Trouble

Nationally: New-Home Sales May Be in Trouble
National Association of Home Builders | July 26, 2018

House 1057Sales of newly built single-family homes plunged to an eight-month low last month at a time when sales should be at their highest points of the year. New single-family home sales dropped 5.3 percent month-over-month in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 631,000, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. This marks the lowest monthly annualized sales pace since October 2017.

Builders say ongoing supply constraints are being exacerbated by recent tariff disputes, which are raising the costs of building materials. In April 2017, the Trump administration imposed anti-subsidy duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber. Builders have said that move has significantly raised the cost of building a new home.

“Uncertainty caused by tariffs and the talk of trade wars are making home buyers more cautious, and builders are taking note of this situation,” says Randy Noel, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. “Not only are consumers and builders concerned about the current lumber tariffs but also the next round of proposed tariffs on a number of goods and services.”

The median sales price of new homes dropped to $302,100 in June, 4.2 percent lower than a year prior. “That prices were lower likely shows the dominance of homes sold in the South—where prices are lower—than a lack of demand,” Robert Frick, corporate economist for Navy Federal Credit Union in Vienna, Va., told Reuters.

While new-home sales underperformed in June, the builders’ trade group still sees “solid demand for new-home construction.” New-home sales were up in the first half of 2018 and remain 6.8 percent higher on a year-to-date basis compared to last year, says Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist.

But a shortage of new construction persists. In June, the stock of new homes rose to a nine-year high of 301,000 units, but supply is still just over half of what it was at the peak of the housing boom in 2006.

Source: The National Association of Home Builders and “U.S. New Home Sales at Eight-Month Low, Housing Slowing,” Reuters (July 25, 2018); REALTOR® Magazine 072618