Mortgage Rates Drop Slightly for First Time in 5 Weeks

Mortgage Rates Drop Slightly for First Time in 5 Weeks
Freddie Mac | October 5, 2018

Borrowers saw a slight cool down in mortgage rates this week following last week’s seven-year high. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped for the first time after five consecutive weeks of increases, averaging 4.71 percent.

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But the higher rates may be deterring some would-be home buyers. “The strength in the economy has failed to translate to gains in the housing market as higher mortgage rates have contributed to the decrease in home purchase applications, which are down from a year ago,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “With mortgage rates expected to track higher, it’s going to be a challenge for the housing market to regain momentum.”

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

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.71 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling slightly from last week’s 4.72 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.85 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.15 percent, with an average 0.4 point, decreasing from last week’s 4.16 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.15 percent.

5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 4.01 percent, with an average 0.3 point, rising from last week’s 3.97 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.18 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Mag News 100518

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The Housing Market’s 50 Hottest Zip Codes

The Housing Market’s 50 Hottest Zip Codes
realtor.com | October 1, 2018

The following is realtor.com®’s rankings of the top 50 hottest ZIP codes for housing in the country.

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Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Mortgage Rates Surge to 7-Year High After Fed Hike

Mortgage Rates Surge to 7-Year High After Fed Hike
Freddie Mac | September 28, 2018

Mortgage rates surged to their highest averages since 2011 following the Federal Reserve’s announcement Wednesday that it is raising its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped to 4.72 percent, up from 4.65 percent last week.

“The robust economy, rising Treasury yields, and the anticipation of more short-term rate hikes caused mortgage rates to move up,” says Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater. “Even with these higher borrowing costs, it’s encouraging to see that prospective buyers appear to be having a little more success. With inventory constraints and home prices starting to ease, purchase applications have now trended higher on an annual basis for six straight weeks.”

Khater also notes that consumer confidence is at an 18-year high, and job gains continue to hold steady. “These two factors should keep demand up in the coming months, but at the same time, home shoppers will likely deal with even higher mortgage rates,” Khater says. Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Sept. 27:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.72 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 4.65 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.83 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.16 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 4.11 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.13 percent.

5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.97 percent, with an average 0.3 point, rising from last week’s 3.92 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.20 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Mag News 092818

Nationally: Why Were Fewer Contracts Signed in August?

Nationally: Why Were Fewer Contracts Signed in August?
National Association of REALTORS® | September 27, 2018

Pending home sales continued to fall last month, marking the eighth consecutive month for annual decreases, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Thursday. The drop in contracts may be a sign of a growing number of buyers who are being priced out of the market, economists warn.

August PHS InfographicNAR’s Pending Home Sales Index—a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings—fell 1.8 percent to a reading of 104.2 in August. Contract signings are now 2.3 percent lower than a year ago.

The largest declines last month were in the West, where home prices have risen the most. “[This] clearly indicates that affordability is hindering buyers and those affordability issues come from lack of inventory, particularly in moderate price points,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

The decline in sales contracts has also coincided with fewer homes on the market. But that may soon change—a record high of Americans now say it’s a good time to sell their home, according to NAR’s third-quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey.

“Just a couple of years ago about 55 percent of consumers indicated it was a good time to sell; that figure has climbed to 77 percent today,” Yun says. “With prices having risen so quickly, many consumers were deciding to wait to list their homes hoping to see additional price and equity gains. However, with indications that buyers are beginning to pull out, price gains are going to decelerate and potential sellers are considering that now is a good time to list and bring more properties to the market.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Mag News 092718

30-Year Mortgage Rates Reach Highest Level Since May

30-Year Mortgage Rates Reach Highest Level Since May
Freddie Mac | September 21, 2018

For the fourth consecutive week, mortgage rates continued to climb as home buyers face higher borrowing costs.

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“Mortgage rates are drifting upwards again and represent continued affordability challenges for prospective buyers—especially first-time buyers,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Borrowing costs are moving right now for three main reasons: the very strong economy, higher U.S. government debt issuances, and global trade tensions.”

Khater says despite the uptick in rates, mortgage applications for home purchases have managed to increase on an annual basis for five consecutive weeks. “However, given the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, the next few months of housing activity will likely be somewhat volatile,” he adds.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Sept. 20:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.65 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 4.6 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.83 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.11 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 4.06 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.13 percent.

5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.92 percent, with an average 0.4 point, dropping from last week’s 3.93 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.17 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Mag News, 092118

NAR Report: Market Could Stabilize as More Homes are Listed

NAR Report: Market Could Stabilize as More Homes are Listed
National Association of REALTORS® | September 20, 2018

Existing-home sales remained mostly flat in August, bringing relief to markets following four consecutive months of decreases. Sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest helped to offset downturns in the South and West last month, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ existing-home sales report, released Thursday.

Existing-home sales—which are completed transaction for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—remained at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.34 million in August, the same as July. Sales are 1.5 percent below a year ago, NAR reports.

“Strong gains in the Northeast and a moderate uptick in the Midwest helped to balance out any losses in the South and West, halting months of downward momentum,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “With inventory stabilizing and modestly rising, buyers appear ready to step back into the market.”

Here’s a closer look at some of the findings:

  • Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types was $264,800—up 4.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Inventory: Total housing inventory at the end of August was at 1.92 million existing homes for sale, up from 1.87 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace.
  • Days on the market: Properties stayed on the market an average of 29 days in August, down from 30 days a year ago. Fifty-two percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month. “While inventory continues to show modest year over year gains, it is still far from a healthy level and new home construction is not keeping up to satisfy demand,” Yun says. “Homes continue to fly off the shelves with a majority of properties selling within a month, indicating that more inventory—especially moderately priced, entry-level homes—would propel sales.”
  • All-cash sales: All-cash sales comprised 20 percent of transactions in August, unchanged from a year ago. Investors tend to make up the biggest bulk of all-cash sales. They made up 13 percent of home sales in August, down from 15 percent a year ago.
  • Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 3 percent of sales in August, the lowest reading since NAR began tracking such data in October 2008. Broken out, 2 percent of sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.

“We are probably seeing a reaction to the uncertainty around how sustainable recent price increase will be in the near future,” says Ruben Gonzalez, chief economist at Keller Williams. “Nationally, we expect sales to continue to track slightly below last year’s levels as inventory starts to move upward.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Mag News, 092018

Top 6 Places to Live in America This Year

Top 6 Places to Live in America This Year
money.com | realtor.com | September 18, 2018

The suburbs dominated this year’s list of top places to live in the country. Money magazine teamed with realtor.com® to identify its top picks of towns with populations of 50,000 or more. They factored in more than 135,000 data points, including economic health, public school performance, local amenities, housing, cost of living, and more.

“For someone who’s starting from scratch, this is a list of areas with great quality of life, healthy housing markets where affordability is important, and great overall community,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist.

This year, Frisco, Texas, topped the list. The Dallas suburb also topped the U.S. Census Bureau list as America’s fastest-growing big city. The city has added an average of 37 new residents every day from 2016 to 2017. Its population has climbed 8.2 percent in one year and now totals 177,000.

Here are the cities that ranked top on this year’s list:

Frisco, Texas
Median home price: $449,900
Median household income : $117,642

Ashburn, Virginia
Median home price: $519,990
Median household income: $120,862

Carmel, Indiana
Median home price: $374,000
Median household income: $106,546

Elliott City, Maryland
Median home price: $558,950
Median household income: $121,019

Cary, North Carolina
Median home price: $389,000
Median household income: $94,617

Franklin, Tennessee
Median home price: $549,900
Median household income: $88,961

View the full list of top 50 at time.com.

Source: “The Best Places to Live in America, 2018: Revenge of the Burbs!” realtor.com® (Sept. 17, 2018) and “The Best Places to Live in America,” TIME (September 2018); REALTOR® Magazine, 091718