Nationally: Sales Struggle to Overcome Housing Shortages

Nationally: Sales Struggle to Overcome Housing Shortages
National Association of REALTORS®
article by Daily Real Estate News | May 24, 2018

Blame it on the low inventory of available property: Total existing-home sales failed to gain traction in April, according to the National Association of REALTORS® latest housing report, released Thursday.

Total existing-home sales—which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—decreased 2.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in April. Sales are now 1.4 percent below a year ago. This also marks the second consecutive month sales have fallen on an annual basis.

Regional Breakdown  The following is a breakdown of existing-home sales across the country in April:

  • Northeast: existing-home sales dropped 4.4 percent to an annual rate of 650,000, and are now 11 percent below a year ago. Median price: $257,200—2.8 percent higher than a year ago.
  • Midwest: existing-home sales were unchanged month-over-month at an annual rate of 1.29 million in April, and are 3 percent below a year ago. Median price: $202,100—up 4.6 percent from a year ago.
  • South: existing-home sales dropped 2.9 percent to an annual rate of 2.33 million in April, but are still 2.2 percent above a year ago. Median price: $227,600—up 3.9 percent from a year ago.
  • West: existing-home sales dropped 3.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.19 million in April and are 0.8 percent below a year ago. Median price: $382,100—up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

“The root cause of the underperforming sales activity in much of the country so far this year continues to be the utter lack of available listings on the market to meet the strong demand for buying a home,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “REALTORS® say the healthy economy and job market are keeping buyers in the market for now even as they face rising mortgage rates. However, inventory shortages are even worse than in recent years, and home prices keep climbing above what many home shoppers are able to afford.”

For the inventory that is out there, homes are selling fast. Strong buyer demand mixed with low inventory levels are prompting homes to sell at a record pace.

Here’s a closer look at some of the key indicators from NAR’s latest housing report:

Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types in April was $257,900, up 5.3 percent from a year ago.

Inventories: Total housing inventory at the end of April rose 9.8 percent to 1.80 million existing homes available for sale. Inventories are still 6.3 percent lower than a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a four-month supply at the current sales pace.

Days on the market: Properties stayed on the market an average of 26 days in April, down from 29 days a year ago. Fifty-seven percent of homes sold in April were on the market for less than a month.

“What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid price,” Yun says. “Since NAR began tracking this data in May 2011, the median days a listing was on the market was at an all-time low in April, and the share of homes sold in less than a month was at an all-time high.”

All-cash sales: All-cash transactions comprised 21 percent of sales in April, unchanged from a year ago. Individual investors account for the biggest bulk of cash sales. Investors purchased 15 percent of homes in April, also unchanged from a year ago.

Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales made up just 3.5 percent of sales in April, the lowest since NAR began tracking such data in October 2008. That is also down from 5 percent a year ago. Broken out, 3 percent of April sales were foreclosures and 0.5 percent were short sales.

April-EHS

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 052418

Fannie: Housing Confidence Hits Record High

Fannie: Housing Confidence Hits Record High
Fannie Mae   article by Daily Real Estate News | May 8, 2018

Fannie Mae LogoOptimism for selling a home has helped propel a housing confidence index by Fannie Mae to an all-time high last month. Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index rose 3.4 points in April to a record 91.7. Last month’s survey posted increases in five of six components that set out to measure Americans’ perceptions of the housing market. Consumers were also upbeat about home prices, job security, and their own personal finances.

“The latest HPSI reading edged up to a new survey high, showing that consumer attitudes remain resilient going into the spring/summer buying season,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “High home prices and good economic conditions helped push the share of Americans who think it’s a good time to sell to a fresh record high. However, the upward trend in the good-time-to-sell share seen since last spring has done little to release more for-sale inventory. The tightest supply in decades, combined with rising mortgage rates from historically low levels, will likely remain a hurdle for mobility and a persistent headwind for home sales.”

A separate survey released Monday by the polling firm Gallup showed that the majority of U.S. adults—64 percent—continue to believe home prices in their local area will increase over the next year, the highest percentage since before the housing market crisis and the Great Recession in the mid-2000s.

Home shoppers do appear to be getting frustrated. The only component of Fannie Mae’s index that saw a decrease last month was the number of consumers who said now is a good to buy, which dropped three percentage points compared to March.

Here’s a closer look at some of the findings from Fannie Mae’s April Home Purchase Sentiment Index, based on the responses of about 1,000 consumers:

  • 29%: The net share of Americans who say it’s a good time to buy a home, a 3 percentage point drop from last month.
  • 45%: The net share of those who say it’s a good time to sell, a 6 percentage point month-over-month increase and new survey high.
  • 49%: The net share of Americans who say home prices will go up, a 7 percentage point month-over-month increase.
  • 76%: The net share of consumers who say they are not concerned about losing their job, up 5 percentage points from March.
  • 18%: The net share who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago, up 1 percentage point from last month.

Source: Fannie Mae and “Americans Haven’t Been This Optimistic About House Prices Since Just Before the Crash,” MarketWatch (May 7, 2018); Daily Real Estate News 050818

Greater Nashville April Home Sales Bring Increases in Sales and Inventory

Greater Nashville April Home Sales Bring Increases in Sales and Inventory
Press Release by Greater Nashville REALTORS® | April 7, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 7, 2018) – There were 3,419 home closings reported for the month of April, according to figures provided by Greater Nashville REALTORS®. This represents an increase of 2.8 percent from the 3,325 closings reported for April 2017.

Year-to-date closings total 11,629. That is a .3 percent decrease compared to the 11,663 closings reported through April 2017.

“Home sales for the second quarter started with the types of positive gains expected for this time of the year,” said Sher Powers, Greater Nashville REALTORS® President. “The most encouraging gain is in inventory, particularly in the residential and condominium classes.

“While demand has remained high, the supply struggle has had a mild impact on our market,” said Powers. “The addition of inventory from new home construction and current homeowners placing their homes on the market is welcomed by potential buyers and will provide a modicum of relief to the supply-demand tension.”

There were 3,430 sales pending at the end of the month, compared to the 3,540 pending sales at this time last year. The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 32 days.

The median residential price for a single-family home during April was $295,000 and for a condominium it was $222,750. This compares with last year’s median residential and condominium prices of $275,000 and $195,255, respectively.

Inventory at the end of April was 8,876, up from 8,481 in 2017.

“A growing supply of homes in all price ranges is a must for a healthy and balanced market,” said Powers. “It provides housing opportunities and options for immediate buyer needs, which is important currently. But, with announcements like the relocation of the AllianceBernstein headquarters to Nashville later this year, a solid inventory is also necessary to provide a depth of options for future buyers.”

### 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 050718

Nationally: Despite Buyer Demand, Contract Signings Fall

Nationally: Despite Buyer Demand, Contract Signings Fall
National Association of REALTORS article by Daily Real Estate News | April 30, 2018

Pending home sales picked up the pace in March, but ongoing issues related to low inventory kept contract activity below year-ago levels, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Monday. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, inched up 0.4 percent to a reading of 107.6 in March. Despite the uptick, overall activity was down on an annualized basis for the third consecutive month.

Mar18_PHS“Healthy economic conditions are creating considerable demand for purchasing a home, but not all buyers are able to sign contracts because of the lack of choices in inventory,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Steady price growth and the swift pace with which listings are coming off the market are proof that more supply is needed to fully satisfy demand. What continues to hold back sales is the fact that prospective buyers are increasingly having difficulty finding an affordable home to buy.”

Regionally, pending home sales dropped by the largest amount in the Northeast, falling 5.6 percent month over month in March and 8.1 percent year over year. Yun says multiple winter storms and colder than usual weather contributed to the decrease. Meanwhile, contract signings rose by 2.4 percent in the Midwest but are 6 percent below a year ago, and they were up by 2.5 percent in the South but are just 0.3 percent higher than a year ago. Pending home sales fell in the West by 1.1 percent month over month and are now 2.2 percent below a year ago.

“Much of the country is enjoying a thriving job market, but buying a home is becoming more expensive,” Yun says. “That is why it is an absolute necessity for there to be a large increase in new and existing homes available for sale in the coming months to moderate home price growth. Otherwise, sales will remain stuck in this holding pattern, and a growing share of would-be buyers—especially first-time buyers—will be left on the sidelines.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; Daily Real Estate News 043018

Mortgage Rates Surge to 4-Year High

Mortgage Rates Surge to 4-Year High
Freddie Mac   article by Daily Real Estate News | April 27, 2018

Mortgage rates continued their climb this week, reaching their highest level since 2013.

rates042718

“Higher Treasury yields, driven by rising commodity prices, more Treasury issuances, and the steady stream of solid economic news are behind the uptick in rates over the past week,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Despite the increase in borrowing costs, demand for home purchase credit remains solid.” The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage applications were up 11 percent from a year ago.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending April 26:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.58 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 4.47 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.03 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.02 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s average of 3.94 percent. A year ago, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.27 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.74 percent, with an average 0.3 point, increasing from last week’s 3.67 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.12 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 042718

 

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