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

Mortgage Rates Barely Stirred This Week

Mortgage Rates Barely Stirred This Week
Freddie Mac   article by Daily Real Estate News | May 11, 2018

Mortgage rates have mostly taken a pause after a series of rises in April. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.55 percent last week, unchanged from a week ago.

“The minimal movement of mortgage rates in these last three weeks reflects the current economic nirvana of a tight labor market, solid economic growth, and restrained inflation,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “As we head into late spring, the demand for purchase credit remains rock solid, which should set us up for another robust summer home sales season.”

Still, mortgage rates are up 50 basis points from a year ago, Khater notes. This has “put pressure on the budgets of some home shoppers” as “weak inventory levels are what’s keeping the housing market from a stronger sales pace.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending May 10:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.55 percent, with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from a week ago. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.05 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.01 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 4.03 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.29 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.77 percent, with an average 0.3 point, rising from last week’s 3.69 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.14 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 051118

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

 

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.

rates041318

“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