Mortgage Rates Hover at Yearly Lows

Mortgage Rates Hover at Yearly Lows
Article by Daily Real Estate News | August 01, 2014

FreddieMac-LogoMortgage rates have remained mostly steady in recent weeks, keeping borrowing costs near 2014 lows, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for mortgage rates for the week ending July 31:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.12 percent, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 4.13 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.39 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.23 percent, with an average 0.7 point, falling from last week’s 3.26 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.43 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.01 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 2.99 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.18 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.38 percent, with an average 0.4 point, dropping from last week’s 2.39 percent average. Last year at this time, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.64 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine, Daily Real Estate News (080114)

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Modest Gain in Builder Sentiment for Spring

Modest Gain in Builder Sentiment for Spring
Article by Daily Real Estate News; March 18, 2014

Builder confidence in the single-family new-home market ticked up by only one point in March as builders remain concerned about several challenges in the sector, according to the latest reading on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

“The March HMI mirrors last month’s sentiment, as builders continued to be affected by poor weather and difficulties in finding lots and labor,” says NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly.

Several factors are raising concerns about meeting demand for the spring buying season, says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

“These include a shortage of buildable lots and skilled workers, rising materials prices and an extremely low inventory of new homes for sale,” Crowe says.

NAHB’s index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months, as well as buyer traffic. Overall, builder sentiment in March was 47; any number below 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as poor than good.

Broken out, the component gauging current sales conditions was 52 in March; the component measuring sales expectations for the next six months was 53; and the component measuring buyer traffic rose two points to 33.

Source: National Association of Home Builders; Daily Real Estate News (031814) | Blog, In The News, distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

10220_1158837183099_6930637_nKENNETH BARGERS, REALTOR® | Bargers Solutions real estate : marketing
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Average Home Upsized Post-Recession

Average Home Upsized Post-Recession
Article by Daily Real Estate News; February 26, 2014

The average new-home size has increased more than 300 square feet since 2009, growing from 2,362 square feet in 2009 to 2,679 square feet in 2013, according to recently released Census Bureau data.

With that added square footage, new homes are adding more bedrooms, bathrooms, and amenities than they had in 2009.

Forty-eight percent of homes built in 2013 had four bedrooms compared to 34 percent with that number in 2009.

Thirty-five percent of homes in 2013 had three or more full baths compared to 23 percent in 2010.

Also, homes today are also accommodating more garage space. Twenty-two percent of homes built in 2013 had garage space to fit three cars or more compared to 16 percent in 2010.

The amenities that builders say they are most likely to include in new homes are a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, low-e windows, a laundry room, and a great room, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Amenities favored by many builders are granite countertops, double sinks, and a central island in kitchens, as well as nine-foot or higher ceilings, a front porch, exterior lighting, and a patio.

Bigger homes are also meaning higher prices. The average sales price rose from $248,000 in 2009 to $318,000 in 2013.

At the bottom of the list of features that builders will include in new homes in 2014, according to NAHB: laminate kitchen countertops, an outdoor kitchen, an outdoor fireplace, a sunroom, a two-story foyer, and a whirlpool in the master bathroom.

Source: National Association of Home Builders; Daily Real Estate News (022614) | Blog, In The News, distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Existing-Home Sales Drop in January While Prices Continue to Grow

Existing-Home Sales Drop in January While Prices Continue to Grow
Article by REALTOR® Mag Online (Daily Real Estate News); February 21, 2014

Existing-home sales fell in January to the lowest level in a year-and-a-half, but ongoing inventory shortages continue to lift prices in much of the U.S., according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million in January from 4.87 million in December, and are also 5.1 percent below the 4.87 million-unit pace in January 2013. Last month’s level of activity was the slowest since July 2012, when it stood at 4.59 million.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said unusual weather is playing a role. “Disruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns across the country are impacting a wide range of economic activity, and housing is no exception,” he said. “Some housing activity will be delayed until spring. At the same time, we can’t ignore the ongoing headwinds of tight credit, limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage interest rates. These issues will hinder home sales activity until the positive factors of job growth and new supply from higher housing starts begin to make an impact.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $188,900, up 10.7 percent from January 2013. Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 15 percent of January sales, compared with 14 percent in December and 24 percent in January 2013.

Eleven percent of January sales were foreclosures, and 4 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in January, while short sales were discounted 13 percent.

Total housing inventory at the end of January rose 2.2 percent year-over-year to 1.90 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.9-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.6 months in December. Unsold inventory is 7.3 percent above a year ago, when there was a 4.4-month supply. A supply of 6.0 to 6.5 months represents a rough balance between buyers and sellers.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 4.43 percent in January from 4.46 percent in December; the rate was 3.41 percent in January 2013.

NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., REALTORS® in Dayton, Ohio, said that in addition to disruptive weather, higher flood insurance rates are impacting the market in areas designated as flood zones, which account for roughly 8 to 9 percent of sales. “Thirty percent of transactions in flood zones were cancelled or delayed in January as a result of sharply higher flood insurance rates,” he said. “Since going into effect on October 1, 2013, about 40,000 home sales were either delayed or canceled because of increases and confusion over significantly higher flood insurance rates. The volume could accelerate as the market picks up this spring.”

Congress is considering legislation to halt new flood insurance rates so the Federal Emergency Management Agency can complete an affordability study and determine the full impact of the law.

The median time on market for all homes was 67 days in January, down from 72 days in December and 71 days on market in December 2013. Short sales were on the market for a median of 150 days in January, while foreclosures typically sold in 58 days and non-distressed homes took 66 days. Thirty-one percent of homes sold in January were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers accounted for 26 percent of purchases in January, down from 27 percent in December and 30 percent in January 2013. This is the lowest market share for first-time buyers since NAR began monthly measurement in October 2008; normally, they should be closer to 40 percent.

All-cash sales comprised 33 percent of transactions in January, up from 32 percent in December and 28 percent in January 2013. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 20 percent of homes in January, compared with 21 percent in December and 19 percent in January 2013. Seven out of 10 investors paid cash in January.

Single-family home sales fell 5.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.05 million in January from 4.30 million in December, and are 6.0 percent below the 4.31 million-unit pace in January 2013. The median existing single-family home price was $188,900 in January, up 10.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were unchanged at an annual rate of 570,000 units in January, and are 1.8 percent above a year ago. The median existing condo price was $188,700 in January, which is 13.0 percent above January 2013.

Existing-home sales by region:

  • Northeast: Declined 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 620,000 in January, and are also 3.1 percent below January 2013. The median price in the Northeast was $241,100, up 6.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Midwest: Dropped 7.1 percent in January to a pace of 1.04 million, and are 8.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $140,300, which is 7.6 percent higher than January 2013.
  • South: Declined 3.5 percent to an annual level of 1.95 million in January, but are 1.6 percent higher than January 2013. The median price in the South was $161,500, up 9.4 percent from a year ago.
  • West: Dropped 7.3 percent to a pace of 1.01 million in January, and are 13.7 percent below a year ago. Sales in the West are attenuated by tight inventory in many areas, pushing the median price to $273,500, up 14.6 percent from January 2013.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine Online; Daily Real Estate News (022114) | Blog, In The News, distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Home Sales in 2013 Rise to Strongest Level in 7 Years

Home Sales in 2013 Rise to Strongest Level in 7 Years
Article by REALTOR® Magazine, Daily Real Estate News; January 24, 2014

The housing market has been experiencing a “healthy recovery” over the past two years, with home sales last year rising to the highest level since 2006, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report.

“Existing-home sales have risen nearly 20 percent since 2011, with job growth, record low mortgage interest rates, and a large pent-up demand driving the market,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “We lost some momentum toward the end of 2013 from disappointing job growth and limited inventory, but we ended with a year that was close to normal given the size of our population.”

Existing-home sales rose 1 percent in December 2013 compared to November and reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.87 million.

Existing-home sales for all of 2013 reached 5.02 million sales, 9.1 percent higher than 2012, and the largest rise since 2006 when sales were at 6.48 million at the close of the housing boom, NAR reports.

Home prices were also on the rise in 2013, up 11.5 percent over 2012, with a median existing-home price of $197,100 last year compared to $176,800 in 2012. It was the strongest gain in home prices in a year since 2005, when home prices rose 12.4 percent, NAR reports.

NAR President Steve Brown says that with job growth expected this year, home sales should hold despite rising home prices and higher mortgage rates.

“The only factors holding us back from a stronger recovery are the ongoing issues of restrictive mortgage credit and constrained inventory,” Brown says. “With strict new mortgage rules in place, we will be monitoring the lending environment to ensure that financially qualified buyers can access the credit they need to purchase a home.”

Housing Recovery Regional Snapshot

Here’s a look at how existing-home sales fared in December and for the year across the country:

  • Northeast: Existing-home sales fell 1.5 percent in December but remain 3.2 percent higher than December 2012. Median price: $239,300, up 3.6 percent from year ago levels
  • Midwest: Existing-home sales dropped 4.3 percent in December and are 0.9 percent below year ago levels. Median price: $150,700, 7 percent higher than December 2012.
  • South: Existing-home sales rose 3 percent in December and are 4.6 percent higher than December 2012. Median price: $173,200, up 8.9 percent from a year ago.
  • West: Existing-home sales increased 4.8 percent, but are 10.7 percent below a year ago. Median price: $285,000, up 16.0 percent from December 2012.

By REALTOR® Magazine Daily News; Daily Real Estate News, 012414 | Blog, In The News, distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

After Central Air, Buyers Want Walk-In Closets

AFTER CENTRAL AIR, BUYERS WANT WALK-IN CLOSETS
Article by: Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine
Daily Real Estate News (March 13, 2013)

Recent home buyers who want a walk-in closet but didn’t get one in their home say they’re willing to spend $1,350 for one. That’s just one of the important findings in the 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences, released today by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Buyers who wanted new kitchen appliances but didn’t get them say they’re willing to spend $1,840 for them. Those who wanted air conditioning are willing to spend $2,520.

The report looks at 33 home feature preferences based on what a representative sample of U.S. households that bought between 2010 and 2012 say they value. Just over 2,000 households participated.

Among the findings: Households in the South tend to want the biggest and newest homes, and they like wooded lots. Those in the Northeast are most likely to like hardwood floors. First-time buyers and single women are big buyers of older homes. Households with children and move-up buyers like larger homes.

The report also contains these tidbits on buyer preferences:

  • Among buyers 55 and older, 42 percent want a single-level home, compared to just 11 percent of buyers under age 35. Single women also tend to place importance on single-level homes.
  • Single men want finished basements.
  • Single men and married couples place importance on new kitchen appliances.
  • Among all 33 home features in the survey, central air conditioning is the most important to the most buyers; 65 percent consider this very important.
  • The next most important feature is a walk-in closet in the master bedroom; 39 percent considered this very important.
  • Also important — buying a home that’s cable-, satellite TV-, or Internet-ready.
  • Thirty-two percent of buyers say they’re willing to pay a median of $5,420 more for a residence that also has waterfront property, and 40 percent say they’re willing to pay a median of $5,020 more for a home that’s less than five years old.

Read more on the report…

Source: Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine; Daily Real Estate News (March 13, 2013) | Blog, In The News, distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Construction Job Gains a Sign of Positive Growth

CONSTRUCTION JOB GAINS A SIGN OF POSITIVE GROWTH
Article by: Melissa Kandel, REALTOR® Magazine
Daily Real Estate News (March 11, 2013)

On March 8, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its February Employment Report and the numbers are promising. “We’re seeing the very early fruits of recovery,” explains Dr. Peter Muoio, head of the research division of online real estate marketplace Auction.com.

While commercial construction job growth is most impressive—a 3.1 percent seasonally-adjusted gain over year-ago figures and an addition of 15,500 jobs in the past 3 months—residential construction employment isn’t lagging too far behind. The sector was up 0.6 percent over the last 3 months, reflecting the 3,300 jobs added over that time.

“When we compare the residential numbers in a year-over-year basis, for the first time we’re seeing that it is marginally positive, with a 0.1 percent gain,” Muoio says.

The senior economist explained that the expansion comes from growth in the multi-family and single-family home construction markets from numbers reported in February 2012. According to Muoio, multi-family home building has made significant strides since then and single-family home construction—typically the bigger portion of the sector—is showing “glimmerings of growth.”

With renewed life for the home building industry, Muoio is confident this development will boost related industries, such as home furnishing and home manufacturing. Their growth may serve to reinforce the idea that the housing sector is gaining speed.

“You buy a house and then you need to furnish it, get the draperies and curtains, and do some painting,” Muoio says.

Source: Article by Melissa Kandel, REALTOR® Magazine; Daily Real Estate News (March 11, 2013) | Blog, In The News, distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee