Mortgage Rates Drop Again This Week

Mortgage Rates Drop Again This Week
Freddie Mac | June 22, 2018

Borrowers found lower mortgage rates again this week, marking the third decrease in rates in the past four weeks.

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“After a sharp run-up in the early part of 2018, rates have stabilized over the last three months, with only a modest uptick since March,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “However, existing-home sales have hit a wall, declining in six of the last nine months on a year-over-year basis.”

The National Association of REALTORS® reported earlier this week that existing-home sales—completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—dropped 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.43 million in May. Sales are now 3 percent lower than a year ago. Home prices also reached a new all-time high last month—a median of $264,800.

“Persistently low supply levels, and not this year’s climb in mortgage rates, are handcuffing sales—especially at the lower end of the market,” Khater says. “Home shoppers can’t buy inventory that doesn’t exist.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending June 21:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.57 percent, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 4.62 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.90 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.04 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 4.07 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.17 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.83 percent, with an average 0.3 point, unchanged from a week ago. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.14 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine 062218

Nationally: New-Home Construction Surges to Highest Level in Decade

Nationally: New-Home Construction Surges to Highest Level in Decade
National Association of Home Builders | June 20, 2018

House 1052More new homes entered the pipeline in May than any other month since the end of the Great Recession. Total housing starts increased 5 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate pace of 1.35 million units, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That marks the highest housing starts since July 2007.

Broken out, single-family starts rose 3.9 percent to 939,000 units in May—the second-highest reading since the Great Recession. The multifamily sector increased 7.5 percent to 414,000 units. Single-family and multifamily production are now 9.8 percent and 13.6 percent higher, respectively, than a year ago.

“New-home construction activity soared to its highest level in over a decade, which is fantastic news as more housing inventory will be available as the year proceeds,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®. “Moreover, construction and real estate industry jobs are being created and boosting the economy. [As a result,] GDP growth of 4 percent to 5 percent is possible in the second quarter.”

The Midwest saw the biggest jump in housing production last month, with combined single-family and multifamily housing starts rising 62.2 percent. Meanwhile, starts fell 0.9 percent in the South, by 4.1 percent in the West, and by 15 percent in the Northeast.

“The Midwest region experienced the biggest gain and hence the region will remain more affordable,” Yun notes. “The more unaffordable West region will continue to experience an intense housing shortage, as both housing permits and housing starts fell in that region. For the country as a whole, an additional 20 percent to 25 percent gain in home construction is needed to make the market more balanced.”

Housing starts will likely hit a snag in the coming weeks. Permits—a gauge of future activity—fell 4.6 percent in May to 1.3 million units. The biggest drop in permits was in the multifamily sector, which saw permits tumble 8.7 percent to 457,000. Single-family permits dropped 2.2 percent to 844,000.

“Ongoing job creation, positive demographics, and tight existing home inventory should spur more single-family production in the months ahead,” says Robert Dietz, the National Association of Home Builders’ chief economist. “However, the softening of single-family permits is consistent with our reports showing that builders are concerned over mounting construction costs, including the highly elevated prices of softwood lumber.”

Source: National Association of Home Builders; REALTOR® Mag Online, 062018

Mortgage Rates Near Highest Averages of Year

Mortgage Rates Near Highest Averages of Year
Freddie Mac article by Daily Real Estate News | June 15, 2018

Mortgage rates were back on the rise this week, increasing to their second highest level this year. The move follows the Federal Reserve’s vote on Wednesday to raise its federal fund rate by 25 basis points.

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The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage followed suit, rising eight basis points to average 4.62 percent during the week, Freddie Mac reports.

“The good news is that the impact on consumer budgets will be smaller than past rate hike cycles,” says Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sam Khater. “That is because a much smaller segment of mortgage loans in today’s market are pegged to short-term rate movements. The adjustable rate mortgage share of outstanding loans is a lot smaller now—8 percent versus 31 percent—than during the Fed’s last round of tightening between 2004 and 2006. Still, inflation continues to firm and borrowing costs are inching higher. Although wages are slowly growing, stronger gains would certainly go a long way in helping consumers offset these increases in prices and rates.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending June 14:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.62 percent, with an average 0.4 point, up from last week’s 4.54 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.91 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.07 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 4.01 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.18 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.83 percent, with an average 0.3 point, rising from last week’s 3.74 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.15 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 061518

Consumer Sentiment Breaks Record—Again

Consumer Sentiment Breaks Record—Again
Fannie Mae   article by Daily Real Estate News | June 11, 2018

House 1049For the second consecutive month, Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index reached an all-time survey high in May. But as home prices rise, consumer attitudes about buying and selling a home are diverging even more.

The net share of survey respondents who say now is a good to sell rose to 46 percent and is now up 14 percentage points year over year. Meanwhile, the net share who say now is a good time to buy fell to 28 percent and has shown little improvement over the past year, Fannie Mae notes.

The Home Purchase Sentiment Index “edged up to another survey high in May, bolstered in part by a fresh record high in the net share of consumers who say it’s a good time to sell a home,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “However, the perception of high home prices that underlies this optimism cuts both ways, boosting not only the good-time-to-sell sentiment but also the view that it’s a bad time to buy, and presents a potential dilemma to repeat buyers.”

Fannie’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index is up 6.1 points compared to last year. In May, it posted a reading of 92.3.

Here’s a closer look at other results in the May survey (based on 1,000 respondents):

  • 49 percent: The net share of Americans who say home prices will rise in the next 12 months, unchanged from the month prior.
  • 78 percent: The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job, rising 2 percentage points month over month to reach a new survey high.
  • 21 percent: The net share of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago, up 3 percentage points month over month to reach a new survey high.

Source: Fannie Mae; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 061118

Amazon HQ2 Finalists Ranked on Housing

Amazon HQ2 Finalists Ranked on Housing
ATTOM Data Solutions   article by Daily Real Estate News | May 31, 2018

Amazon plans to announce its second headquarters location later this summer, and a handful of finalist cities are eagerly awaiting the decision. Amazon declared 20 finalists in the running for its HQ2 site. Cities are making their best offers to the online retail giant. Amazon promises to add up to 50,000 new high-paying jobs and invest $5 billion in the local economy to the chosen host city. Amazon will continue to maintain its headquarters in Seattle as well.

Ahead of the announcement, ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate research firm, ranked 19 of the U.S. finalists (excluding Toronto). The finalists were ranked on the following seven factors: median home prices, five-year home price appreciation, affordability, average school test scores, crime rates, property tax rate, and environmental hazard risk.

The HQ2 finalist that emerged on top of ATTOM Data Solutions’ rankings: Raleigh, N.C. The area got a boost from its relatively affordable homes, above-average school scores, and below-average crime rates and property taxes.

“It’s striking that 16 out of the 19 markets have median home prices that are lower than the city of Seattle, which our data shows was $585,000 at the end of Q4 2017,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “The only exceptions are Boston, Los Angeles, and New York, indicating that Amazon is interested in markets that have relatively affordable housing for employees. At the end of the day, two of the most important factors for the decision will be finding a market with an ample supply of workers with the skills Amazon is looking for along with an ample supply of relatively affordable housing for those workers to live in. A market like Raleigh certainly has the affordable housing, and it also has an ample supply of skilled workers thanks to the several top-notch universities in the vicinity.”

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Source: “Amazon HQ2 Finalists Ranked by Housing Market Health,” ATTOM Data Solutions (May 30, 2018); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 053118

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.

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

Rates Hit Highest Level in 7 Years

Rates Hit Highest Level in 7 Years
Freddie Mac   article by Daily Real Estate News | May 18, 2018

Mortgage rates reversed course and soared to the highest averages in seven years, Freddie Mac reports. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.61 percent this week, which matches the highest level since May 19, 2011.

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“Healthy consumer spending and higher commodity prices spooked the bond markets and led to higher mortgage rates over the past week,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Not only are buyers facing higher borrowing costs, gas prices are currently at four-year highs just as we enter the important peak home sales season. While this year’s higher mortgage rates have not caused much of a ripple in the strong demand levels of buying a home seen in most markets, inflationary pressures and the prospect of rates approaching 5 percent could begin to hit the psyche of some prospective buyers.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending May 17:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.61 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 4.55 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.02 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.08 percent, with an average 0.4 point, increasing from last week’s 4.01 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.27 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.82 percent, with an average 0.3 point, rising from last week’s 3.77 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.13 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 051818