Single Women Prop Up First-Time Buyer Segment

Single Women Prop Up First-Time Buyer Segment
National Association of REALTORS® | October 29, 2018

House 1074Lower affordability and continued inventory crunches aren’t sidelining single women home buyers, who, for the second consecutive year, account for 18 percent of all buyers, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Single women are the second most common buyer type behind married couples (63 percent), according to NAR’s report. Single men are the third most common buyer type, accounting for half the number of their female counterparts at 9 percent. However, single men tend to purchase pricier homes than single women—a median of $215,000 compared to $189,000, respectively.

Single women buyers, many of whom are first-timers, are proving a powerful force in the housing market. However, first-time buyers, who once dominated the buying pool, are a shrinking segment. The share of first-time buyers fell to a three-year low this year, according to NAR’s report. First-time buyers comprised 33 percent of the housing market this year, down from 34 percent last year. The number of first-time buyers has not gone above 40 percent since the first-time home buyer tax credit ended in 2010, NAR notes.

“With the lower end of the housing market—smaller, moderately priced homes—seeing the worst of the inventory shortage, first-time home buyers who want to enter the market are having difficulty finding a home they can afford,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Low inventory, rising interest rates, and student loan debt are all factors contributing to the suppression of first-time home buyers.”

However, Yun notes that existing-home sales data has shown in recent months that inventory is rising slowly on a year-over-year basis. That may “encourage more would-be buyers who were previously convinced they could not find a home to enter the market,” Yun says.

Source: “2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report,” National Association of REALTORS® (Oct. 29, 2018); REALTOR® Mag News 102918

Mortgage Rates Are Back on the Rise

Mortgage Rates Are Back on the Rise
Freddie Mac | October 26, 2018

Borrowers were faced with rising mortgage rates again this week, after a slight pause from increases the week before.

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“Despite volatility in the stock market, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage inched forward just 1 basis point to 4.86 percent this week,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “We expect rates to continue to rise, which will put downward pressure on homebuying activity. While higher borrowing costs will keep some people out of the market, buyers with more flexibility could take advantage of the decreased competition.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Oct. 25, 2018:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.86 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising slightly from last week’s 4.85 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.94 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.29 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 4.26 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.25 percent.

5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 4.14 percent, with an average 0.3 point, climbing from last week’s 4.10 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.21 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Mag News 102618

Bump in Contract Signings Points to Future Housing Gains

Bump in Contract Signings Points to Future Housing Gains
National Association of REALTORS® | October 25, 2018

Pending home sales increased slightly in September, with significant gains in the West and Midwest offsetting more modest growth in other regions, the National Association of REALTORS® reports. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking measure based on contract signings, shows signings inched up 0.5 percent nationwide to a reading of 104.6 in September. But on a year-over-year basis, contract signings have dropped 1 percent—marking the ninth consecutive month of annual decreases.

1810_Septermber-PHSNAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the housing market is stabilizing. “This shows that buyers are out there on the sidelines, waiting to jump in once more inventory becomes available and the price is right,” he says.

Lower affordability and a lack of moderately priced homes on the market are the two main factors putting a strain on sales, Yun says. Still, affordability is much more favorable when compared to the past few decades. “When compared to the year 2000—when the housing market was considered very healthy and home sales figures were roughly equivalent—the affordability conditions were much lower compared to now,” Yun says. “So even though affordability has been falling recently, the demand for housing should remain steady.”

Yun also believes the housing market will soon reflect the overall health of the economy. “The general condition of the economy is excellent, but it simply has not lifted home sales this year,” Yun says. “Home prices are still rising, so people who are purchasing are still seeing wealth gains.”

Many markets are seeing an increase in inventories, which is opening up choices for those who are looking to buy. Markets such as Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.; Columbus, Ohio; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.; San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.; and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., all saw some of the largest increase in active listings in September compared to a year ago, according to data from realtor.com®.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Mag News 102518

10 Off-Beat Cities Named Best Places to Retire

10 Off-Beat Cities Named Best Places to Retire
U.S. News & World Report | REALTOR® Mag News | October 22, 2018

Retirees may want to head to Lancaster, Pa. The town earned the top spot in U.S. News & World Report’s list of 2019 Best Places to Retire in the U.S. Lancaster’s housing affordability and its residents’ high rank for their happiness, helped it to bump Sarasota, Fla., from the number one position this year.

U.S. News & World Report evaluated the country’s 100 largest metro areas to see how well they met retirees’ expectations, such as in housing affordability, desirability, health care, and overall happiness. “Deciding where to retire is a big decision,” says Emily Brandon, senior editor for retirement. “The Best Places to Retire offers a way for future retirees to make a more informed decision based on what matters the most to them. Whether that be housing affordability, access to quality hospitals, or the desirability of a place in general, the rankings offer a comprehensive list that can point people in the best direction for their needs.”

This year’s top 10 best places to retire are:

  1. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  2. Fort Myers, Florida
  3. Sarasota, Florida
  4. Austin, Texas
  5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  6. Grand Rapids, Michigan
  7. Nashville, Tennessee
  8. San Antonio/Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  9. Lakeland, Florida

Source: “100 Best Places to Retire in the USA,” U.S. News & World Report (October 2018); REALTOR® Mag News 102218

Borrowers Finally See Some Relief With Mortgage Rates

Borrowers Finally See Some Relief With Mortgage Rates
Freddie Mac | October 19, 2018

Following weeks of gradual increases, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped slightly this week, possibly offering a slight window of opportunity at lower borrowing costs to some would-be buyers.

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“The modest decline in mortgage rates is a welcome respite from the rapid increase in rates the last few weeks,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “While the housing market has clearly softened in reaction to the rise in mortgage rates, the economy and consumer sentiment remains very robust and that will sustain purchase demand, particularly in affordable markets and neighborhoods.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages in mortgage rates for the week ending Oct. 18:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.85 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 4.90 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.88 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.26 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 4.29 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.19 percent.

5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 4.10 percent, with an average 0.3 point, rising from last week’s 4.07 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.17 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Mag News 101918

Mortgage Rates Jump to 7-Year High

Mortgage Rates Jump to 7-Year High
Freddie Mac | October 12, 2018

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hasn’t averaged this high since 2011, as it inches closer to the 5 percent threshold.

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“Rising rates paired with high and escalating home prices is putting downward pressure on purchase demand,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “While the monthly payment remains affordable due to the still low mortgage rate environment, the primary hurdle for many borrowers today is the down payment and that is the reason home sales have decreased in many high-priced markets.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Oct. 11:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.90 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 4.71 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.91 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.29 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 4.15 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.21 percent.

5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 4.07 percent, with an average 0.3 point, rising from last week’s 4.01 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.16 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac; REALTOR® Mag News

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