Mortgage rates average 4.14% | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average mortgage rates dropping for the second consecutive week.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.14 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending March 30, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 4.23 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.71 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.39 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.44 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.98 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.18 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.24 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.90 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The 10-year Treasury yield remained relatively flat this week. The 30-year mortgage rate fell 9 basis points to 4.14 percent, another significant week-over-week decline. Despite recent mortgage rate fluctuation, new home sales far exceeded expectations in February and jumped 6.1 percent to an annualized rate of 592,000.”

U.S. pending home sales surge to ten-month high | Bedford Real Estate

Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes jumped to a 10-month high in February, pointing to robust demand for housing ahead of the busy spring selling season.

The report on Wednesday from the National Association of Realtors suggested higher home prices and mortgage rates were having little impact on the housing market for now, underscoring the economy’s resilience despite an apparent slowdown in growth in the first quarter.

The NAR said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, surged 5.5 percent to 112.3. That was the highest reading since April and the second best showing since May 2006.

“This bodes well for home sales this spring,” said Misa Batcheller, an economic analyst at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Contract signing last month was likely boosted by unseasonably warm temperatures. The gains reversed January’s 2.8 percent drop. Pending home contracts become sales after a month or two, and last month’s surge implied a pickup in home resales after they tumbled 3.7 percent in February.

Economists had forecast pending home sales rising 2.4 percent last month. Pending home sales increased 2.6 percent from a year ago.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data as investors assessed comments from Federal Reserve officials on further interest rate increases this year. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, one of the U.S. central bank’s most consistent supporters of low interest rates, said he supported additional monetary policy tightening this year.

The Fed raised its benchmark overnight interest rate by a quarter percentage point earlier this month and has forecast two more rate hikes this year. The dollar was trading higher against a basket of currencies while U.S. stocks were mixed. U.S. government bond prices rose.

TIGHT INVENTORIES

Demand for housing is being driven by a strong labor market, which is generating wage increases, as it nears full employment. Sales activity, however, remains constrained by tight inventories, which are driving up home prices.

“The good news is that warm winter weather has led to a surge in construction that will hopefully result in a bloom of new homes for sale this spring,” said Joseph Kirchner, senior economist at realtor.com.

A report on Tuesday showed home prices increased 5.7 percent in January on a year-on-year basis. The NAR expects sales of previously owned homes to increase 2.3 percent this year to around 5.57 million units.

Existing homes sales increased 3.8 percent last year. Housing market strength suggests an apparent sharp slowdown in economic growth early in the first quarter is likely temporary.

The Atlanta Fed is forecasting gross domestic product increasing at a 1.0 percent annualized pace in the first quarter. The economy grew at a 1.9 percent rate in the final three months of 2016.

Given labor market strength, economists expect only a modest impact from higher mortgage rates. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is currently at 4.23 percent, below a more than 2-1/2-year high of 4.32 percent hit in December.

In a separate report on Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association said applications for home purchase loans rose 1.2 percent last week from the prior week. It was the fourth increase in the past five weeks.

 

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http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-idUSKBN1701XS

Home Prices in the First Month of 2017 | Bedford Corners Real Estate

S&P Dow Jones Indices released the Home Price Index for January 2017 today. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 7.9%, slower than the 9.2% increase in December. House prices dropped to the lowest level in the first month of 2012. Five years later, house prices surpassed the pre-recession peak of 2006 and hit the highest level historically.

Along with the increases in national home prices, local home prices also increased in varying degrees in January. Figure 2 shows the annual growth rate of home prices for 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas.

Most of the 20 metro areas had positive home price appreciation, except Cleveland. Cleveland was the only one that had negative home price appreciation (-0.8%). The positive home price appreciation ranged from 5.2% to 22.6%. Seattle had the highest home price appreciation at 22.6%, followed by Chicago (16.5%) and Denver (14%). Miami had the lowest positive growth at 5.2%. Fifteen out of the 20 metro areas had the same or higher home price appreciation than the national level of 7.9%.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/03/home-prices-in-the-first-month-of-2017/

Apartment and Condominium Market Momentum Continues | Pound Ridge Real Estate

The National Association of Home Builders’ Multifamily Production Index (MPI) increased two points to 55 in the fourth quarter of 2016. For five straight years, the MPI has been at or above 50, which indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse (Figure 1).

Figure 1: NAHB Multifamily Production Index (MPI) and Multifamily Starts (in thousands)

The MPI is a composite measure of three key segments of the multifamily housing market: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and “for-sale” units, or condominiums. In the fourth quarter, low-rent units remained unchanged at 54 while market-rate rental units rose one point to 58 and for-sale units increased three points to 53.

The Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures the multifamily housing industry’s perception of vacancies, remained unchanged at 42, with lower numbers indicating fewer vacancies (Figure 2).

Figure 2: NAHB Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI) and 5+ Rental Vacancy Rate

After peaking at 70 in the second quarter of 2009, the MVI improved consistently through 2010 and has been fairly stable since 2011. Historically, the MVI has shown to be a leading indicator of Census multifamily vacancy rates, which is displayed in Figure 2 as well.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/02/apartment-and-condominium-market-momentum-continues/

New Home Sales Post Slight Increase | Armonk Real Estate

New home sales contracts expanded by 3.7% in January over a soft December reading, according to estimates from the joint data release of HUD and the Census Bureau. Despite the gain, which places the January pace of sales 5.5% higher than a year ago, the current seasonally adjusted annual rate of 555,000 is slightly below the positive growth trend that has been in place over the last few years.

Inventory growth continued in January. After hovering near 240,000 for most of 2016, inventory increased to 247,000 in October, 256,000 in December and 265,000 in January. The current months’ supply number stands at 5.7, higher than the existing market (3.6) estimate.

Solid builder confidence and ongoing tight inventory conditions suggest continued growth for single-family construction in the months ahead. An open question is pricing, given rising construction prices and increasing interest rates. New homes will need to be competitively priced, even as prices for existing homes continue to grow. For this reason, we continue to expect a broadening of the new home inventory base and slight declines in median new home size.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/02/new-home-sales-post-slight-increase/

Mortgage rates average 4.23% | Chappaqua Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average mortgage rates dropping after two consecutive weeks of increases.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.23 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending March 23, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 4.30 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.71 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.44 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.50 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.96 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.24 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.28 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.89 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The 10-year Treasury yield fell about 10 basis points this week. The 30-year mortgage rate moved with Treasury yields and dropped 7 basis points to 4.23 percent. This marks the greatest week-over-week decline for the 30-year mortgage rate in over two months, a stark contrast from last week’s jump following the FOMC announcement.”

Rental Apartment Absorption Flat While Condominium Absorption Jumps | Mt Kisco Real Estate

The US Census Bureau, in collaboration with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, releases data on completions and absorption rates for multifamily buildings with at least 5 apartments. The most recent release shows that completions of nonsubsidized, unfurnished, rental apartments amounted to 73,800 in the third quarter of 2016. This is 11,700 more than the second quarter of 2016, but 9,800 fewer than the third quarter of 2015 (Figure 1).

The absorption rate (apartments rented within 3 months of completion) for rental apartments completed in the third quarter of 2016 stood at 61 percent. This is 4 percentage points higher than the second quarter of 2016 (57 percent), but essentially unchanged compared to the rate from the third quarter of 2015 (60 percent) (Figure 1).

The release also revealed that the median asking rent of apartments completed in the third quarter of 2016 was $1,507. This is a significant increase compared to the median asking rent from the third quarter of 2015: $1,346.

In the third quarter of 2016, condominium completions rose considerably to 6,100, which is 2,800 units more than in the second quarter of 2016 and 1,800 higher than completions in the third quarter of 2015. The condominium absorption rate also posted an increase to 74 percent, which is 10 percentage points higher than the second quarter of 2016 and 23 percentage points higher compared to the third quarter of 2015 (Figure 2).

Figure 3 displays subsidized and tax credit unit completions as a share of total apartment completions. In the third quarter of 2016, subsidized or tax credit units represented approximately 6 percent (5,200 units) of total apartment completions. This is about the same share seen in the second quarter of 2016 (7 percent). It important to note that starting in 2010, the share of these units completed surged, but started to decrease significantly starting in 2014.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/03/rental-apartment-absorption-flat-while-condominium-absorption-jumps/

Mortgage rates average 4.15% | North Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average mortgage rates slightly falling for the second consecutive week.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.15 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending Feb. 16, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 4.17 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.65 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.35 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.39 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.95 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.18 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.21 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.85 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“For the last 46 years, the 30-year mortgage rate has been almost perfectly correlated with the yield on the 10-year Treasury, but not this year. From Dec. 29, 2016, through today, the 30-year mortgage rate fell 17 basis points to this week’s reading of 4.15 percent. In contrast, the 10-year Treasury yield began and ended the same period at 2.49 percent. While we expect mortgage rates to fall into line with Treasury yields shortly, this just may be a year full of surprises.”

Residential Construction Employment Solid | Cross River Real Estate

The count of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector remained elevated in November, as residential construction employment continues to grow.

According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) came in at 184,000 in November. The cycle high was 225,000 set in July.

The open position rate (job openings as a percent of total employment) for November was 2.7%. On a smoothed twelve-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector increased to 2.8%, setting a cycle high and exceeding the peak twelve-month moving average rate established prior to the recession.

The overall trend for open construction jobs has been increasing since the end of the Great Recession. This is consistent with survey data indicating that access to labor remains a top business challenge for builders.

The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a twelve-month moving average basis, remained steady at 4.9% in November. The twelve-month moving average for layoffs was also steady (2.6%), remaining in a range set last Fall. Quits rose to 2.4% in November, consistent with a tight labor market.

Monthly employment data for December 2016 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that home builder and remodeler employment expanded, increasing by 9,800. The December gains continue the improvement in the Fall after a period of hiring weakness early in 2016. The 6-month moving average of jobs gains for residential construction has now increased to a healthier 11,450 per month.

Residential construction employment now stands at 2.653 million, broken down as 739,000 builders and 1.915 million residential specialty trade contractors.

Over the last 12 months home builders and remodelers have added 103,000 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point of industry employment following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 667,000 positions.

In December, the unemployment rate for construction workers stood at 6.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The unemployment rate for the construction occupation had been on a general decline since reaching a peak rate of 22% in February 2010, although it has leveled off in the 6% to 7% range since the middle of 2016

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/01/residential-construction-employment-solid-in-december/

Property Taxes by State | South Salem Real Estate

The 2015 American Community Survey data shows that New Jersey still leads the nation with the highest average annual real estate tax (RET) bill of $8,180—$7,528 more than RETs paid by Alabama’s homeowners. The overall distribution remained roughly unchanged since 2014, as the composition of the top and bottom ten remained the same. The map below clearly illustrates that the highest property tax states are found in the Northeast while—with the exception of Texas—southern states boast the lowest RET bills for their resident homeowners.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey, NAHB calculations

As property values vary widely by state, controlling for this variable produces a more instructive state-by-state comparison. In keeping with prior analyses, NAHB calculates this—the effective property tax rate as measured by taxes paid per $1,000 of home value—by dividing aggregate real estate taxes paid by the aggregate value of owner-occupied housing units within a state. As shown below, New Jersey has the dubious distinction of imposing the highest effective property tax rate—2.13% or $21.25 per $1,000 of home value. Hawaii levies the lowest effective rate in the nation—0.28%, or $2.84 per $1,000 of value.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey, NAHB calculations

Interstate differences among home values explain some, but not all, of the variance in real estate tax bills across the country.  Texas is an illustrative example of a state in which home values hardly, if at all, explain real estate tax bills faced by homeowners.  While Texas ranks only 32nd in the country for average home values, it is 12th in average real estate taxes paid.  Other factors are clearly at play, and state and local government financing turns out to be a major one.

Property taxes account for 35% of state and local tax receipts, on average, but some state and local governments rely more heavily on property taxes as a source of revenue than others. Texas serves as an excellent example once again.  Unlike most states, Texas does not impose a state income tax on its residents.  Even though per capita government spending is tame compared with other states—7th lowest in the country—Texas and its localities must still find a way to fund government obligations.  Local governments accomplish this by levying the 7th highest effective property tax rate (1.63%) in the country, on average.  The state government partly makes up for foregone individual income tax revenue by imposing a tax on corporate revenue rather than income