Mortgage rates average 2.79% | Cross River Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 2.79 percent.

“As Treasury yields have risen, it is putting pressure on mortgage rates to move up,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “While mortgage rates are expected to increase modestly in 2021, they will remain inarguably low, supporting homebuyer demand and leading to continued refinance activity. Borrowers are smart to take advantage of these low rates now and will certainly benefit as a result.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.79 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending January 14, 2021, up from last week when it averaged 2.65 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.65 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.23 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.16 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.09 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.12 percent with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.75 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.39 percent.

The PMMS® is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. 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.

NAR reports 16% increase in pending sales | Katonah Real Estate

After reaching a record high in August, pending home sales slid for the third consecutive month, as fast-rising home prices and low inventory started to impede the housing market. Higher interest rates this week will present an additional challenge in future data.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), is a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts. The PHSI fell 2.6% from 129.1 in October to 125.7 in November, the highest level for November. However, on a year-over-year basis, sales were still 16.4% higher than a year ago.

All four regions saw a decline in month-over-month contract activity, ranging from 1.1% in the South to 4.7% in the West. On a year-over-year basis, all four regions saw double-digit year-over-year growths, ranging from 10.4% in the West to 21.3% in the South.

Despite the declines in these three months, pending home sales still outperformed this year and housing demand remained strong due to recent, low mortgage rates. However, rising home prices driven by record-low inventory may hurt affordability, especially first-time buyers. More listings and home construction are needed to meet this rising demand.

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Cuomo Signs Bill Extending Eviction Ban Until May 1 | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would sign the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 at a press briefing on Dec. 28.

ALBANY—After the State Legislature met in special session on Monday, Dec. 28 and the Assembly and Senate approved the bill, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 later that day.

The bill (S.9114/A.11181) prevents residential evictions, foreclosure proceedings until May 1, 2021 and also prohibits credit discrimination and negative credit reporting related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also extends the Senior Citizens’ Homeowner Exemption and Disabled Homeowner Exemption from 2020 to 2021. The Act adds to New York State’s efforts to protect tenants and homeowners from the economic hardship incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we asked New Yorkers to protect each other by staying at home. As we fight our way through the marathon this pandemic has become, we need to make sure New Yorkers still have homes to provide that protection,” Governor Cuomo said. “This law adds to previous executive orders by protecting the needy and vulnerable who, through no fault of their own, face eviction during an incredibly difficult period for New York. The more support we provide for tenants, mortgagors and seniors, the easier it will be for them to get back on their feet when the pandemic ends. I want to thank the legislature for passing this important protection for New Yorkers all across the state who need a hand. This is the kind of support that helps us stay New York Tough.”

The legislation helps tenants facing eviction and mortgagors facing foreclosure proceedings due the pandemic in five areas:

Residential Evictions

The Act places a moratorium on residential evictions until May 1, 2021 for tenants who have endured COVID-related hardship. Tenants must submit a hardship declaration, or a document explaining the source of the hardship, to prevent evictions. Landlords can evict tenants that are creating safety or health hazards for other tenants, and those tenants who do not submit hardship declarations.

Residential Foreclosure Proceedings

The Act also places a moratorium on residential foreclosure proceedings until May 1, 2021. Homeowners and small landlords who own 10 or fewer residential dwellings can file hardship declarations with their mortgage lender, other foreclosing party or a court that would prevent a foreclosure.

Tax Lien Sales

The Act prevents local governments from engaging in a tax lien sale or a tax foreclosure until at least May 1, 2021. Payments due to the locality are still due.

Credit Discrimination and Negative Credit Reporting

Lending institutions are prohibited from discriminating against a property owner seeking credit because the property owner has been granted a stay of mortgage foreclosure proceedings, tax foreclosure proceedings or tax lien sales. They are also prohibited from discriminating because the owner is in arrears and has filed a hardship declaration with the lender.

Senior Citizens’ Homeowner Exemption and Disabled Homeowner Exemption

Local governments are required to carry over SCHE and DHC exemptions from the 2020 assessment roll to the 2021 assessment roll at the same levels. They are also required to provide renewal applications for anyone who may be eligible for a larger exemption in 2021. Localities can also set procedures by which assessors can require renewal applications from people who the assessors believe may no longer be eligible for an exemption in 2021. Recipients of the exemption do not have to file renewal applications in person.

On Sept. 28, Governor Cuomo announced the State’s Tenant Safe Harbor Act would be extended and expanded until January 1, 2021 to protect additional residential tenants from eviction if they are suffering financial hardship during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Executive Order extends the protections of the Tenant Safe Harbor Act to eviction warrants that existed prior to the start of the pandemic, and those who are facing other than nonpayment evictions but suffering the same hardship.

Governor Cuomo first announced a state moratorium on residential and commercial evictions on March 20 to ensure no tenant was evicted during the height of the public health emergency. The governor signed the Tenant Safe Harbor Act on June 30 which became effective immediately as well as additional legislation providing financial assistance to residential renters and landlords. Additionally, previous Executive Orders have prohibited charges or fees for late rent payments, and tenants facing financial hardship can still use their security deposit as payment and repay their security deposit over time.

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Existing home sales up 25% | Mt Kisco Real Estate

After reaching almost 15-year high last month, existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), declined for the first time in six months amid inventory shortage and surging prices.

Total existing home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 2.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million in November. On a year-over-year basis, sales were still 25.8% higher than a year ago.

The first-time buyer share stayed at 32% in November, same as last month and a year ago. However, price gains threaten this share in the future. The November inventory level fell to record-low 1.28 million units from 1.42 million units in October and is down from 1.64 million units a year ago.

At the current sales rate, the November unsold inventory represents an all-time low 2.3-month supply, down from 2.5-month in October and 3.7-month a year ago. This low level supply of resale homes is good news for home construction.

Homes stayed on the market for an average of just 21 days in November, an all-time low, seasonally even with last month and down from 38 days a year ago. In November, 73% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month.

The November all-cash sales share was 20% of transactions, up from 19% last month but unchanged from a year ago.

Tight supply continues to push up home prices. The November median sales price of all existing homes was $310,800, up 14.6% from a year ago, representing the 105th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median existing condominium/co-op price of $271,400 in November was up 9.5% from a year ago.

Regionally, three of four regions saw a decline in existing home sales in November. Sales in the Northeast, Midwest and South fell 2.2%, 2.5% and 3.8% respectively from last month, while sales in the West remained unchanged. On a year-over-year basis, sales still grew by double-digit in all four regions, ranging from 24.2% in the Midwest to 27.3% in the West.

Though sales took a marginal step back in November, existing home sales have outperformed 2019 levels and housing demand is expected to remain strong due to low mortgage rates and remote-work flexibilities. However, the imbalance between housing supply and demand could hamper future sales by driving up home prices and restraining affordability.

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How Increased Work-From-Home Opportunities Benefit The Housing Market | Pound Ridge Real Estate

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the significant increase in the ability to work from home is a win for housing and voters.

Adobe Stock/Marina Zlochin

An important consequence of the COVID-19 crisis has been a shift in housing demand preferences, with home buyers and renters favoring lower-density suburbs and exurbs over the core of large metropolitan areas. This suburban shift is seen in construction data, with the NAHB Home Building Geography Index showing that lower-density markets posted relatively greater growth rates for both single-family and multifamily construction during the middle of 2020.

While this shift seems to be a result of individuals responding to the public health crisis, it is in fact an acceleration of housing demand changes due to long-run declines for affordability in overregulated, high-cost urban markets such as New York and San Francisco.

The shift has been greatly facilitated by the increase in working from home. While it’s unlikely that large numbers of people will be able to work in an entirely different metro area than that of their employer, it will be the case that workers will have the increased ability to work at home one or more days per week. Fewer commutes mean households will have a larger area from which to choose a home.

This is an empowering moment for buyers and renters. Consider a common response from policymakers, with entrenched interests in high-cost markets, to the idea of people living elsewhere: “Where are you going to go?” For these implicit proponents of densification, the idea that people might want to live elsewhere, if given the possibility, appears unthinkable. Economists have a word for this kind of assumed power over consumers: monopoly. In a political realm it means less competition, higher taxes, and lower-quality public services.

That is why the shift in buyer/renter preferences, and the ability to actually move, is good for housing and American democracy in general. When people can vote with their feet to fight back against inefficient government, ordinary families gain political power. And the lack of political power in high-cost markets in recent decades has no greater example than ongoing declines for housing affordability.

The U.S. has experienced an affordability crisis for much of the post-Great Recession era. Rent burdens increased and the ability to buy a home declined as supply of single-family and multifamily construction was throttled by regulatory burdens, expansion of NIMBYist policies, and a lack of developable land. For households looking for jobs, resigning themselves to the limited housing options in high-cost markets became part of the process of adjusting to a new city. When I moved from Ohio to Washington, D.C., a fellow economist told me my outrage-threshold over local home prices would decline by about $100,000 per year. She was not far off.

Thus, even partial persistence of work-from-home options will expand buyer purchasing options. NAHB data shows 61% of workers believe they’ll be able to telecommute on at least a partial basis after a vaccine is deployed. And while less than one-third of the workforce has been working at home, any reduction in traffic reduces the commute time/cost for all workers.

In response to where they’ll go, home buyers and renters now have more answers from which to choose. This is good news for them and builders, while representing a threat to policymakers and bureaucrats who have for too long taken their own residents for granted by driving up the cost of housing and limiting housing supply.

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Housing starts up 13% | Bedford Real Estate

U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.55 million in November, representing a 1.2% increase from the previous month’s figure, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday. Compared with last year, housing starts were up nearly 13%. The pace of building permits was the highest in 14 years.

Permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.64 million, up 6.2% from October and 8.5% from a year ago.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to occur at a pace of 1.54 million and building permits to come in at a pace of 1.57 million.

A surge in the multifamily sector — which includes apartment buildings and condos — drove the increase in both housing starts and building permits. Multifamily starts were up 8%, versus 0.4% for single-family homes. And the number of permits issued for buildings with five or more units rose nearly 23% between October and November, compared with a 1.3% uptick for single-family structures.

New-home construction activity didn’t grow evenly across all parts of the country. Housing starts surged roughly 59% in the Northeast, driven by the multifamily boom, but fell nearly 5% in the Midwest and 6% in the South. The Midwest and South both experience slowdowns in new construction of single-family homes.

America’s building boom is continuing for now — and that’s good news for prospective home buyers. The severe shortage of existing homes for sale has pushed prices higher. As a result, the new-home segment of the market holds renewed importance.

“New home construction stands out as a clear solution to the rising challenge of affordability especially as housing demand is expected to continue to grow,” said Realtor.com senior economists George Ratiu. “However, without a significant supply of new construction, many would-be buyers will be forced to sit on the sideline due to record-high home prices.”

But Ratiu signaled one concern for the market: The pace at which builders completed their projects slowed in November. The number of completions fell nearly 1% for single-family homes and 35% for multifamily buildings. “The momentum for single-family starts and completions is slowing,” Ratiu said.

“Single-family housing continues to be well-supported by strong demand and low mortgages rates,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research note.

“Builders are hyper-optimistic,” Joel Naroff, president and chief economist at Naroff Economics, wrote in a research note. “Whether that is irrational or not, well we shall see.”

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marketwatch.com/story/new-home-construction/

Insulation in your home | Chappaqua Real Estate

Fiberglass remains the most popular insulation choice among home builders, with better than a 50% market share according to some studies. The advantages are compelling: competitive cost and a ready installer base. But like any fiber insulation, the performance of fiberglass depends on the quality of the installation job. Well-installed fiberglass is as effective as any insulation, R-value being equal, while poorly installed fiberglass underperforms its promised R-value rating. So it’s up to the builder to ensure a quality job.

To insulate effectively, fiberglass batts need to fill the entire stud bay without being compressed. To insulate a wall, start by filling the full-width bays. Insert the batt from the top down, pushing it up against the wall plates. If the sides snag on rough lumber, run a putty knife along the side of the stud.
To insulate effectively, fiberglass batts need to fill the entire stud bay without being compressed. To insulate a wall, start by filling the full-width bays. Insert the batt from the top down, pushing it up against the wall plates. If the sides snag on rough lumber, run a putty knife along the side of the stud.

Fiberglass gets its insulating quality not from the fiberglass itself but from the air that is trapped between the fibers. Wind pressure or even convective air pressures can make that air move, degrading the thermal performance of the batt. So to be effective, fiberglass has to be protected against air pressures. There’s a simple rule that’s not always followed: Align the air pressure boundary of the building with its thermal boundary. In practice, that means that fiberglass batts need to be installed in walls so that the batt is in full contact with the wall sheathing on the outboard side and with the drywall on the inboard side. The batts also have to be in full contact with the studs on either side of the stud cavity.

Housewrap on the wall is critical to the performance of this assembly. Wind blowing into the wall through cracks and crevices can degrade the performance of the insulation by 50% or more. Well-installed housewrap prevents this air intrusion and allows the insulation to perform at its rated value.

In the fast-moving world of the job site, insulation installers are under pressure to make time. The task often is not thought of as a craft where quality matters. But in fact, the insulation installer’s job is significant in the overall performance of the finished house, and there is skill involved. Insulation workers should be trained and supervised to do a quality job.

Batts should be carefully fit to the space. If the stud spacing varies from the standard 16-inch or 2-foot spacing, the batts should be trimmed to fit snugly, rather than jammed into the space. Batts should be cut around obstructions such as outlets or switch boxes. Where wiring interferes with the placement of the batt, the batt should be split and carefully fit around the wires. To make sure the batt is in contact with the wall sheathing, the installer should push the batt back against the sheathing, then pull the face side out from the wall to fluff the material up.

A Complete Air Barrier

To be effective, a home’s air barrier should be continuous and complete. This isn’t too hard to accomplish for most areas of the house, but there are locations in the building envelope where air barrier assemblies are sometimes neglected. These elements are called out in the Energy Star program’s Thermal Bypass Checklist. (See also the EPA’s Thermal Bypass Checklist Guide for detailed instruction on completing the checklist.)

Click to enlarge

Three-dimensional thermal bypass checklist. Many organizations have published lists of areas in a building that are likely to challenge the air barrier. Making a 3D rendering takes the checklist one step further, giving users a visual graphic to better understand and deal with these areas of concern.
Steve BaczekThree-dimensional thermal bypass checklist. Many organizations have published lists of areas in a building that are likely to challenge the air barrier. Making a 3D rendering takes the checklist one step further, giving users a visual graphic to better understand and deal with these areas of concern.

One example is the location where a tub or shower unit is placed against an exterior wall. It’s common for the wall to be insulated, then the tub to be set without the wall being drywalled first. This results in the insulation being exposed to the air behind the tub, rather than protected and supported. To satisfy the Thermal Bypass Checklist, that wall should be drywalled or otherwise covered with a rigid sheet material before the tub is installed.

Fireplaces are similar to tubs and showers: They are often set against an insulated wall that hasn’t been drywalled. Here again, the Thermal Bypass Checklist calls for that wall to be covered with a rigid material that will resist airflow and support the insulation.

Another example is the wall between an unconditioned attached garage and the conditioned part of the house. While the garage wall may be drywalled, it’s often the case that the wall above the garage ceiling is left with exposed insulation. To satisfy the checklist, the interface between the house and the unconditioned space should be covered with a rigid airtight material.

Similarly, builders sometimes attach porch roofs to the main house without first sheathing the exterior wall, potentially leaving insulation exposed to the unconditioned air under the roof. To satisfy the checklist, this juncture must be protected with an air barrier material. The simplest way to accomplish this is just to sheathe the house wall before attaching the porch.

The Importance of the Stack Effect

Air movement through an air barrier requires a pressure difference and a hole for the air to move through. In cold climates, one of the important sources of pressure difference is the stack effect. Heated air in the building has a tendency to rise, creating a negative (outdoor to indoor) pressure at the bottom of the house and a positive (indoor to outdoor) pressure at the top of the house. There’s nothing you can do to prevent stack pressure from occurring. So to address the air leakage, the strategy is to seal up the holes.

Layers of pressure. As warm air rises inside a typical home, the pressure changes from inward pressure (infiltration) at the bottom of the building to outward pressure (exfiltration) at the top, with a neutral pressure plane in the middle. Because the pressure increases with the distance from the neutral plane, the top and bottom of the building are the most critical for establishing an air barrier.
Layers of pressure. As warm air rises inside a typical home, the pressure changes from inward pressure (infiltration) at the bottom of the building to outward pressure (exfiltration) at the top, with a neutral pressure plane in the middle. Because the pressure increases with the distance from the neutral plane, the top and bottom of the building are the most critical for establishing an air barrier.

In practical terms, this means that the priority air leaks in a two-story or higher house are the lowest and the highest holes in the air barrier. Pay special attention to low leak points such as the first-floor band joist area, and to high leak points such as the second-floor ceiling. Time spent sealing up attic locations such as can light penetrations, duct registers, and wall top plates will pay off in performance during cold weather.

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Mortgage Rates Hit Another Record Low | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Freddie Mac  released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 2.67 percent, the lowest rate in the survey’s history which dates back to 1971.

“The housing market continues to surge higher and support an otherwise stagnant economy that has lost momentum in the last couple of months,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Mortgage rates are at record lows and pushing many prospective homebuyers off the sidelines and into the market. Homebuyer sentiment is sanguine and purchase demand shows no real signs of waning at all heading into next year.” Visit tvbedstore website where you can find the best furniture for your new house.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.67 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending December 17, 2020, down from last week when it averaged 2.71 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.73 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.21 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.26 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.19 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.79 percent with an average 0.3 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.36 percent.

The PMMS is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. 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.

Builder Confidence Down from Record High | Armonk Real Estate

Ending a string of three successive months of record highs, builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes fell four points to 86 in December, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Despite the decline, December is still the second-highest reading in the history of the series after last month’s 90.

Housing demand is strong entering 2021, however the coming year will see housing affordability challenges as inventory remains low and construction costs are rising.

The issues that have limited housing supply in recent years, including land and material availability and a persistent skilled labor shortage, will continue to place upward pressure on construction costs. As the economy improves with the deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine, interest rates will increase in 2021, further challenging housing affordability in the face of strong demand for single-family homes.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 35 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

The HMI index gauging current sales conditions dropped four points to 92, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months fell four points to 85 and the gauge charting traffic of prospective buyers also decreased four points to 73.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast fell one point to 82, the Midwest was up one point to 81, the South rose one point to 87 and the West increased two points to 96.

The HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi.

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Mortgage rates average 2.71% | North Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 2.71 percent.

“Mortgage rates remain at record lows, resisting their typical correlation to Treasury yields, which have recently been moving higher,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Mortgage spreads – the difference between mortgage rates and the 10-year Treasury rate – are declining from their elevated levels earlier this year. Although today’s mortgage spread is about 1.8 percent and still has some room to move down if the 10-year Treasury continues to rise, it’s encouraging to see that the spread is almost back to normal levels.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.71 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending December 10, 2020, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.73 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.26 percent with an average 0.6 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.19 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.79 percent with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.86 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.36 percent.

The PMMS is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. 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.