Category Archives: Bedford

Builder Confidence Holds Firm | Bedford Real Estate

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained on firm ground in January, down two points to a level of 67 from a downwardly revised December reading of 69 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

The solid reading is consistent with building expectations heading into the new year. NAHB expects 10 percent growth in single-family construction in 2017, adding to the gains of 2016. However, ongoing industry concerns include rising mortgage interest rates as well as a lack of lots and access to labor.

The HMI rose sharply in December as the election results raised hopes among builders that a new Congress and administration will help create a better business climate for small businesses, particularly with respect to improving regulatory costs, which increased more than 29% over the last five years.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 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.

All three HMI components retreated in January. The component gauging current sales conditions fell three points to 72, the index charting sales expectations in the next six months registered a two-point decline to 76 and the component measuring buyer traffic edged one-point lower to 51.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose two points to 52 and the Midwest posted a three-point gain to 64. The South and West each held steady at 67 and 79, respectively.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/01/builder-confidence-holds-firm-in-january-2/

Zillow 2017 real estate predictions | Bedford Real Estate

This year is nearly over, and 2017 will being in just a few short weeks. As the year comes to a close, predictions for next year are pouring in.

It’s hard to say what the new year will bring with the newly-elected President-elect Donald Trump. Zillow points out in its predictions how some of his policies could affect housing next year.

Here are Zillow’s six predictions for 2017:

1. Cities will focus on denser development of smaller homes close to public transit and urban centers.

2. More millennials will become homeowners, driving up the homeownership rate. Millennials are also more racially diverse, so more homeowners will be people of color, reflecting the changing demographics of the United States.

3. Rental affordability will improve as incomes rise and growth in rents slows.

4. Buyers of new homes will have to spend more as builders cover the cost of rising construction wages, driven even higher in 2017 by continued labor shortages, which could be worsened by tougher immigration policies under President-elect Trump.

5. The percentage of people who drive to work will rise for the first time in a decade as homeowners move further into the suburbs seeking affordable housing — putting them further from adequate public transit options.

6. Home values will grow 3.6 percent in 2017, according to more than 100 economic and housing experts surveyed in the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey. National home values have risen 4.8 percent so far in 2016.

Mortgage rates average 4.30% | Bedford Real Estate

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

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.30 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 22, 2016, up from last week when it averaged 4.16 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.96 percent.

  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.52 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.37 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.22 percent.

  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.32 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.19 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.06 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.

“A week after the only rate hike of 2016, the mortgage industry digested the Fed’s decision and this week’s survey reflects that response. Following Yellen’s speech last Wednesday, the 10-year Treasury yield rose approximately 10 basis points. The 30-year mortgage rate rose 14 basis points to 4.30 percent, reaching highs we have not seen since April 2014.”

Non-Mortgage Consumer Debt Accelerates | Bedford Real Estate

The Federal Reserve Board reported that consumer credit outstanding grew by a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.0% over the third quarter of 2016, 0.6 percentage point faster than the 6.4% rate of growth in the second quarter. There is now $3.71 trillion in outstanding consumer credit.

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Growth in the outstanding amount of consumer credit overall reflected an increase in both revolving and non-revolving credit. Revolving credit is largely composed of credit card debt while non-revolving credit includes both student and auto loans. Over the third quarter, revolving credit rose by 7.6% and now totals $2.73 trillion while non-revolving credit climbed 5.2% reaching $979 billion.

Growth in consumer credit has been accelerating on a quarter-over-quarter basis in 2016. According to Figure 1, since falling to 5.6% growth in the first quarter of 2016, each subsequent quarter has experienced a faster rate of growth. In the second quarter of 2016, growth rates of both revolving and non-revolving credit recorded higher rates of growth relative to the first. However, in the third quarter, growth in non-revolving credit accelerated again while the growth of revolving credit decelerated.

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Information from the most recent iteration of the Federal Reserve Board’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS) provides some insight into the slowdown in the growth of revolving credit over the quarter. The SLOOS, among other questions, asks banks, who are the largest holder of revolving credit debt, about the supply and demand for credit card debt. In the most recent iteration, the SLOOS also asked about the likelihood of a respondent’s bank approving an application for a credit card to a borrower with a given FICO score now relative to 3 months ago. The FICO score options were 620, 680, and 720 and all other borrower characteristics were to remain “typical”*.

Figure 2 above depicts the results from the SLOOS. The “Net” is the difference between the percentage of banks reporting that they were “More likely” now than 3 months ago to approve the credit card application and the proportion of banks that were “Less likely” to do so. On net, banks were less likely to approve a credit card application for a prospective borrower with a FICO score of 620 and were more likely on net to approve an application for prospective borrower with a FICO score of 720. At a FICO score of 680 banks were neutral on net, the same portion of banks reported both more likely and less likely to approve a credit card application for a borrower with that credit score.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/11/non-mortgage-consumer-debt-accelerates/

Relief from soaring home prices isn’t coming anytime soon | Bedford Real Estate

The US housing market is supply constrained, sending home prices in major US metros back to levels last seen in the winter of 2007.

Research out of JP Morgan published Thursday indicates that this situation appears unlikely to resolve itself anytime soon.

“Nationwide house price indexes have been pushing steadily higher—real house prices are now 25% above their 2012 trough and at the highest levels on record outside the pre-crisis boom years,” JP Morgan’s Jesse Edgerton writes.

“One might wonder if these high prices reflect growing demand that could soon elicit a wave of construction that would prove our forecasts wrong. We find, however, that high prices are concentrated in markets where supply is constrained by geography or regulation, suggesting there may be little room for additional construction.” (Emphasis added.)

In short, areas seeing home prices rise fastest — think San Francisco, San Jose, and Denver — are not in a position to meet the demand for housing implied by the rise in prices.

The problem here is two-fold.

As the chart below shows, high home prices haven’t influenced the aggressiveness with which homebuilders have added to the housing stock over time. This indicates the supply side of the market is content to accept elevated prices even if the volume of homes built and sold is below what the demand side alone might dictate.

View photos

Additionally, Edgerton’s work shows that markets equipped with both high home prices and an ability to meet the demand implied by these prices literally do not exist.

“Metro areas in the upper right quadrant of the chart would be the best candidates for a demand-driven construction boom,” Edgerton writes. “Unfortunately, sharp-eyed readers will note that there are no dots in the upper-right portion of the figure.”

View photos

Edgerton adds, “Thus, it is unclear how much we can expect high prices to drive construction in the coming years, as the data show that high prices are concentrated in areas where supply may be limited in its ability to respond to demand.”

Data out this week from S&P/Case-Shiller showed home prices rose 5.3% nationally in August, up from a 5% annual gain seen the prior month.

A report from the National Association of Realtors last week showed a 5.6% increase in median existing home prices, the 55th straight month of year-on-year gains. At the current pace of existing home sales, there exists just 4.5-months’ supply in the US market.

“Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in,” chief economist for the National Association of Realtors Lawrence Yun said in a report.

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http://finance.yahoo.com/news/relief-from-soaring-home-prices-isnt-coming-anytime-soon-174136415.html?_fsig=arxQ.NYjpRCtxgAPQstl9A–

Existing home sales rise | Bedford Real Estate

Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased 2.0% in October and reached the highest pace since February 2007. In October sales increased for the second straight month, and were up 5.9% from the same month a year ago. Total existing home sales in October increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.60 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, up from an upwardly adjusted 5.49 million units in September.

existing-sales-october-2016

October existing sales increased in all four regions, ranging from 2.8% in the South to 0.8% in the West. Year-over-year, October sales also increased in all regions, ranging from 10.4% in the West to 1.4% in the Northeast.

Total housing inventory decreased slightly by 0.5% in October, and remains 4.3% lower than its level a year ago. At the current sales rate, the October unsold inventory represents a 4.3-month supply, compared to a 4.4-month supply in September.

The October all-cash sales share increased to 22% from 21% in September, but was down from 24% one year ago. Individual investors purchased a 13% share in October, down from 14% in September and unchanged from a year ago. The first-time home buyer share was 33% in October, down a point from the solid September report, but above the first-time buyer share of 31% in October 2015. Distressed sales, comprised of foreclosures and short sales, increased to 5% in October from 4% in September, which was the lowest rate since NAR launched that series in 2008.

The October median sales price of $232,200 was 6.0% above the same month a year ago, and represents the 56th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median condominium/co-op price dropped for the fourth consecutive month to $220,300 in October, but was up 6.2% from the same month a year ago.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/11/existing-sales-revival/

San Jose to tackle homelessness with tiny houses | Bedford Real Estate

Homeless person in San Jose, California

Sprawling and largely suburban in character, San Jose — highly affluent de facto capital of California’s Silicon Valley — is home to one of the nation’s most well-educated, socially progressive, ethnically diverse and highest paid populaces. It’s also blessed with beautiful weather, a fabulous park system and a low crime rate for a city of its size. Everything is hunky-dory, all sunshine and Dionne Warwick songs, in the well-heeled epicenter of America’s busiest tech hub.

Except that it’s not.

Like its (technically smaller) neighbor to the north, San Francisco, the third most populous city in California struggles with exorbitant housing costs, severe income inequality and a homelessness crisis that shows no signs of abating.

Yes, there are homeless people in the Silicon Valley. And way more than you might imagine.

As reported by the Mercury News citing 2014 statistics released by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, San Jose and greater Santa Clara County have the fourth largest homeless population in the United States. With an estimated 4,063 homeless residents, San Jose has the nation’s third largest population of chronically homeless residents and the nation’s fifth largest population of homeless veterans.

In total, 69 percent of San Jose’s homeless population are living on the streets, in cars, in abandoned buildings and in encampments. One such encampment, “The Jungle,” was one of the largest — if not the largest — homeless camps in the nation until it was cleared out in 2014. The site has since been reclaimed by nature and other, smaller settlements have popped up around the city’s secluded wooded areas along creeks and riverbeds. In lieu of overcrowded shelters or encampments, many of the Silicon Valley’s homeless sleep aboard the 22 Bus, the only 24-hour bus line in Santa Clara County.

Never a city to shy away from innovation and outside-the-box thinking, San Jose is now turning to the tiny house movement to give shelter — even if just temporarily — to those who most desperately need it.

San Jose skyline)

Crisis mode meets creative thinking

A new piece of legislation authored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos and signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 27 would allow San Jose to circumvent statewide building, health and safety codes that would otherwise impede the creation of garden shed-sized standalone dwellings. In lieu of abiding by state regulations, city officials will adopt their own unique set of building regulations that enable the construction and distribution of homeless-geared tiny houses.

The law, which will be valid for five years at which point its impact will be assessed, can only be enacted if San Jose declares a “shelter crisis” — and it already has.

When the law goes into effect in January of next year, San Jose will be the first city in California to officially embrace tiny houses as a means of combating homelessness.

Speaking to the Mercury News, Ray Bramson, the city’s homeless response manager, notes that the tiny houses, so en vogue with middle-class downsizers and flexibility-seeking Millenials, would serve as a sort of “temporary stopping point” while the city constructs 500 affordable apartment units over the next several years.

“This law really is the first of its kind,” Bramson tells the Mercury News. “It will allow us to create bridge housing opportunities — a stable place people can live and stay while they’re waiting to be placed in a permanent home.”

The Jungle, San Jose

Tiny houses with a big impact

San Jose will soon launch a competition seeking designs for the diminutive housing units. The emphasis, according to the Mercury News, will be on “innovative features, cost effectiveness and replicability.”

The legislation, Assembly Bill 2176, dictates that single-person “emergency shelter cabins” must measure at least 70 square feet while standalone shelters for couple must be no less than 120 square feet. Each unit must be insulated, wired for electricity, include at least one lighting fixture and be topped with a weatherproofed roof. And this is a biggie: Each tiny house must also include a privacy lock.

Tiny houses, often bespoke and kitted out with high-tech bells and whistles, are generally in the 200 to 300-square-feet range in a non-transitional housing context. So, yes, 70 square feet is on the extremely petite side for a tiny house.

As for location, it would appear that San Jose is following in the footsteps of cities such as Austin, Texas, and Olympia, Washington, by establishing transitional micro-housing villages. Although sites have not been selected — and this may prove to be tricky part — the new law states that the tiny houses must be placed on city-owned or leased land no less than a half-acre. Each cluster of tiny houses, referred to in the bill as “emergency bridge housing communities,” would include on-site supportive services and bathroom facilities.

“It was huge for the governor to sign this because it’s outside-the-box and no one else has done it,” Assemblywoman Campos announced in a statement. “Other big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles will be looking at what we do here. We had to do something because what we were doing wasn’t working.

It’s interesting that Campos mentions Los Angeles, a city where officials have yet to embrace the concept of tiny houses for the homeless but where private citizens have.

Such is the case of Elvis Summers, a power drill-wielding mohawked Angeleno that, in the absence of action from city officials, stepped up and decided to do something for his neighbors living on the streets of South L.A.

In 2015, Summers and a team of volunteers began constructing dozens of tiny houses, each costing about $1,200 to build. For financing, Summers launched a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised big bucks and garnered international media attention.

However, not long after the recipients of Summers’ hand-built micro-shelters began to get accustomed to sleeping with honest to goodness roofs over the heads, L.A. sanitation workers, under orders from City Hall, began an aggressive crackdown on the structures. While some were saved by Summers and temporarily moved to private property, others were impounded by the city.

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http://www.mnn.com/your-home/remodeling-design/blogs/san-jose-tackle-homelessness-tiny-houses

Home Prices in August – Gains Continued | Bedford Real Estate

The Case-Shiller (CS) National Home Price Index, released by S&P Dow Jones Indices, rose in August. The index rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 7.6%, faster than the 4.9% reported in July. After the deceleration in the beginning of 2016, house prices have accelerated since May due to tight inventory and the increases in existing home sales in the early part of this year.

The Home Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 8.9% in August, after the 5.7% increase in July, confirming the reacceleration in home prices.

figure1_aug16

After the tumultuous boom and bust the increases of recent months have brought home prices more in line with long term trend levels and home prices are reaching the pre-recession peak in 2006.

Along with the gradual increases in national home prices, home prices gained in most metro areas in August. Figure 2 shows home price appreciation for 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas in August.

Among the 20 metro areas, San Francisco had the highest home price appreciation (12.2%), followed by Seattle (10.1%), Miami (7.2%) and Dallas (6.6%). Fifteen out of the 20 metro areas had positive home price appreciation, more metro areas reporting home prices increased than last month. Home price appreciation in the remaining five metro areas was negative. They are Minneapolis, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago and Detroit, with the highest decline of 1.8% in Detroit.

figure2_aug16

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/home-prices-in-august-gains-continued/

Mortgage rates average 3.57% | Bedford Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.57 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending November 10, 2016, up from last week when it averaged 3.54 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.98 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.88 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.84 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.20 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.

“This week’s survey reflects pre-election market conditions. As a result, the 30-year mortgage rate increased to 3.57 percent, only 3 basis points higher than last week’s level. On Wednesday, the 10-year Treasury yield closed above 2 percent, about 25 basis points higher than its pre-election value and its highest yield since January. At this point, it is too soon to tell whether Treasuries will hold this new level or if the mortgage rate will increase as much over the coming week.”