Category Archives: North Salem

Mortgage rates drop for third week | North Salem Real Estate

Mortgage rates remained unchanged in the week ending 28th February. The stall in the downward trend came off the back of 3 consecutive weeks of decline. 30-year fixed rates remained unchanged at 4.35%, holding at the lowest level since 7th February’s 4.32%. The figures were released by Freddie Mac.

30-year fixed rates have fallen by 59 basis points since mid-November of last year, the most recent peak.

The pause in rates came as concerns over the global and U.S economic outlook continued to linger. Mixed sentiment towards progress on trade talks between the U.S and China led to a mid-week hiccup. The North Korea Summit also ended abruptly, which was not the outcome that the markets were looking for.

Economic Data from the Week

Economic data released through the week included December housing sector numbers and consumer confidence figures on Tuesday. December factory orders and January pending home sales on Wednesday that came ahead of 4th quarter GDP numbers on Thursday.

On the housing front, house price growth slowed further in December, according to the S&P / CS HPI Composite figures. Coupled with falling mortgage rates, the slower growth in house prices will be welcomed news for prospective home buyers.

Building permits continued its upward trend in December, following a 5% jump in November. In contrast, housing starts slumped by 11.2%, though this could be more to do with the weather than market conditions.

The good news was a combined jump in consumer confidence and pending home sales. Activity in the spring could deliver a much-needed boost to the sector.

Finally, the 4th quarter GDP numbers were in line with expectations. While growth was significantly slower than the 3rd quarter, it could have been far worse. Nonetheless, slower growth and FED Chair Powell’s testimony contributed to the steady mortgage rate figures.

Freddie Mac Rates

The weekly average rates for new mortgages as of 28th February were quoted by Freddie Mac to be:

  • 30-year fixed rates held steady at 4.35% in the week. Rates were down from 4.43% from a year ago. The average fee also remained unchanged at 0.5 points.
  • 15-year fixed rates fell by 1 basis points to 3.77% in the week. Rates were down from 3.90% from a year ago. The average fee increased from 0.4 points to 0.5 points.
  • 5-year fixed rates also remained unchanged at 3.84% in the week. Rates increased by 22 basis points from last year’s 3.62%. The average fee held steady at 0.3 points.

Mortgage Bankers’ Association Rates

For the week ending 22nd February, rates were quoted to be:

  • Average interest rates for 30-year fixed, backed by the FHA, decreased from 4.68% to 4.64%. Points decreased from 0.58 to 0.48 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.
  • Average interest rates for 30-year fixed with conforming loan balances decreased from 4.66% to 4.65%. Points remained unchanged at 0.42 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.
  • Average 30-year rates for jumbo loan balances decreased from 4.56% to 4.40%, the lowest level since January 2018. Points increased from 0.23 to 0.29 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.

Weekly figures released by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that the Market Composite Index, which is a measure of mortgage loan application volume, surged by 5.3% in the week ending 22nd February. The increase follows on from a 3.6% rise from the previous week.

The Refinance Index rose by 5% in the week ending 22nd February. The rise follows on from a 6% jump in the previous week.

The share of refinance mortgages decreased from 41.7% to 40.4%, following a fall from 41.8% to 41.7% in the week prior.

According to the MBA, home buyers responded favorably to the shift in the mortgage rate environment. Purchase applications for both conventional and government loans were reported to have risen in the reporting week. The upward trend in refinance application volume saw the index hit its highest level in a month.

For the week ahead

It’s a particularly busy week ahead. On the data front, February’s service sector PMI and December new home sales figures will provide direction on Tuesday. Service sector activity will need to impress to ease any immediate concerns over the economic outlook.

Trade figures and February’s ADP nonfarm employment change figures will influence Treasury yields on Wednesday.

Economic data out of the U.S on Thursday includes 4th quarter nonfarm productivity and unit labor costs, which will be released alongside the weekly jobless claims figures. Barring a material deviation from forecast, the numbers will unlikely have a material impact.

Outside of the numbers, there are plenty of factors that will influence Treasury yields and ultimately mortgage rates. Trade talks between China and the U.S, Brexit, and China’s trade data are just a number of drivers ahead of Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates, which will be released on Thursday.

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https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/u-s-mortgages-mortgage-rates-hold-as-applications-continue-to-climb-555590

The Federal Reserve Board’s big mistake | North Salem Real Estate

September 24, 2018

The Federal Reserve’s main interest rate will likely vault over their preferred inflation gauge this week

The Federal Reserve’s main interest rate will jump past the central bank’s preferred inflation measure for the first time in a decade this week, when policymakers announce a widely expected rise in interest rates.

The Fed funds rate– the cost of borrowing “excess” Fed reserves overnight, unsecured by collateral by banks and other financial institutions – will rise above the central bank’s favorite measure of the US economy’s inflation rate, the “personal consumption expenditure” index, for the first time since September 2008.

The Fed and central banks around the world slashed interest rates in the wake of the crisis, with some even introducing negative interest rates for the first time in history. But with the economic recovery gaining ground, the Fed started raising interest rates in 2015, and other central banks are now following in tightening monetary policy.

“The question is what rate is high enough to slow the economy,” said Anne Mathias, a senior strategist at Vanguard. “We’ll hopefully know it when we see it.”

The US central bank has increased its interest rate target range twice already this year, to 1.75-2 per cent. That has raised the Fed funds rate – the primary target it attempts to move with its interest rate corridor – to a 10-year high of 1.92 per cent. 

Fed raises rates despite trade war concerns The Fed is widely expected to lift its corridor by another quarter percentage points when it meets on Wednesday, and that will probably in tandem lift the Fed funds rate to about 2.17 per cent. 

That means that the “real”, inflation-adjusted US interest rate will be in positive territory again, and investors and analysts are now questioning how much further the Fed will raise interest rates. 

Indeed, another rate increase in December is widely expected, which will probably lift the Fed funds rate above the ‘core’ inflation rate that excludes food and energy costs. However, opinions differ significantly on how much the central bank will tighten policy in 2019.

“This is the riddle they will have to solve in 2019,” said Jim Caron, a bond fund manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. “There’s little danger of an inflationary breakout, so why keep hiking?”

Markets are starting to price in the possibility of two more quarter-point increases in the Fed’s interest rate in 2019. The Fed has indicated that it will raise rates three times, while Goldman Sachs’ economists predict the central bank will have to lift rates four times to prevent the economy from overheating. 

The US stock market bet the Fed killed the economy through the October-December 2018 quarter. The real estate economy is contracting because of this.

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https://www.ft.com/content/9be4f6a4-bdd7-11e8-8274-55b72926558f

More buyers priced out of the market with higher rates | North Salem Real Estate

By Na Zhao, Ph.DNAHB Economics and Housing Policy GroupReport available to the public as a courtesy of HousingEconomics.com

This article announces NAHB’s “priced out estimates” for 2019, showing how higher home prices and interest rates affect housing affordability. The 2019 U.S. estimates indicate that a $1,000 increase in the median new home price would price 127,560 U.S. households out of the market. In other words, 127,560 households would qualify for the new home mortgage before the change, but not afterwards. Similarly, 25 basis points added to the current mortgage rate would price out around 1 million households. The article also includes priced out estimates for individual states and more than 300 metropolitan areas.

The Priced Out Methodology and Data

The NAHB Priced Out model uses the ability to qualify a mortgage to measure housing affordability, because most home buyers finance their new home purchase with conventional loans, [1] and because convenient underwriting standards for these loans exist. The standard NAHB adopts for its priced-out estimates is that the sum of the mortgage payment (including the principal amount, loan interest, property tax, homeowners’ property and private mortgage insurance premiums (PITI), is no more than 28 percent of monthly gross household income.

As a result the number of households that qualify for mortgages for a certain priced home depends on the household income distribution in an area and the mortgage interest rate at that time. The most recent detailed household income distributions for all states and metro areas are from the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS). NAHB adjusts the income distributions to reflect the income and population changes that may happen from 2017 to 2019. The income distribution is adjusted for inflation using the 2018 median family income published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for all states and metro areas, and then extrapolated it into 2019. The number of households in 2019 is projected by the growth rate of households from 2016 to 2017.

The assumptions of the priced out calculation include a 10% s down payment and a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, at an interest rate of 4.85%. For a loan with this down payment, private mortgage insurance is required by lenders and also included as part of PITI. The typical private mortgage insurance annual premium is 73 basis points[2], based on the standard assumption of national median credit score of 738[3] and 10% down payment and 30-year fixed mortgage rate. Effective local property tax rates are calculated using data from the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) summary files. Homeowner’s insurance rates are constructed from the 2016 ACS Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS).[4] For the U.S. as a whole, the property tax is $12 per $1,000 of property value and the homeowner insurance is $4 per $1,000 property value.

Under these assumptions, 32.7 million of the 122.5 million U.S. households could afford to buy a new median priced home at $355,183 in 2019. A $1,000 home price increase thus would price 127,560 households out of the market for this home. These are the households that can qualify for a mortgage before a $1,000 increase but not afterwards, as shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1. US Households Priced Out of the Market by Increases in House Prices, 2019

State and Local Estimates

The number of priced out households varies across both states and metropolitan areas, largely affected by the sizes of local population and the affordability of new homes. The 2019 priced-out estimates for all states and the District of Columbia are shown in Table 2 (available in the Additional Resources box), which presents the projected 2019 median new home price and the amount of income needed to qualify the mortgage, and the number of households could be priced out if price goes up by $1,000. Among all the states, Texas registered the largest number of households priced out of the market by a $1,000 increase in the median-priced home in the state (11,152), followed by California (9,897), and Ohio (7,341).

Table 3, which is available in the Additional Resources box, shows the 2019 priced-out estimates for 382 metropolitan statistical areas. The metropolitan area with the largest priced out effect, in terms of absolute numbers, is Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI, where 4,499 households are squeezed out of the market for a new median-priced home if price increases by $1,000. This is largely because Chicago is a populous metropolitan area with a large number of households; and, compared to the largest metropolitan areas on the East and West costs, the median priced home is more affordable to begin with. Around 27% of households there are capable of buying new median-priced homes. For similar reasons, Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX metro area, where nearly 33% of households can afford median-priced new homes.to begin with, registered the second largest number of priced out households (3,546), where nearly 33% of households can afford median-priced new homes. In New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA, 3,531 households are squeezed out of the housing market for a new median-priced home if price increases by $1,000. Compared to Chicago or Houston, the median-priced new home is affordable to a smaller share of the households in New York, but New York is the largest metro area by population size with over 7 million households.

Interest Rates

The NAHB 2019 priced-out estimates also present how interest rates affect the number of households would be priced out of the new home market. If the mortgage interest rate goes up, the monthly mortgage payments will increase as well and therefore higher household income thresholds to qualify a mortgage loan. Table 4 shows the number of households priced out of the market for a new median priced home at $355,183 by each 25 basis-point increase in interest rate from 2.85% to 10.85%. When interest rates goes up from 2.85% to 3.10%, around 1.26 million households could no longer afford buying median-priced new homes. An increase from 4.85% to 5.10% could price approximately one million households out of the market. However, about 423,000 households would be squeezed out of the market if interest rate goes up to 10.85% from 10.6%. This diminishing effects happen because only a few households at the thinner end of household income distribution will be affected. On the contrary, when interest rates are relatively low, 25 basis-point increase would affect a larger number of households at the thicker part of income distribution.

Table 4. US Households Priced Out of the Market by an Increase in Interest Rates, 2019

Footnotes[1]According to the 2017 American Housing Survey (funded by HUD and conducted by the Census Bureau), 74 percent of the home buyers who moved into their homes in 2016 or 2017 had a regular primary mortgage on the home.[2]Private mortgage insurance premium (PMI) is obtained from the PMI Cost Calculator( https://www.hsh.com/calc-pmionly.html)[3]Median credit score information is shown in the article “Four ways today’s high home prices affect the larger economy” October 2018 Urban Institute https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/four-ways-todays-high-home-prices-affect-larger-economy[4]Producing metro level estimates from the ACS PUMS involves aggregating Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA) level data according to the latest definitions of metropolitan areas. Due to complexity of these procedures and since metro level insurance rates tend to remain stable over time, NAHB revises these estimates only periodically.

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http://www.nahbclassic.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=265844&_ga=2.145431924.1759393123.1547037557-774800730.1539205172

December usually slowest month for housing market | North Salem Realtor

  • December is usually the slowest month for the housing market, but this season is not so normal. Some unique dynamics may make this December one of the better times to both buy and sell a home.
  • First and foremost, mortgage rates are turning what was a red-hot market into a lukewarm market, and that is motivating buyers more than usual.
  • Rates are now about a full percentage point higher than they were a year ago, hovering now just below 5 percent. They are expected to move higher in 2019, however.
H/O: Winter Housing market Chicago suburb  1
A real estate agent shows a home in a Chicago suburb.
Photo: Larry Collins

December is usually the slowest month for the housing market, but this season is not so normal. Some unique dynamics may make this December one of the better times to both buy and sell a home.

First and foremost, mortgage rates are turning what was a red-hot market into a lukewarm market, and that is motivating buyers more than usual. That’s because home prices ran up so far so fast during the recent historic housing shortage, that higher rates are having an outsized impact.

Real estate agent Lynn Fairfield of Re/Max Suburban held an open house Sunday in suburban Chicago, and rates were front and center in the living room conversations.

“I see more people buying right now because they’re afraid rates will be higher in 2019,” said Fairfield.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed spiked this past fall, after flatlining over the summer. Rates are now about a full percentage point higher than they were a year ago, hovering now just below 5 percent. They are expected to move higher in 2019, however.

Combine that with strong home price appreciation over the past two years, and some buyers, especially first-timers, have now hit an affordability wall. That is why sales of both new and existing homes have been weaker for several months, but that also presents an opportunity for buyers. Prices are finally starting to ease — or, at least, the gains are shrinking.

Prices are usually lower in the winter months, in fact 18 percent lower in the Chicago area on average than at the peak of the market in June, according to Re/Max. So add higher rates to that, and sellers will have to be more flexible this year. The sky is no longer the limit. Not even close.

“The housing market always lets up a little in the fall, when kids are back in school and the home shopping season wraps up for the holidays,” said Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. “But this fall and winter are shaping up to be more favorable for those buyers who have struggled to get into the housing market for several years amid red-hot competition.”

Zillow is seeing a sharp increase in the share of properties with price cuts, even in overheated markets like Seattle, Las Vegas and Boston.

H/O: Winter Housing market Chicago suburb 
Real estate agent Lynn Fairfield, with RE/MAX Suburban, shows a home in a Chicago suburb.
Photo: Larry Collins

Of course the number of new listings are the lowest in December, as a new home is not traditionally a holiday gift, and anyone with children doesn’t want to move during the school year.

“Though the holiday season is not going to give you plenty of options to choose from, there are reasons why you should NOT put your home search on hold for the holidays,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com. “Chief among them, December is the best time of year if you want to avoid competitions.”

Views per property are 21 percent lower in December than they are during the rest of the year, according to Realtor.com.

While supply and competition may both be at their low point, motivation is at its high point, for both buyers and sellers.

“That buyer has to move. Either they have a lease expiring Jan. 1, or they have saved enough money for their down payment, so they are motivated to buy,” said Fairfield. “A lot of people are more motivated price-wise from the selling standpoint too, because they too want to get to their next location.”

read more…

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/03/december-usually-slow-for-home-sales-but-that-might-change-this-year.html

Pending home sales down 10 months in a row as rates rise | North Salem Real Estate

Pending home sales declined slightly in October in all regions but the Northeast, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* www.nar.realtor/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 2.6 percent to 102.1 in October, down from 104.8 in September. However, year-over-year contract signings dropped 6.7 percent, making this the tenth straight month of annual decreases.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said that ten straight months of decline certainly isn’t favorable news for the housing sector. “The recent rise in mortgage rates have reduced the pool of eligible homebuyers,” he said.

Yun notes that a similar period of decline occurred during the 2013 Taper Tantrum when interest rates jumped from 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent. After 11 months – November 2013 to September 2014 – sales finally rebounded when rates decreased. “But this time, interests rates are not going down, in fact, they are probably going to increase even further,” Yun noted.

While the short-term outlook is uncertain, Yun stressed that he is very optimistic about the long-term outlook. The current home sales level matches sales in 2000. “However, mortgage rates are much lower today compared to earlier this century, when mortgage rates averaged 8 percent. Additionally, there are more jobs today than there were two decades ago,” said Yun. “So, while the long-term prospects look solid, we just have to get through this short-term period of uncertainty.”

All four major regions saw a decline when compared to a year ago, with the West seeing the most pronounced drop. Yun said that decline is not at all surprising. “The West region experienced the fastest run-up in home prices in a short time and therefore, has essentially priced out many consumers,” Yun said.

Yun suggests that the Federal Reserve should be less aggressive in raising rates. He cites the collapse in oil prices and the decrease in gasoline prices. “The inflationary pressure is all but disappearing. Given that condition, there is less of a need to aggressively raise interest rates. Looking at the broader economy and keeping in mind that the housing sector is a great contributor to the economy, it would be wise for the Federal Reserve to slow the raising of rates to see how inflation develops.”

Yun pointed to year-over-year increases in active listings from data at realtor.com® to illustrate a potential rise in inventory. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., Columbus, Ohio, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. and San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif. saw the largest increase in active listings in October compared to a year ago.

Yun expects existing-home sales this year to decrease 3.1 percent to 5.34 million, and the national median existing-home price to increase 4.7 percent. Looking ahead to next year, existing sales are forecast to decline 0.4 percent and home prices to drop roughly 2.5 percent.

October Pending Home Sales Regional Breakdown

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 0.7 percent to 92.9 in October, and is now 2.9 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index fell 1.8 percent to 100.4 in October and is 4.9 percent lower than October 2017.

Pending home sales in the South fell 1.1 percent to an index of 118.9 in October, which is 4.6 percent lower than a year ago. The index in the West decreased 8.9 percent in October to 84.8 and fell 15.3 percent below a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

###

*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: NAR’s November Housing Minute video will be released on November 30, Existing-Home Sales for November will be reported December 19, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be December 28; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

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https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/pending-home-sales-slip-2-6-percent-in-october

Mortgage rates fall | North Salem Real Estate

So far this year, the 30-year-fixed has averaged 4.53%, compared to 3.99% in 2017

Rates for home loans tumbled as turmoil rocked global financial markets, but any reprieve in rates may come too late for would-be home buyers or refinancers.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.81% in the November 21 week, down 13 basis points, mortgage liquidity provider Freddie Mac said Wednesday. That’s the biggest weekly decline since January 2015 and the lowest level for the popular product since early October. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.24%, down 12 basis points during the week. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 4.09%, down from 4.15%.

Those rates don’t include fees associated with obtaining mortgage loans.

Fixed-rate mortgages follow the U.S. 10-year Treasury noteTMUBMUSD10Y, +0.00%  , although with a slight delay. As a global stock sell-off has raged over the past week, bonds have been the best house in a bad neighborhood. The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond touched a six-week low Monday. Bond yields decline as prices rise, and vice versa.

Meanwhile, this week has brought a raft of fresh information on the housing market, little of it cheery.

Sales of already-owned homes perked up in October, but are still lower than the year-ago selling pace by more than 5%. Home builders broke ground on more — but not enough — homes. And one fresh data point bears watching: mortgage applications for newly-constructed houses are plunging, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. As the chart above shows, they’re now lower than year-ago levels by double digits.

It’s possible more new-home buyers are making their purchases with cash as interest rates rise. But it’s just as likely that the tumble in applications is an early warning sign on new-home sales in the coming months. If so, that would mean trouble for the housing market — and the economy.

Only about 1.86 million Americans now have an “interest rate incentive” to refinance, data provider Black Knight said earlier in November. And refis made up the smallest share of all mortgage applications since December 2000 this past week, the Mortgage Bankers said. Housing market conditions may be easing enough for motivated buyers to catch a break, and there may be brief windows in which some homeowners can grab a refinance. But if Americans aren’t watching, or aren’t ready to pounce, those opportunities may slip by.


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https://www.marketwatch.com/story/mortgage-rates-slide-the-fastest-in-four-years-but-it-may-be-too-late-for-the-housing-market-2018-11-21

Millennials drive homeownership rate increase | North Salem Real Estate

The homeownership rate increased slightly in the third quarter, driven primarily by a jump in first-time homebuyers.

The homeownership rate increased to 64.4% in the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is up slightly from 64.3% in the second quarter and from 63.9% in the third quarter of 2017.

Click to Enlarge

Homeownership Rate Q3

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

This increase was driven primarily by first-time homebuyers as more Millennials opted out of renting and entered into the homeownership market.

“Led by another surge in owner household formation, homeownership rates are up again, but those gains are not driven by those who experienced the housing crash and lived to tell about it,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow director of economic research and outreach. “First-time home buyers drove the market this year.”

“The homeownership rate of the 45 to 55 age bracket dropped quarter-over-quarter, while the under 35 age bracket continues to rally,” Olsen said. “Their homeownership rate is up a whopping 1.2% since Q3 2017 to 36.8%.”

Homeownership among those under age 35 increased from 35.6% in the third quarter 2017 and 36.5% in the second quarter this year to 36.8% in the third quarter 2018, the report showed.

Meanwhile, those ages 35 to 44 years dropped from 60% in the second quarter to 59.5% in the third quarter. This is still up slightly from 59.3% in the third quarter 2017. Those ages 45 to 54 years also saw a decrease, falling from 70.6% in the second quarter to 69.7% in the third. This is also still up from 69.1% in the third quarter of 2017.

Older generations also saw an increase in their homeownership rate. The rate for those ages 55 to 64 increased from 75.1% the previous quarter and 75% the previous year to 75.6% in the third quarter. Those ages 65 years and older saw an increase from 78% in the second quarter to 78.6% in the third quarter this year, however this is down slightly from 78.9% in the third quarter of 2017.

“Today’s report shows that more people are choosing homeownership over renting, and a large part of that story is the historically large number of first-time homebuyers,” said Tian Liu, Genworth Mortgage Insurance chief economist. “In the past two years, first-time homebuyers have purchased at least 1.9 million homes each year. That is more than the pace of household formation over the same period, meaning that the transition from renting to own is the more powerful driver of housing demand.”

“That has also been an important and often overlooked reason for the rapid rise in home prices, as more buyers came into the market,” Liu said. “Paradoxically, the rise of first-time homebuyers, which has pushed home prices up, also is slowing home sales today. These events caused the homeownership rate and home sales to diverge this quarter.”

The Hispanic homeownership rate saw a quarterly drop as it fell from 46.6% in the second quarter to 46.3% in the third quarter. This was still up slightly from 46.1% in the third quarter of 2017.

Among whites, the homeownership rate increased from 72.5% in the third quarter of 2017 and 72.9% in the second quarter this year to 73.1% in the third quarter of 2018. Blacks also saw an increase from last quarter, rising from 41.6% to 41.7%, however the rate dropped from last year’s 42%.

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https://www.housingwire.com/articles/47259-millennials-drive-homeownership-rate-increase-in-q3?utm_campaign=Newsletter%20-%20HousingWire%20Daily&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=67103596&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_pUkX9OvEYkaBpJ1jmUzH1E6CDF1CW5tJ2zdACxjVFaOimvN7qzgg3CY5GZ8vTRjO9elaur9WodJE-ofZoDFiWSfnEPA&_hsmi=67103596

Even Warren Buffett overpriced his home | North Salem Real Estate

Homeowners on the West Coast typically won’t have much trouble off-loading their properties in today’s market. Unless, apparently, they’re Warren Buffett.

The iconic investor and Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A, +0.16%   chairman struggled for more than 1.5 years to sell his home in the gated community Emerald Bay, near Laguna Beach, Calif. But he finally did so, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday — for nearly a third less than his original asking price.

Buffett purchased the house, which was built in 1936, for $150,000 in 1971 and put it on the market in February 2017 for $11 million, Bloomberg reported. Last month, he decided to lower the listing price to $7.9 million, after it continued to languish on the market.

The home sold below asking, at just $7.5 million.

The property’s listing agent declined to identify the buyer. “I feel very good about the couple who bought the house and hope their family gets as much enjoyment from it as our family did,” Buffett said in a statement following the sale.

The house has plenty of selling points, including a nearly 3,600-square-feet interior and ocean views. Some ads for the property have even played up the Buffett connection with listing photos that include his beloved Coca-ColaKO, -0.03%  and The Wall Street Journal (a newspaper that’s owned by News Corp., the same company that owns MarketWatch).

So why did it take this long for a buyer to bite? There are lessons for every homeowner:

Buffett priced it too high, even for a fancy property

For starters, it appears that Buffett stumbled on one of the most common pitfalls that can cause a home to linger on the market for much longer than anticipated: He overpriced it. The median price for homes in the same ZIP code as Buffett’s property is roughly $1.88 million, according to data from real estate firm Redfin. And homes in that area stay on the market for a median of 226 days. Homes in Emerald Bay are listed for a median price of $6.5 million, according to Realtor.com (Realtor.com is operated by News Corp NWSA, +0.91%  subsidiary Move Inc.)

So, even at the home’s new listing price of $7.9 million, it is still well above the median price for the area at a time when home prices are starting to waveracross the country.

It’s not unusual for more expensive homes to stay on the market longer because there’s typically a smaller pool of potential buyers out there, said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of communications at Attom Data Solutions, a real-estate data firm in Irvine, Calif. Still, the sheer length of time Buffett’s home has been up for sale suggests the list price doesn’t fit with buyers’ expectations. And the longer the house remains unsold, the more wary many buyers become.

Interest rates are on their way up, which makes buyers skittish

Other developments in recent months have also worked against high-end home sellers like Buffet though, Blomquist said. “Interest rates have ticked up,” he said. “This can really magnify the amount you’re paying. That’s one of the factors that has started to slow down some of the higher end markets.”

Additionally, the GOP-led tax reform package reduced the mortgage interest deduction and capped the property tax deduction at just $10,000. Property taxes for a multimillion-dollar home in a high-tax state like California could easily exceed that amount — and that could be making buyers more hesitant, Blomquist said.

There’s no shortage of homes for sale in Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach has also seen an increase in the number of homes on the market. Inventory there grew by 3% over the past year as of February. Nationally, home inventory has dropped 14%, according to Redfin. That makes the market more favorable to buyers, especially those in search of a bargain. In January, just 10% of properties in Buffett’s same ZIP code were sold above the list price, compared with 19% of homes nationally, according to Redfin.

If you’re looking to avoid some of Buffett’s mistakes, here’s what else to keep in mind.

Snoop around other homes for sale in the area — they’re your competition

If a home stays on the market too long, that alone could weigh on buyers’ minds. “They’ll think there’s something wrong with it,” Blomquist said. “That psychology builds on itself the longer it sits on the market.”

To avoid overpricing, experts suggest that sellers check what other homes in the area are selling for, and even consider asking a real-estate agent to show you the inside of those homes.

If your home isn’t selling, “Go see what they’ve got that you don’t,” said Mindy Jensen, the author of “How to Sell Your Home” and the community manager at real-estate website BiggerPockets.

In Buffett’s case, his home lacks many of the upgrades and amenities that buyers expect in Laguna Beach, Redfin RDFN, -2.19%  agent Max Black told MarketWatch in March. “At a price tag of $11 million, or just over $3,000 per square foot, luxury buyers will be comparing this property to other non-oceanfront homes with more upgrades that are priced in the $2,200 to $2,400 per square foot range,” Black said.

Don’t expect prospective buyers to have too much imagination

The listing for Buffett’s home shows personal touches that Buffett likes, but non-celebrities shouldn’t stage their homes this way, Jensen said. “Buyers have no imagination,” she said. “If they walk in and see you’ve got a bright green wall, they could say, ‘I hate that, so I won’t buy this house.’” Keep paint and finishes neutral, Jensen said. A few family photos are fine, but subtlety is good.

Some cosmetic changes can also help. Even if an entire kitchen renovation isn’t realistic, smaller improvements like fixing broken door knobs, or replacing outdated hardware on cabinets are good moves.

A fresh paint job is another easy upgrade, Jensen said. For example, homes with blue bathrooms, specifically lighter shades, sold for $5,400 more than expected, according to a paint color analysis from the real estate website ZillowZG, +1.05% “Paint is one of the cheapest things you can do to fix your house,” Jensen said.

Replacing the roof, on the other hand, isn’t likely to up the home’s value very much, relative to how much it will cost the seller.

Try some psychological warfare: Consider underpricing the home

If home sellers want to get their property off the market as quickly as they can, they’ll need to be aggressive with their pricing. And one sure-fire way of doing this is by pricing the property so it’s more affordable than other comparable listings.

Sellers should look for specific, psychological milestones when it comes to prices, Blomquist said. In other words, if the average listing price is $200,000, a seller may see more interest in the property if it’s priced at $190,000.

While this strategy is sure to speed the process along in nearly any market, in a competitive one it could also pay off — literally. “If people will flock to what they see as a bargain, they may bid up the price until it matches the desired sales price,” Blomquist said.

read more…


https://www.marketwatch.com/story/warren-buffett-is-having-trouble-selling-his-home-how-to-avoid-that-same-fate-2018-02-28

Westchester sales and prices down | North Salem Real Estate

Westchester sales down 5.2%

WHITE PLAINS—Home sale prices were up sharply in the third quarter in the four-county market area of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, with the exception of Westchester County where sales prices were relatively flat as compared to a year earlier.

Sales volume was off marginally throughout the region, with overall third quarter sales down 5.2% in Westchester; 1.8% in Orange and 1.2% in Rockland, while Putnam County’s sales numbers were flat with an increase of 0.3%.

Market results were mixed depending on product type and location. Realtors interviewed by Real Estate In-Depth said that while some negative market influences, specifically the cap on SALT deductions, low inventory and higher interest rates, may be impacting some buying decisions, it is way too early to tell just what real impacts they will have on the market going forward.

Westchester County posted a third quarter median sale price for a single-family home of $679,000, which was slightly lower than the third quarter of 2017 ($680,000). The median sale price for a single-family home in Putnam was $360,000, up 5.9% from the third quarter of 2017; the median sale price in Rockland was $475,000, up 6.7% and the Orange County median was $275,000, up 7.8%.

Hudson Valley Home Sales—Third Quarter 2018
County                 Change from 2017
Putnam                +0.3%
Rockland             -1.2%
Orange                -1.8%
Westchester       -5.2%

Editor’s NoteFor further coverage, including region-wide home sales statistics

Paul Breunich, president and CEO of William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Real Estate, said in connection with the Westchester County market that the declining sales numbers, while noteworthy, are not a sign of a troubled market. He insisted that the market appears to be in transition and that most market observers expect home sales to fall between 4% to 6% for the year countywide.

“The market is in an adjustment period and is in flux,” Breunich said. “With what is going on in the economy—the stock market, GDP, (low) unemployment and consumer confidence through the roof, that is all pointing to a very strong, healthy real estate market, but that is not being reflected in our marketplace, yet.”

Breunich said that he is concerned about consumer market perceptions of a severe downtown in Westchester home sales based on erroneous sales numbers released recently by a local brokerage firm that garnered national media coverage.

“These news stories have contributed toward an exaggerated negative narrative about the state of the real estate market in Westchester, spreading misinformation and miseducating consumers,” Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s stated in its third quarter market report on Westchester County. “The actual picture is dramatically different, according to our own analysis, and varies greatly by town and price range.”

He noted that the market is seeing a decline in sales, but not double digits as was erroneously reported in the press. He also said that some locations are stronger than others both in terms of home sales volume and pricing.

“You have to look at the reality of it,” Breunich said. “The market is still down five to six percentage points. That is not something to pull the fire alarm on about, but it is something to be aware of.”

He added that the federal tax reform law and the cap on SALT deductions might be having some impact on demand. However, there are other factors that influence demand, such as high consumer confidence and the strong economy, for example, and the market is working through all the factors, both positive and negative.

While bullish on the future of the Westchester County residential market, Breunich said the real estate market is no longer booming, but is in transition. He said it is too early to tell the true impact of federal tax reform and added that the first indications of its effect on the market will likely show up in the next six months or so when people file their taxes in the spring of 2019.

Joseph Rand, managing partner of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, said the federal tax reform might be having a small impact on the very high end of the market where the loss of deductibility for mortgage interest and local taxes hits the hardest.

He noted that price appreciation was more pronounced in the lower‐priced markets.

In terms of the loss of the SALT deductions, he said, “We’re talking about a marginal, not a major, impact. Prices aren’t rising at the rate they are in the lower‐priced markets, they’re basically flat, not falling.”

A plus for the marketplace is that inventory levels are starting to respond to rising prices, noting that for the first time since 2012, inventory levels went up in the third quarter.

Rand noted the what is happening region wide is that after years of decline, single-family inventory was higher in almost every county in the region, stabilizing near that six‐month level that usually signals a balancing market. This market phenomenon occurs when demand is strong, and supply stays steady (or goes down) and prices go up. In response to the rising prices, eventually new inventory comes onto the market, he explained.

“Going forward, we believe that the appetite in the market can handle both the impact of tax reform and this increased inventory while still driving continued price appreciation,” Rand said. “With strong economic conditions, relatively low‐interest rates (and the specter of rate increases on the horizon), and pricing still at attractive 2004‐05 levels, we expect a robust market through the end of the year.”

Brokerage network Westchester Real Estate Inc. in its third quarter market report on Westchester County also discussed the positive and negative economic and regulatory forces affecting the housing market.

The firm concluded that with those forces factored it, it believes, “Westchester properties will always remain in high demand based on our proximity to NYC and fantastic quality of life. While we may see pullbacks or shifts at times, our housing market possesses innate strength and resilience. Prices are not decreasing, home sales are still strong, and Westchester’s real estate market is just fine!”

read more…

Soaring lumber prices hitting home buyers, rehabbers | North Salem Real Estate

2_By_4_Clue_Stick.jpg (1132×1052)

Ranjit Sharma is a custom home builder, who specializes in upscale houses with fine trim and old world woodwork.

His company has been on a tear the past five years, thanks to the soaring housing market.

But he now worries about rising prices from tariffs on Canadian lumber that have sent the price of the beams, joists, and other wood he uses up almost 10 percent this year.

“Everything from the framing to the roofing to the interior trim,” he said,” has had price hikes.”

Reasons for price hikes

It’s not just tariffs causing the price spike:  Western wildfires and last year’s hurricanes in Texas and Florida are also causing many of Sharma’s suppliers to raise prices on materials like drywall.

“We have also seen prices on steel, drywall, flooring, concrete, and just about everything go up,” he said.

And these soaring prices can impact you not only if you are building a new home, but even if you are just rehabbing your kitchen, or replacing your back deck.

Not just home builders affected

Outside a Home Depot store in Deerfield Township, Jack Allen was loading supplies to build a deck and fence.

He says the price of cedar, that he was hoping to use for the fence, has almost doubled in the past year.

“Can’t afford a cedar fence any longer. Each picket is about $4, and there are two pickets every one foot.”

As a result, he’s downgrading to cheaper pressure treated lumber, which will lower his fence cost by a third.

For now, builder Ranjit Sharma is not passing along the price hikes to his home buyers. But he may soon because it’s about to cost him $5,000 – $10,000 more for each house he builds.

What can you do if you are planning a construction project? Builders suggest that cash-strapped homeowners:

Ask about cheaper wood, if you are using cedar or other woods that have spiked in price.

Downside the project (in other words, reduce the size of that deck).

Consider wood-look laminate flooring instead of real wood.

read more…

https://www.abc27.com/news/consumer/don-t-waste-your-money/soaring-lumber-prices-hitting-home-buyers-rehabbers/1410436782