Category Archives: North Salem

Mortgage rates average 4.13% | North Salem 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 sixth consecutive week.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.13 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 8, 2016, up from last week when it averaged 4.08 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.95 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.36 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.34 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 3.17 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.15 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.03 percent.

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

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

“The 10-year Treasury yield dipped this week following the release of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The 30-year mortgage rate rose another 5 basis points to 4.13 percent, starting the month 18 basis points higher than this time last year. As rates continue to climb and the year comes to a close, next week’s FOMC meeting will be the talk of the town with the markets 94 percent certain of a quarter-point-rate hike.”

Housing bubble is probably more myth than reality | North Salem Real Estate

 

If you own a home and you’ve visited real estate information websites Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, or any of the like recently, you’ve probably noticed an interesting trend: Your home is increasing in value at a rate that’s far and away higher than the national rate of inflation.

Is housing bubble 2.0 around the corner?

According to the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which tracks residential real estate prices nationally, as well as within 20 large metropolitan regions, residential real estate prices rose 5.3% between Aug. 2015 and Aug. 2016. By comparison, the national measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index, has moved higher by a little more than 1% over the trailing 12-month period.

If we back the data out a bit further, the outperformance of housing prices becomes even more apparent. Real housing prices — essentially home price increases with inflation backed out — have risen by 25% just since 2012, and are now sitting at their highest point since the Great Recession. This is noteworthy considering that in the 107 years between 1890 and 1997, housing prices generally tracked the national inflation rate very closely, at least based on data from Robert Shiller in the book Irrational Exuberance. Only over the past two decades have we witnessed a diversion from the mean, with the first diversion leading to a massive housing bubble that’s still fresh in the minds of many homeowners.

This latest outperformance in housing prices, as well as the fresh memory of the recent housing collapse less than one decade prior, has some pundits predicting that housing bubble 2.0 could be right around the corner. A Dec. 2015 interview with 66 industry experts conducted by Zillow found that more than 10 believed the Boston, Los Angeles, and Miami markets were at risk of entering a bubble, while even more pundits believed New York and San Francisco were already there.

Images

IMAGE SOURCE: ARMCHAIRBUILDER.COM VIA FLICKR.

Home prices can continue to soar

However, it’s possible these industry experts could be completely wrong. Based on the evidence available at the moment, I’d contend that we’re not even close to a bubble in housing prices, and that home prices could very well outpace the national rate of inflation for many years to come.

Let’s have a closer look at why home prices could keep soaring.

1. Supply constraints

The biggest factor that could push home prices continuously higher is the trade-off between homebuilder supply and homeowner demand. According to Jesse Edgerton, an economist at J.P. Morgan, most national markets simply don’t have the homebuilder supply to meet demand, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

In an interview with Yahoo! Finance, Edgerton had this to say:

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.

Data from J.P. Morgan indicates that while housing prices are rebounding rapidly from their recessionary lows, homebuilders appear content in increasing their supply at only a modest pace. Furthermore, the areas where an expansion of construction would appear to be beneficial — San Jose, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and so on — are also the areas that are the most limited in their ability to respond to an increase in demand.

It’s tough to predict how homebuilders will respond if prices continue to climb. For some builders, the allure of profits may be too great to ignore. However, if homebuilders can prudently manage their supply growth, they’ll likely encourage home prices to head higher at a rate that handily outpaces inflation.

 

2. A continuation of the low-lending-rate environment

Secondly, the ongoing low-lending-rate environment should continue to spur demand for new homes.

A home is arguably the largest purchase Americans will make during their lifetimes, and historically low mortgage rates could be the catalyst that coerces prospective homeowners to pull the trigger. Even more appealing is the fact that many Americans have far better FICO credit scores than they had a decade prior, meaning they’d probably qualify for sweeter deals from lenders.

Based on data released by FICO last year, the national average FICO score of 695 was an all-time high. Comparatively, the national average FICO score in Oct. 2005 was 688. FICO’s data showed a 3% increase in the number of consumers with a FICO score above 800 compared to the prior decade (FICO scores max out at 850), with a 2.1% decline in consumers with a FICO score under 550. Long story short, Americans appear to be in better shape than ever when it comes to getting a mortgage.

Though the Federal Reserve is the “X factor” here, and it can be completely unpredictable, the case for raising the federal funds target rate isn’t that strong. Inflation remains below the Fed’s target level, job creation has been up and down in 2016, and external factors, such as Brexit and China’s slowing GDP growth, could weigh on the growth outlook in the United States. After aiming for four interest-rate hikes in 2016, it’s quite possible the Fed ends the year without making a single move, which favors the continuation of a low-lending-rate environment.

 

3. The “rent” vs. “buy” trade-off

Over the longer term, the trade-off between renting and buying a home would also seem to favor rising housing prices.

If interest rates do normalize over the long term and head back to around 3%, it would presumably work in favor of the rental market. Higher interest rates mean higher mortgage rates, which in turn should push on-the-fence homebuyers back into renting. When this happens, landlords become privy to significant rental pricing power and are able to increase rental rates well above the national rate of inflation. Just the expectation of rising interest rates at some point soon has been pushing rental prices around the country higher, at a pace that’s well above the national inflation rate.

However, there comes a tipping point in the renting vs. buying trade-off where rental prices increase enough that buying a home actually becomes the cheaper option on a monthly basis. It happened to me in 2007, and it could very well happen to millions of Americans as rental inflation increases.

 

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http://www.fool.com/mortgages/2016/11/07/no-were-not-in-a-housing-bubble-and-yes-home-price.aspx

FHA increases loan limits going into 2017 | North Salem Real Estate

house sun

Home prices force loan limits higher

The Federal Housing Administration announced plans on Thursday to increase loan limits in 2017, announcing a significant jump in counties set to increase compared to last year.

Due to home price increases, the FHA said that most areas in the country will see a slight increase in loan limits in 2017.

These loan limits are effective for case numbers assigned on or after Jan. 1, 2017, and will remain in effect through the end of the year.

The FHA recalculates its national loan limit on a yearly basis. The limits are based on a percentage calculation of the nation conforming loan limit.

Here are the upcoming changes. In high-cost areas, the FHA national loan limit “ceiling” will increase to $636,150 from $625,500.  FHA will also increase its “floor” to $275,665 from $271,050.

Additionally, the maximum claim amount for FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), or reverse mortgages, will increase to $636,150.

The FHA noted that this amount is 150% of the national conforming limit of $424,100.

The maximum loan limits for forward mortgages increased in 2,948 counties, which is attributed to changes in housing prices and the resulting change to FHA’s “floor” and “ceiling” limits.

There were no areas with a decrease in the maximum loan limits for forward mortgages though they remain unchanged in 286 counties.

This is compared to last year, which increased the loan limits in 188 counties due to changes in housing prices.

As an added note, FHA’s minimum national loan limit “floor” is set at 65% of the national conforming loan limit of $424,100. The FHA said the floor applies to those areas where 115% of the median home price is less than 65% of the national conforming loan limit.

For any area that doesn’t fit this and the loan limit exceeds the “floor,” it’s considered a high cost area. The maximum FHA loan limit “ceiling” for high-cost areas is 150% of the national conforming limit.

Check here for a complete list of FHA loan limits.

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38657-fha-increases-loan-limits-going-into-2017?eid=311691494&bid=1602929

September Housing Starts Decline on Multifamily Weakness | North Salem Real Estate

The September pace of total housing starts decreased 9% due a substantial decline in multifamily production. Single-family construction continues, as expected, along a positive trend.

According to estimates from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, single-family starts increased 8.1% to a 783,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate in September. Year-to-date, single-family housing starts are running almost 10% higher than the year-to-date total for September of 2015.

Single-family permit growth points to additional growth. On a year-to-date basis, single-family permits from January to September of 2016 are more than 8% higher than this time in 2015.

Multifamily starts (units in 2+ properties) posted a large decline in September after a few months of strength. Apartment construction starts declined 38% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 264,000. Multifamily permits on a year-to-date basis are about 11% lower than this time in 2015.

Taken together, these trends are consistent with the NAHB forecast, which sees gathering strength for single-family construction and a leveling off of multifamily production as the market finds a balance between housing demand and supply.

sf-starts

Regionally, single-family starts showed strength in the Northeast, increasing 20%% on a monthly basis. Gains for single-family starts were also realized in the South (12%) and Midwest (6%). The West posted a slight drop of 2% after a strong August.

On a year-to-date basis, however, all regions have posted gains. Single-family starts are up 12% in the Northeast, 12% in the Midwest, 8% in the South and 6% in the West when comparing the September 2016 year-to-date total relative to the comparable September 2015 year-to-date totals.

construction

Taking the long view, an examination of the count of homes currently under construction provides the degree of market mix and momentum of the recovery in home construction. As of September, 58% of units under construction in the nation were multifamily (605,000). The count of 605,000 is a 13% gain over a year earlier.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/september-housing-starts-decline-on-multifamily-weakness/

McMansion home construction rises | North Salem Real Estate

chart1finalNew homes with 5,000 square feet or more of living space increased both as a share of all new construction and in absolute number in 2015, according to the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction. In 2015, the share of new homes this size reached a post-recession peak of 3.9% of new homes started. The total number of 5,000+ square-foot homes started that year was 28,000 units.

chart2finalIn 2012, the number of new homes started with 5,000+ square feet rose to 15,000 units, yet their share remained at only 2.8%. In 2015, while the number of 5,000+ square feet homes started (28,000) was the highest since 2008, their share of the new market (3.9%) was the highest since 2004. A previous postdiscussed the declining trend in the median and average size of new single-family homes due to an expansion in entry-level market wherein home size is expected to trend lower. This is not necessarily a contradiction, because 5,000+ square foot homes are relatively uncommon and represent the extreme upper tail of the distribution. The extreme upper tail can behave differently than the center of the distribution, measured by the average or median.

In the boom year of 2006, 3.0% or 45,000 new homes started were 5,000 square feet or larger. In 2007, the share of new homes this size was 3.6%, yet the total number of 5,000+ square-foot homes started that year fell to 37,000. In 2008, only 20,000 such homes were started or 3.2% of the total. From 2009 to 2011, fewer than 13,000 of these large homes were started every year, accounting for less than 3% of all new construction during this period. The extent to which the 5,000+ square foot homes have recovered, roughly to where they were in 2008, shows a growing trend at the top of the market at least through 2015.

Growing number of firms offering energy-efficient modular design | North Salem Real Estate

The Alfreds' net-zero residence, in Cumberland, Maine, is a modular design by BrightBuilt Home.
James R. SalomonThe Alfreds’ net-zero residence, in Cumberland, Maine, is a modular design by BrightBuilt Home.

When Shaun Alfreds and his wife decided to build a house for their family of five in Cumberland, Maine, they didn’t know if a high-performance project would be within their budget. “We aren’t wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but we wanted an energy-efficient home,” says Alfreds, a chief operating officer at HealthInfoNet, a local health information technology company.

After some research, however, the couple realized that they achieve their dream for a nominal additional investment over the cost of a conventional house if they opted for a modular high-performance house. They chose a two-story, Cape Cod–style design from Portland, Maine–based BrightBuilt Home, and moved in last December.

At more than 3,000 square feet, the house is spacious, but its full sun exposure and a 10-kilowatt solar array of 39 photovoltaic (PV) panels should cover its energy consumption year-round. Alfreds says the house cost “almost exactly what other [builders] were bidding” for a standard, code-compliant project that was custom designed. And their small additional investment goes to building equity in the house, rather than to paying utilities.

BrightBuilt, a sister company of local firm Kaplan Thomson Architects (KTA), joins an increasing number of design companies that are expanding the market for high-performance residential projects. While KTA has custom-designed many energy-efficient houses, principal Phil Kaplan, AIA, says the firm also wanted to offer an off-the-shelf product. In 2015, it launched BrightBuilt with nine design templates. Starting at $175 to $180 per square foot, the houses bring net-zero energy to a price more people can afford. “We’re definitely seeing a lot of demand,” Kaplan says.

But some architects and builders have found ways to lower the price of net-zero housing even more.

De Verneil residence, by Deltec Homes (Ridgeline model)
Marie de VerneilDe Verneil residence, by Deltec Homes (Ridgeline model)

Marie de Verneil dreamed of building a retirement home on land she owned in central Virginia. “To me, green was very important,” she says. However, her savings from teaching French and international relations at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, didn’t seem like enough. “It’s kind of discouraging for someone like me,” she says.

Kitchen, de Verneil residence
Marie de VerneilKitchen, de Verneil residence

Then de Verneil heard about Deltec Homes, in Asheville, N.C. The company—known for its distinctly round, prefabricated, and hurricane-resistant houses—recently launched Renew, a collection of models that use about two-thirds the energy of a conventional house and can include a PV array. De Verneil estimates she spent $250,000 on her 1,600-square-foot house (less than $160 per square foot), which includes a roof-mounted solar array. Her monthly electric bill is $30, the base fee for taxes and distribution. And when she is retired and living on a fixed income, she knows she’ll never have to say, “I can’t put the heat on.”

For those wanting to build a passive or net-zero energy house, right-sizing expectations is a crucial step to meeting one’s budget. And, as Deltec president Steve Linton adds, every project—modular or not—must be tailored to the particular site and climate. The company’s design team also conducts an energy model to evaluate site variables, solar energy capacity, building-shell size, features, and cost trade-offs.

Much of the market for high-performance housing is around single-family units in the suburbs, but the past few years have seen an uptick for multifamily dwellings and affordable housing projects in cities, including Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.

For low- and middle-income residents, in particular, an energy-efficient house can provide substantial benefits, says Orlando Velez, director of Housing Programs and Community at Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C.The organization recently built six passive townhouses last year in the district’s Ivy City neighborhood, whichhas a lot of air pollution. By creating a tight building envelope and filtering outside air, “you’re improving the air quality significantly,” Velez says. “It’s a healthier living environment.”

With savings from the lower utility bills, he says, residents may be able to spend more within the community. The organization plans to study those benefits over time to know whether energy efficiency is the best investment for its limited funds.

Ridgeline model in Deltec Homes' Renew Collection
Spacialists.com courtesy Deltec HomesRidgeline model in Deltec Homes’ Renew Collection
Interior rendering, Ridgeline model
Courtesy Deltec HomesInterior rendering, Ridgeline model

Living in a high-performance house can take some adjustment. Residents are often unfamiliar with high-tech HVAC equipment, such as energy recovery ventilators and solar water heaters. A tight building envelope also means that the size of the HVAC system can be decreased (fresh air supply is increased for indoor air quality purposes). The word that many residents use is “comfort”—indoor temperatures stay remarkably consistent across different areas of a house throughout the year.

 

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http://www.architectmagazine.com/technology/living-the-dream-of-a-net-zero-house_o

Custom Home Building Steady | North Salem Real Estate

NAHB’s analysis of Census Data from the Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design survey indicates that the number of custom home building starts (homes built on an owner’s land, with either the owner or a builder acting as the general contractor) posted a slight increase on a year-over year basis as of the second quarter of 2016. There were 47,000 total custom starts for the quarter, compared to 45,000 for the second quarter of 2015.

Over the course of the last four quarters, there were 167,000 total custom single-family home construction starts. Note that this definition of custom home building does not include homes intended for sale, so the analysis uses a narrow definition of the sector.

As measured on a one-year moving average, the market share of custom home building in terms of total single-family starts is now 22%, down from a cycle high of 31.5% set during the second quarter of 2009.

custom 2q

The onset of the housing crisis and the Great Recession interrupted a 15-year long trend away from homes built on the eventual owner’s land. As housing production slowed in 2006 and 2007, the market share of this not-for-sale new housing increased as the number of single-family starts declined. The share increased because the credit crunch made it more difficult for builders to obtain AD&C credit, thus producing relatively greater production declines of for-sale single-family housing.

The market share for custom home building will likely experience ups and downs in the quarters ahead as the overall single-family construction market expands. Recent declines in market share are due to an acceleration in overall single-family construction.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/08/custom-home-building-steady/

Mortgage rates average 3.43% | North Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving slightly lower from the previous week, remaining near their all-time record lows.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.43 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending August 18, 2016, down from last week when it averaged 3.45 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.93 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.74 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.76 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.15 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.76 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.74 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.94 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.

“Ahead of the release of the FOMC minutes for July, 10-year Treasury yields were little changed from the prior week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 2 basis points to 3.43 percent this week, erasing last week’s uptick. For eight consecutive weeks mortgage rates have ranged between 3.41 and 3.48 percent. Inflation is not adding any upward pressure on interest rates as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Consumer Price Index was unchanged in July.”

Dreamy rooftop garden | North Salem Real Estate


The garden will be open to neighbors

All photos by Hiroyuki Oki via Designboom

Never ones to shy away from throwing in alltheplants, Vietnamese architecture firm  Vo Trong Nghiatakes the roof terrace to the next level in this new home in Nha Trang, Vietnam. The firm, working in collaboration with architect Masaaki Iwamoto, made the most of local construction rules—which required a sloped roof that’s at least half-covered in grey or terracota tiles—by creating a dreamy stepped garden brimming with all sorts of flowers, trees, and shrubbery.

The living spaces underneath are like an extension of the garden. Built around airy, vegetated interior courtyards, the living, dining, and bedrooms feel breezy and lush. The polished wood plank floors, white brick walls, and high ceilings certainly also help bring in as much light as possible.

garden1
garden2

 

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Foreclosures nearing decade low | North Salem Real Estate

The number of homes in some stage of foreclosure and the number of seriously delinquent mortgages continued to decline in May, falling to the lowest level since October 2007, according to the latest data from CoreLogic.

CoreLogic’s May 2016 National Foreclosure Report shows the national foreclosure inventory, which is the total number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process and completed foreclosures, hovers around 390,000 homes.

In April, the national foreclosure inventory was roughly406,000 homes, and in March, that figure was 427,000 homes.

According CoreLogic’s report, May’s foreclosure inventory hit the lowest level in nearly nine years.

CoreLogic’s report also showed that in May, the foreclosure inventory declined by 24.5% and completed foreclosures declined by 6.9% compared with May 2015.

The number of completed foreclosures nationwide decreased year over year from 41,000 in May 2015 to 38,000 in May 2016, which represents a decline of 67.9% from the peak of 117,813 in September 2010.

CoreLogic’s report also showed the sustained improvement in the number of mortgages in serious delinquency, defined as loans that are 90 days or more past due, and loans in foreclosure or Real Estate Owned.

According to CoreLogic’s report, the number of mortgages in serious delinquency fell by 21.6% from May 2015 to May 2016, with 1.1 million mortgages, or 2.8% of all mortgages, in this category.

The May 2016 serious delinquency rate is also the lowest in nearly nine years, reaching the lowest level since October 2007.

“The foreclosure rate fell to 1% in May, which is twice the long-term average of 0.5%. However, this masks the underlying progress at the state level,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Twenty-nine states had foreclosure rates below the national average, and all but North Dakota experienced declines in their foreclosure rate compared to the prior year.”

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/37502-foreclosures-serious-delinquencies-nearing-decade-low?eid=311691494&bid=1460292