Category Archives: North Salem

Decline for April Sales Masks 2017 Gains | North Salem Real Estate

Contracts for new single-family home sales fell more than expected in April, declining 11.4% to a 569,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate according to estimates from the joint data release of HUD and the Census Bureau. The decline occurred after solid, positive revisions for new home sales for the first three months of the year.

All told, total new home sales for 2017 stand at 210,000, a 11.3% gain over the 2016 comparable total of 189,000.

NAHB expects new home sales to continue to progress along the established, modest growth trend due to ongonig job growth, improving household formations, continuing favorable housing affordability conditions, and tight existing home inventory.

Inventory growth continued in April. After hovering near 240,000 for most of 2016, inventory has now risen to 268,000. The current months’ supply number stands at a healthy 5.7. Given tight existing inventory, more new homes are required to meet housing demand.

The most recent data also indicate a growing share of homes not-started in builder inventory. For example, on a year-over-year basis, homes under construction in inventory have increased by a little more than 6% over the last year. Completed, ready-to-occupy homes (there are only 59,000) are up 2% since April of last year. In contrast, homes not-started listed in inventory have increased 42%, from 36,000 in April of 2016 to 52,000 last month.

Pricing data in the April report find that the median sales price of new homes sold in April was $309,200, while the average price was $368,300. These levels are below the 2016 annual totals but remain higher than the 2015 data.

Regionally, all areas saw monthly declines in sales in April. Sales were down 26% in the West, 13% in the Midwest, 8% in the Northeast and 4% in the South. As with the national headline number, the monthly numbers obscure growth for 2017. On a year-to-date basis, new home sales are up 26% in the Midwest, 15% in the Northeast, 10% in the South and 7% in the West compared to April of 2016.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/05/decline-for-april-sales-masks-2017-gains/

New Single-Family Home Size Continues to Trend Down | North Salem Real Estate

After increasing and leveling off in recent years, new single-family home size continued along a general trend of decreasing size during the start of 2017. This change marks a reversal of the trend that had been in place as builders focused on the higher end of the market during the recovery. As the entry-level market expands, including growth for townhouses, typical new home size is expected to decline.

According to first quarter 2017 data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, median single-family square floor area was slightly lower at 2,389 square feet. Average (mean) square footage for new single-family homes declined to 2,628 square feet.

On a less volatile one-year moving average, the recent trend of declines in new home size can be see on the graph above, although current readings remain elevated. Since cycle lows (and on a one-year moving average basis), the average size of new single-family homes is 10% higher at 2,624 square feet, while the median size is 14% higher at 2,402 square feet.

The post-recession increase in single-family home size is consistent with the historical pattern coming out of recessions. Typical new home size falls prior to and during a recession as home buyers tighten budgets, and then sizes rise as high-end homebuyers, who face fewer credit constraints, return to the housing market in relatively greater proportions. This pattern was exacerbated during the current business cycle due to market weakness among first-time homebuyers. But the recent declines in size indicate that this part of the cycle has ended and size will trend lower as builders add more entry-level homes into inventory.

In contrast to single-family patterns, new multifamily apartment size is down compared to the pre-recession period. This is due to the weak for-sale multifamily market and strength for rental demand

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/05/new-single-family-size-continues-to-trend-down/

Home prices will not fully recover until 2025 | North Salem Real Estate

Check out any one of the many national home price reports, and headlines scream of new peaks and growing gains each month. Home prices are rising faster than inflation, faster than incomes and faster than some potential buyers can bear. Those reports are heavily weighted toward large metropolitan housing markets.

In fact, most of the U.S. housing market has not recovered from the epic crash of the last decade.

Only about one-third of homes have surpassed their pre-recession peak value, according to a new report from Trulia, a real estate listing and analytics company. Price growth in most markets is so slow that it will take about eight years for the national housing market to fully recover — that is, for all home values either reaching or surpassing their previous peaks.

Huge price gains during the last housing boom were juiced almost entirely by an incredibly loose mortgage lending market that no longer exists.

To say that the housing recovery has been uneven is an understatement. Some markets that have seen huge employment and population growth in the last decade, such as Denver, Seattle and San Francisco, lead the news with bubble-worthy headlines.

Not only have home prices there surpassed their recent peaks, they continue to rise at double-digit paces. Nearly all the homes in Denver and San Francisco (98 percent) have exceeded their pre-recession peak, according to Trulia. Other less obvious markets, like Oklahoma City and Nashville, Tennessee, have also seen the prices of most homes surpass their peak.

In areas hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, fewer than 4 percent of homes have recovered to pre-recession price peaks. These include Las Vegas; Tucson, Arizona; Camden, New Jersey; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and New Haven, Connecticut.

Rising incomes are the leading cause of home price growth, according to Trulia, which looked at four factors: job growth, income growth, population growth and post-recession housing vacancy rates. Income growth showed the greatest correlation to home price growth.

The intuition here is this: “Housing is what economists call a ‘normal good,’ so when incomes rise, households tend to spend more on housing, which pushes up prices,” wrote Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s chief economist, in the report.

Job growth didn’t correlate at all because more jobs don’t necessarily mean higher incomes. Of course job growth does matter tangentially, as more jobs often mean a growing population.

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http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/03/home-prices-will-not-fully-recover-until-2025.html?__source=newsletter%7Ceveningbrief

Mortgage rates average 4.15% | North Salem Real Estate

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

News Facts

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

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

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

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

Single-Family Construction Up | North Salem Real Estate

NAHB analysis of Census Construction Spending data shows that total private residential construction spending fell 0.7% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $462.9 billion.

Multifamily construction spending slowed for the first time since July to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $61.9 billion, down 2.9% from the revised October estimate. Despite the slowdown, multifamily spending was still 10.7% higher than the rate one year prior.  In contrast, single-family construction spending increased by 1.7% over the month, posting its second consecutive gain. However, single-family construction spending still slipped down by 0.9% over November 2015. Though not as pronounced as the drop-off in multifamily construction spending, home improvements still fell by a substantial 3.5%. On a year-over-year basis, spending on home improvements increased by 6.8%.

The NAHB construction spending index shown in the graph below illustrates the recent convergence, though small, of single-family spending with that of multifamily and home improvements.

The pace of private nonresidential construction spending increased by 2.5% over the month, more than offsetting the 2.1% October decline, reaching a pace 6.4% higher than one year ago. The primary drivers of this month-over-month increase were spending on structures to be used for lodging (+6.9%) and religious (+9.8%) purposes.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/01/single-family-construction-up-in-november/

Mortgage rates average 4.20% | 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 lower for the first time in ten weeks.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.20 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending January 5, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 4.32 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.97 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.44 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.55 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.26 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.33 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.30 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.09 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 30-year mortgage rate fell this week for the first time since the presidential election, dropping 12 basis points to 4.20 percent. This marks the first time since 2014 that mortgage rates opened the year above 4 percent. Despite this week’s breather, the 66-basis point increase in the mortgage rate since November 3 is taking its toll — the MBA’s refinance index plunged 22 percent this week.”

Unmasking the Millennials | North Salem Real Estate

Zillow’s new Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends, authored by Stan Humphries, Chief Analytics Officer and Chief Economist, is a remarkably valuable 21st Century addition to the body of research profiling the changing face of residential real estate.

Its many jewels of new or intuitive findings regarding the mysterious Millennials, the generation that so far has defied expectations, are worth noting Here are some the brighter gems that might help to unmask the Millennials.

 Market domination. Millennials, ages 18-34, comprise 42 percent of all home buyers today, while an additional 31 percent of buyers are members of Generation X (ages 35-49). Baby Boomers (ages 50-64) and the Silent Generation (ages 65-75) together make up the smallest share of home buyers (26 percent), with only 10 percent of buyers over age 64.

Millennials buy later and buy up market.  Millennials are delaying many life milestones that precede homeownership, such as completing their education, getting married or starting families, and thus are renting deeper into adulthood.  When Millennials do become homeowners, they leapfrog the traditional starter home and jump into the higher end of the market by choosing larger properties with higher prices, similar to homes bought by older buyers. They pay a median price of $217,000 for a home, more than Baby Boomers, and just 11 percent less than Generation X. The Millennial median home size is 1,800 square feet, similar in size to what older generations buy. The modern-day starter home is nearly as large as the median home for move-up buyers and costs about 18 percent less.

 New homes are on the table. Younger buyers (50 percent of Millennials and 54 percent of Generation X) are significantly more likely than Baby Boomers or the Silent Generation (38 percent and 39 percent, respectively) to consider newly built properties. Nearly half (48 percent) of all buyers are considering new homes.

Millennials less likely to use agents. The older the buyer, the more likely that buyer is using an agent.  Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation rely most heavily on an agent or broker for real estate guidance, with 83 percent and 81 percent respectively citing them as a resource in their home search. Seventy-four percent of Generation X buyers report using an agent, followed by 70 percent of Millennials.  When they enlist an agent, they do so earlier in the home-search process, shop for a home faster than most older generations, and are more likely to stay in touch with an agent.

Do a better job of shopping for agents. The average number of agents all buyers consider hiring is 2.2.  Sixty-eight percent of the Silent Generation and 57 percent of Baby Boomers considered only one agent, compared to 44 percent of Generation X and 38 percent of Millennials considering just one agent. Millennials are particularly likely to evaluate an agent online, including reading online reviews (61 percent) and delving into past sales data (57 percent).

In an agent, Millennials want a partner, not a control freak. The process of finding or selling a home is much more collaborative for Millennials than for older generations. They bring all available tools to the process, including their smartphones, social media, and online networks. While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, Millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.

Definition of household is changing. Seventeen percent of younger Millennials  (ages 18-24) are shopping for a home with a friend or roommate, with an additional 51 percent shopping with a spouse or partner. Older Millennials (ages 25-34) are more like the average buyer, as 73 percent are shopping with a spouse or partner. Seventeen percent of younger Millennials (ages 18-24) are shopping for a home with a friend or roommate.

Millennial are not sold on buying. Millennial buyers (71 percent) are the most likely to consider renting. As buyers age, their interest in renting declines. Just over half, 54 percent, of all Generation X buyers considered renting compared to about one-third (32 percent) of Baby Boomers.  Only 18 percent of those 65 years and older considering renting as well as buying.

Millennials social support in decision-making.  Millennials rely on their personal networks. They’re the generation most likely to turn to a friend, neighbor, or relative to share the details of their home search (58 percent, versus 52 percent of Generation X buyers, 42 percent of Baby Boomers, and 37 percent of the Silent Generation). Millennials seek input from friends, relatives, and neighbors 58 percent of the time, versus the Silent Generation, who poll friends just 37 percent of the time.

Millennial home buyers are more diverse. Fourteen percent of Millennial buyers are Latino/Hispanic, whereas roughly 11 percent of Gen X, 7 percent of Baby Boomers and 6 percent of Silent Generation buyers are Latino/Hispanic. Some 6 percent of Millennials are black/African-American, a smaller share than Gen X (9 percent) or Boomer (8 percent) buyers who are black/African-American.

They are more suburban than urban animals, and they buy locally.  Nearly half of Millennial homeowners live in the suburbs (47 percent), while one-third settle in an urban setting (33 percent), with eight in 10 adults under 25 living outside an urban core. While only 11 percent of buyers are moving out of state, it’s notable that older buyers are more likely to make these long-distance moves. While just 7 percent of both Millennials and Generation X are moving across state lines, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation make such moves 20 percent and 29 percent of the time, respectively.

Millennials aren’t just buyers. The biggest group of home sellers belongs to Generation X (38 percent). A quarter of home sellers is Millennials (26

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2016/11/unmasking-the-millennials/

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