Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said it may cut off power to roughly 303,000 customers across 25 counties in California this week to reduce the risk of the utility’s equipment sparking a wildfire.
PG&E said a strong offshore wind early Wednesday morning and dry conditions may lead to power shutoffs for customers in the Sierra Foothills, the North Valley, North Bay and other parts of the Bay Area. Customers that could be impacted in those regions were notified Monday morning.
By Monday night, the potential Public Safety Power Shutoffs were expanded to include Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Mateo. Customers that could be impacted in those regions were notified Monday afternoon.
Shutoffs would begin Wednesday morning if they’re enacted. PG&E said its goal would be to return power to customers by Monday.
“If PG&E calls the PSPS, the shutoffs will take place in phases beginning Wednesday morning through early afternoon, based on local weather conditions,” the utility said in a news release Monday night.
The shutoffs are part of PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff program, which is designed to reduce the threat of wildfires that could be sparked by lines brought down in gusting winds. PG&E’s equipment has been blamed for causing a series of destructive wildfires in recent years.
PG&E’s power shutoffs have drawn ire from residents, businesses and local governments. Gov. Gavin Newsom has threatened a possible state takeover of the troubled utility.
The lack of affordable housing in New York City and its suburbs could threaten job creation and future economic job growth, according to a new report from the city’s Planning Department.
“The region’s housing supply has not been keeping up with job growth in recent years,” the report said. “This pattern would be expected to heighten affordability challenges and create headwinds to further business growth.”
Released Wednesday, the 32-page report found that New York averaged just 45,800 permits for new apartments and homes per year between 2009 and 2018. That’s down about 30 percent from the period between 2001 and 2008, when the city and its tri-state suburbs averaged 63,600 units per year.
The Central Park Tower, center, is under construction, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019 in New York. At 1550 feet (472 meters) the tower is the world’s tallest residential apartment building, according to the developer, Extell Development Co. (AP Photo/Mark L
Prior to the financial crisis, the city and its suburbs, including Long Island, Westchester, northern New Jersey and Connecticut, created an average of 2.2 new houses or apartments per new job. But that number has slipped in the decade since the recession as job growth skyrocketed, falling to just 0.5 units added per job.
Over the last 10 years, New York City averaged 20,000 new homes or apartments annually, granting far more housing permits than any of its suburbs.
City Hall said in a statement to the New York Post, which first reported the news, that in 2018, New York issued 22,000 new housing units.
“It’s key that we continue to produce housing at a high pace, and we need our neighbors to do the same if we are going to address regional housing affordability and support economic growth,” City Planning spokeswoman Rachaele Raynoff told the Post.
According to an “Affordability Index” published by Comptroller Scott Stringer, the impacts of expensive housing costs varied across households. Rent swallowed up 37 percent of the average single adult’s earnings, but that figure, at 47 percent, was even higher for single parents. It accounted for 26 percent of married couples’ budgets.
“New York City’s affordability crisis impacts every New Yorker and every community — and the numbers laid out in our affordability index shine a light on this worsening crisis,” Stringer said.
“While mortgage rates generally held steady this week, overall mortgage demand remained very strong, rising over fifty percent from a year ago thanks to increases in both refinance and purchase mortgage applications,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “As economic growth decelerates, it is clear that low mortgage rates will continue to support the mortgage market and we expect that to persist for the remainder of the year.”
30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.65 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending September 26, 2019, slightly up from last week when it averaged 3.64 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.71 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.14 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.16 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.15 percent.
Sixteen projects earned accolades from our panel of judges for this year’s Builder’s Choice & Custom Home Design Awards program, representing some of the best residential design work being constructed today.
Overall, the jurors—J. Carson Looney of Memphis, Tenn.–based Looney Ricks Kiss, Michael Hennessey of San Francisco–based Michael Hennessey Architecture, and Jonathan Tate of New Orleans–based Office of Jonathan Tate—praised function in smaller footprints, use of innovative building materials, and remodels that respect the existing architecture. From production homes to interior renovations to meticulously crafted custom abodes, there is no shortage of inspiration below for you to reimagine for your own projects.
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A for sale sign stands before property for sale in Monterey Park, California.Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images
A Federal Reserve economist says the current housing backdrop is similar to recent economic slumps, with several metrics “consistent with the possibility of a late 2019 or early 2020 recession.”
“Data on single-family home sales through May 2019 confirm that housing markets in all regions of the country are weakening,” the St. Louis Fed’s William R. Emmons said in a report posted on the central bank district’s site. “The severity of the housing downturn appears comparable across regions—in all cases, it’s much less severe than the experience leading to the Great Recession but similar to the periods before the 1990-91 and 2001 recessions.”
Specifically, Emmons looked at sales numbers for the 12 months ending May 2019 compared to the average over the past three years. He uses December 2019 as the “plausible month for peak growth” in the current case, and then looks at how far back from the peak was the first month in which sales fell below their three-year average in the previous three recessions.
WATCH NOWVIDEO02:50Here’s what Fannie Mae is forecasting for the housing market
The process may seem at least somewhat opaque, but Emmons said it has been a reliable indicator from the housing market for when the next recession is due — usually about a year away, according to historical trends.
In the Northeast, for instance, August 2018 was the first month that sales fell below the region’s three-year average. That would be 16 months from the December 2019 assumed peak. In the previous recessions, the first negative month respectively came 23, 10 and 21 months before the peak. That would put the current pattern within the historical range, Emmons wrote.
These charts look at how each region stacks up. The four lines each represent a recession; the deviation of the 12-month sales average toward the three-year average decreases until it goes negative; the charts then show how long it took before a recession hit:
In addition to the sales numbers, Emmons said current mortgage rates, inflation-adjusted house prices and residential investment’s contribution to economic growth are similar to patterns that preceded the most recent three recessions.
Single-family home sales work best as indicator, he said, because the other metrics are national in nature and thus don’t reflect whether the deterioration has spread through all regions.
“Considering signals from other housing indicators and from indicators outside housing with good forecasting track records (such as the Treasury yield curve), the regional housing data noted here merit close attention,” Emmons wrote.Calling for rate cut
The St. Louis Fed, where Emmons works, is led by its president, James Bullard, who has been one of the loudest voices on the Federal Open Market Committee advocating for an interest rate cut. Bullard was the lone member of the monetary policymaking body in June to vote against keeping the benchmark funds rate steady. He is advocating an “insurance” cut to head off anticipated economic weakness.
There are mounting signs that global weakness and business concerns over tariffs could hamper U.S. growth or cause an outright recession.
The New York Fed uses the spread between the 10-year and three-month Treasury yields to determine the probability of a recession over the next 12 months. That part of the yield curve has inverted, which has been a reliable recession indicator. Chances for negative growth by May 2020 are at 29.6%, up from 27.5% in April and the highest level since May 31, 2008, just as the financial crisis was set to explode in September.
Still, there are hopes that the U.S. can withstand a significant downturn.
Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, in a speech Tuesday, pointed out that the economy has been resilient through growth scares during a recovery that began 10 years ago. Mester said she expects housing to be neutral for growth this year.
Also, Joseph LaVorgna, chief Americas economist at Latixis, said a diffusion index of leading economic indicators is showing positive trends for six out of 10 components, indicating that “the risk of a downturn remains relatively low.”
Existing home sales rebound, but manufacturing and services sector activity cools
Existing-home sales rebounded in May, increasing 2.5% month-over-month (m/m) to an annual rate of 5.34 million units, compared to the Bloomberg expectation of a rise to 5.27 million units and April’s upwardly-revised 5.21 million rate.
Sales of single-family homes were higher m/m, but down from year-ago levels, while purchases of condominiums and co-ops rose compared to last month and were down y/y.
The median existing-home price rose 4.8% from a year ago to $277,700, and marking the 87th straight month of y/y gains.
Unsold inventory came in at a 4.3-months pace at the current sales rate, up from 4.2 months a year ago. Sales rose in all regions, with the Northeast seeing the largest increase.
National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “The purchasing power to buy a home has been bolstered by falling mortgage rates, and buyers are responding,” adding, that “solid demand along with inadequate inventory of affordable homes have pushed the median home price to a new record high.”
Welcome to the exurbs: remote areas just beyond the more affluent suburbs that have seen a wave of activity from builders and home shoppers.
According to a recent report by the National Association of Home Builders, the exurbs were the only regions that saw an annual increase in single-family permits in the first quarter of 2019.
Posting a 1.6% year-over-year gain, the exurbs are home to just 9% of the nation’s single-family construction. But while this might not seem like much, its share is growing – a fact that some analysts say is raising red flags.
Why? The last time the exurbs saw activity increase was during the housing boom, when speculators got a bit over-excited about the opportunity to make the big bucks by flipping homes on the cheap. But when the bubble burst, these areas were largely abandoned, and builders were left deep in the red.
A renewed surge of activity in exurban areas is a key indicator of a general lack of affordability that is plaguing the housing market. When moving from one house to another I fully suggest working with BR Moving Philadelphia Location company.
“A shortage of buildable and affordable lots is forcing builders to increasingly look further outside of suburban and metropolitan areas to find cheaper land that provides more building opportunities,” explained NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde.
NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said the data highlights the fact that housing costs are increasing at a faster pace in large metro suburban counties.
“Supply-side issues that are hurting affordability and raising costs for builders include excessive regulations, labor shortages, rising material costs and a dearth of buildable lots in mid- to high population centers,” Dietz said.
Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that mortgage rates held steady after seeing major drops last week. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “Purchase mortgage application demand saw the second highest weekly increase over the last year and thanks to a spike in refinancing activity, overall mortgage demand rose to the highest level since the fall of 2016.”Khater continued, “While the housing market has faced many head winds the last few months, it sailed through the turbulence to calmer seas with demand buttressed by a strong labor market and low mortgage rates. The benefits of the decline in mortgage rates that we’ve seen this year will continue to unfold over the next few months due to the lag from changes in mortgage rates to market sentiment and ultimately home sales.”
News Facts30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.08 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending April 4, 2019, up from last week when it averaged 4.06 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.40 percent. 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.56 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.57 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.87 percent. 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.66 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.75 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.62 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.Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders, investors and taxpayers.
National foreclosure rates continued their recovery in 2018 from their peak during the Great Recession.
Foreclosure filings were reported on one out of every 215 homes last year. That’s down markedly compared with the filings on roughly one in 47 homes in 2010. Last year’s rate is the lowest since at least 2005.
However, the foreclosure picture can look different at the state level.
Almost a third of states saw the number of foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — against homes climb last year, according to the report from ATTOM Data Solutions.
“Plummeting foreclosure completions combined with consistently falling foreclosure timelines in 2018 provide evidence that most of the distress from the last housing crisis has now been cleaned up,” says Todd Teta, chief product officer for ATTOM.
But some evidence of distress was gradually returning to the housing market in 2018, Teta says.
States with the highest foreclosure rates
The states with the highest foreclosure rates were clustered in mostly in the Northeast.
New Jersey has had the highest rate since 2015 and had 1.33 percent of housing units with foreclosure filings last year. Delaware had 0.96 percent; Maryland 0.86 percent; Illinois 0.74 percent and Connecticut 0.72 percent.
States with the lowest foreclosure rates
North Dakota was among the places where foreclosure rates increased from 2017 to 2018. But the Roughrider State’s real estate economy remains strong comparatively.
North Dakota had the lowest rate of housing units with foreclosure filings last year (0.06 percent). South Dakota had 0.07 percent; Montana 0.11 percent and West Virginia 0.12.
Alaska has the fastest-rising foreclosure rate
Alaska’s economy has been struggling in recent years after oil prices dipped in 2014, but the state’s real estate market has proved fairly resilient, according to Terry Fields, assistant professor at the College of Business and Public Policy within the University of Alaska Anchorage.
The data from ATTOM shows homeowners in The Last Frontier may be starting to feel the pressure. A total of 1,145 properties were in the process of foreclosure in 2018 — up from 614 in 2017.
The foreclosure rate in Alaska grew the fastest of all 50 states, rising from 0.20 percent in 2017 to 0.37 percent last year, according to ATTOM.
While local economists are keeping an eye on Alaska’s real estate market, foreclosures are still significantly below the levels they were during the Great Recession and previous bust periods in Alaska, Fields says.
Putnam, Bronx and Sullivan counties, which are also served by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, were the exceptions experiencing increases in residential sales of 4.7% in Sullivan, 1.9% in Putnam and 1% in Bronx County in 2018.
The lower Hudson Valley experienced historically low inventories of single-family homes at the beginning of the year, which may have contributed to an initial decline of sales. Rockland County, which experienced an 11.5% drop in sales of single-family homes, also saw an increase of 11.4% in sales of 2-4 family homes and an increase of 2.5% in condo sales. Days on market, the number of days from the time a home is listed for sale to the time of a fully executed contract of sale, was significantly lower in all counties.
Another indication of healthy demand in the housing market was the increase in sales price in all counties. Westchester County, which had the highest number of single-family home sales at 5,876 units, experienced a rise of 1.2% in median price to $650,000, up from $642,000 a year earlier. Orange County, with 3,827 units sold, saw an increase of 6.4% in its median to $258,600 from $243,000 a year earlier. Despite the diminution of units sold in Rockland County, the median sales price rose 4.5% to $460,000 from $440,000 a year earlier. Putnam County, which had a 2.2% increase in unit sales, also had a 3.7% increase in median price rising to $350,000 from $337,500 a year earlier.
Overall, in 2018, 21,338 residential units were sold in the areas covered by Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service. This was a drop of 2.6% from the prior year. Possible headwinds for the housing market for 2019 continue to be the unknown effect of the tax reform law of 2018, which limits the deductibility state and local taxes, and a volatile stock market. However, given the improving inventory numbers, continuing attractive mortgage interest rates, high employment in the region, and a healthy economy it is anticipated that the market will remain vibrant in 2019.
The Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (HGMLS) is a subsidiary of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. (HGAR). HGMLS’s principal service area consists of Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange and Sullivan counties. It also provides services to Realtors in Bronx, Dutchess and Ulster counties.
The reported transactions do not include all real estate sales in the area or all sales assisted by the participating offices, but they are fairly reflective of general market activity. HGMLS does not provide data on sub-county areas, but persons desiring such data are invited to contact Realtor offices in the desired areas. Prior reports back to 1981 as well as current market information and a directory of Realtor members are available on the Association’s website at www.hgar.com.
Note: The median sale price is the mid-point of all reported sales, i.e., half of the properties sold for more than the median price and half for less. The median is relatively unaffected by unusually high or low sales prices. The mean sale price is the arithmetic average, i.e., the sum of all sales prices divided by the number of sales. The mean does reflect the influence of sales at unusually low or high prices.