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Home Prices in August – Gains Continued | Bedford Real Estate

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

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


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

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

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



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Where are the sellers? | Bedford Real Estate

Not so long ago, when prices were plummeting and foreclosures pumped up the inventory counts with discounted values, homeowners and real estate professionals would have welcomed one of the chronic problems plaguing markets today; inventories so low that they inflate prices and keep move up buyers in homes they want to leave.

The question everyone is asking: “What’s happened to supply and demand dynamics? Demand is stronger, so where’s the supply/”

Recently the California Association of Realtors released a study that answered that question what another one.  About 35 percent of homeowners surveyed by the CAR said they have considered selling their home in the past year. But among that group, 64 percent said they decided against it because they couldn’t afford the home they’d like to buy as a replacement. So move up sellers are caught in the same circular trap as first-time buyers.  Where are the affordable listings that will halt this merry-go-round?

In 2013, when tight inventories switched from being a national blessing to a curse, Zillow’s Stan Humphries provided an explanation at the National Association of Real Editors’ annual meeting and the scales fell from my eyes.  He outlined how deficient equitied owners were frozen in place—not just those under water but also those lacking the 20 percent positive equity necessary to sell.  When you added up the under watered and the under equitied, it was a huge chunk of all homeowners with a mortgage at that time.

Less than 20 percent of homes today are under-equitied or under water

Price appreciation has whittled down that number over the past two years. RealtyTrac recently reported that only about 13.3 percent of all properties with a mortgage have less than 25 percent positive equity. CoreLogic puts the percentage of underwater and homes with less than 20 percent equity at 19.4 percent of all homes with a mortgage.  Zillow puts the negative equity rate at less than 15 percent through the second quarter.

Still a big factor, the equity barrier hurts some markets more than others.  It is worse in those markets that suffered most in the housing crash—the ‘sand’ states of California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida. It is also higher among entry level and mid-level price tiers than the top levels.


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Turkish housing prices rose by 18.6 percent year-on-year | Bedford Real Estate

Housing prices in Turkey increased at a rate surpassed by only one other country in the world in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year ago, the Global House Price Index published recently by the real estate consultation firm Knight Frank has revealed.

Turkish housing prices rose by 18.6 percent year-on-year in Q1 of this year, the second highest behind Hong Kong, where prices increased by 18.7 percent in the same period, based on provisional data. While Ireland saw the greatest increase — 16.8 percent — after Turkey, fourth place belonged to Luxemburg, where prices surged in value by 12.1 percent. Ukraine came last, with housing prices in the country dropping by as much as 15.5 percent in the first quarter compared to Q1 of 2014. Cyprus and China followed Ukraine with declines of 8.2 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively. Turkey tops the list in Europe.

The index uses official governmental statistics or central bank data where available.

Despite the recent surge in prices, sector representatives often warn that further appreciation may occur amid unfavorable market conditions. Issuing a written statement on Monday, Mert Yıldızhan, a board member at construction firm Elit Yapı, said consumers may have to allocate a larger budget for housing expenditures due to a weakening Turkish lira against the US dollar.

Underscoring that some construction projects contain imported materials amounting to 60 or 70 percent of all their inputs, the depreciation in Turkish lira-US dollar parity — 20 percent since January — is likely to be reflected in prices as of the autumn months. “The rise in the price of construction materials will prompt sector representatives running out of stocks on hand to move to increase prices. There are several imported items in the sector including paint, plastic joints, elevators and iron,” Yıldızhan said.


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Most U.S. housing markets are undervalued | Bedford Real Estate

U.S. homes are by in large undervalued, even as national price measures show a modest overvaluation due to skewing effects from a few large markets, according to new research from Goldman Sachs.

Homes in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego metropolitan areas, for example, are about 20% above fair value. Meanwhile, prices elsewhere are still falling, and homes in areas such as Buffalo and St. Louis are undervalued, the analysts wrote.

“The broad national indexes are skewed by high prices in a small number of large markets,” Goldman Sachs economists Zach Pandl and Hui Shan wrote. “While there appears to be some evidence of regional froth, in our view the broader national picture is one of leaders and laggards, with strong rebounds in some markets but still-soft prices in many others.”
In the first quarter, most metropolitan statistical areas tracked by Goldman had undervalued properties. There were 202 housing markets that were undervalued by at least 1%, compared with 140 markets that were overvalued by at least 1%.

“Large cities drag up the national indexes, even if real estate markets in many smaller [metropolitan areas] have yet to fully recover,” Goldman analysts wrote.

Analysts looked at valuation in several ways. They compared home prices to gauges of consumer inflation, rent, income and population.


Most metropolitan statistical areas tracked by Goldman have undervalued homes.
Interest among would-be borrowers in buying a home recently hit a two-year high. Even as home prices have grown, a strengthening U.S. jobs market and still-low interest rates are supporting sales. In hot markets, low inventory is driving prices higher.


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Mortgage Rates Up to 4.04% | #Bedford Real Estate

Freddi Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates reaching new highs for 2015 with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage above four percent for the first time since November 6, 2014 when it averaged 4.02 percent.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.04 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending June 11, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.87 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.20 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.25 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.08 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.31 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.01 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.96 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.05 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.53 percent this week with an average 0.2 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.59 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.40 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 links for theRegional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Attributed to Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates rose above 4 percent for the first time since November 2014 as Treasury yields surged. Markets are responding to strong employment data. In May, the U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs. Moreover, job openings surged to 5.4 million in April, up over 20 percent from a year ago.”

How to Borrow Light | Bedford Real Estate

In 1915 the 38-story Equitable Building in New York City was the largest office building in the world. Containing 1.2 million square feet of office space, it consumed nearly every available square foot of its diminutive lot and cast an equally large shadow on its neighborhood in lower Manhattan. Its construction inspired the enactment of the city’s 1916 Zoning Resolution, which was designed to preserve access to light and air at the street level. The resolution prescribed specific limitations for a building’s envelope — its outer walls — and would go on to shape the stepped forms that you see today on many of the iconic towers in the city.This underscores the importance that access to daylight had in shaping even the largest of cities, the individual buildings that make up those cities and, more broadly, sensible building design. With an increasing focus on sustainable design practices, the smart use of natural daylight in our homes is no longer a luxury — it has become a necessity. At the heart of any good daylighting strategy is a concept of “borrowed” light: the capture of light falling on the exterior of a home and transporting it to the spaces where it’s needed.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage edges up to 3.66% | #Bedford NY Real Estate

Mortgage rates crept higher last week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. The benchmark 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.66% in the week ending Jan. 29, up from 3.63%. A year ago, the 30-year averaged 4.32%. The 15-year fixed-rate averaged 2.98%, up from 2.93%; the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.86%, up from 2.83%; and the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.38%, up from 2.37%.


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Gasoline Prices Down 21% for the Year | Bedford Real Estate

The consumer price index fell for the second consecutive month due to a large decrease in the price of gasoline. On a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis the consumer price index fell 0.4%. Over the past twelve months, prices on expenditures made by urban consumers increased just 0.8% before seasonal adjustments. The falling price of gasoline is positive for consumers in the short-term as this frees up income to spend on other goods and services.

Falling gasoline prices also pushed down the energy price index which fell for the sixth consecutive month. The gasoline index, a component of the energy price index, fell on a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis 9.4% and over the past twelve months is down 21%. However, not all components of the energy index fell. The electricity index increased 0.8% for the month and the natural gas index increased 1.5% for the month.

The price of food increased for the month and has shown steady growth over the year. The food index increased 0.3% for the month and over the past twelve months increased 3.4% before seasonal adjustments. After declining in November, the index for dairy saw an increase of 0.6% on a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 0.3% for the month.

Core CPI, which excludes the more volatile food and energy prices, was unchanged for the month. Over the past twelve months core CPI increased 1.6% before seasonal adjustments.


The shelter index rose 0.2% month-over-month in December after increasing 0.3% month-over-month in November. Over the past twelve months, the shelter index increased 2.9% before seasonal adjustments.

Because shelter costs represent a large share of the average consumer’s expenditures, a 0.2% month-over-month increase is worth exploring further. Although the increase in the shelter index partly reflects increases in rental prices, the BLS measure does not isolate the change in rental prices from the changes in the overall price index. NAHB constructs a real rent price index to isolate the change in rental prices. The NAHB constructed measure indicates whether inflation in rents is faster or slower than general inflation and provides some insight into the supply and demand conditions for rental housing, after controlling for overall inflation.

The NAHB constructed real rent index increased 0.2% in December month-over-month. Over the past year, growth in real rental prices outpaced growth in the CPI. Real rental prices rose by 1.7% from December 2013.



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1896 Victorian Home Gets a Contemporary Lift | Bedford Real Estate


“With two children and the two of us working from home, our house is always buzzing with energy,” says interior designer Kristen Peña. “People are coming and going, and we love that. We love nothing more than having a bunch of kids laughing and playing around us while we work or relax.“ That is why it was important for Kristen and her husband, Luis, a director, to find a home in which they could raise a family and carve out a studio space dedicated to their work. After waiting patiently for five years, they found their dream house in their dream city — a 118-year-old Victorian in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood.

The house needed a heavy renovation, including adding a new foundation and removing an inefficient sunroom that wrapped around the back of the house. Construction began in 2006, when Kristen was pregnant with the couple’s second child. The couple worked with CCS Architecture to convert the two-bedroom, one-bathroom, single-story residence — with the master bed and bath off the kitchen — into a three-level home with four bedrooms and four bathrooms. They kept the home’s original character but added modern elements.

A Big Mortgage Change Happened This Weekend: Should You Care? | Bedford Real Estate


Saving up to buy a home might not be as much of a challenge as it used to be, now that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will allow some first-time homebuyers to make down payments of as little as 3%.

The change went into effect Saturday with the goal of making homeownership more accessible to Americans than it has been in a tight post-recession mortgage market. These low-down-payment loansapply to 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (The FHFA regulates Fannie and Freddie, which guarantee the majority of U.S. mortgages.)

What does this mean for you? Well, if you want to buy a home but don’t have a ton of cash on hand for a down payment and closing costs, you might be able to qualify for an affordable home loan. Keep in mind lenders will require you to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you pay less than 20% upfront, a cost homebuyers often overlook when determining how much they can pay — you can figure out how much house you can afford using this free calculator and watch how your monthly payments change with different down payments.

Even with a low-down-payment mortgage, you can find ways to make the monthly payments more affordable. One of the first things you’ll want to look at before applying for a home loan is your credit score. Your credit standing not only affects the mortgage rate you qualify for, it also impacts how much you must pay in PMI. You can also get rid of PMI after you’ve built a certain amount of equity in your home, among other requirements, but it’s on you to go through the process of removing PMI from your loan.

With the new directive from the FHFA, buying your first home may be more attainable, but the decision requires just as much careful thought as it would if you needed to put down 20% of the home’s value to get a mortgage. Consider the overall impact on your life of buying a home, and make sure your credit is in good shape before applying for a mortgage. You’re entitled to free annual credit reports from each of the major credit reporting agencies, and you can get two of your credit scores for free every 30 days on Credit.com.


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