A kitchen can be mostly white surfaces and still have a sense of life with just a few colorful accents. Notice the red dials on the range, which add personality, as well as the occasional accessory and plant life. These add up to a feeling of a more diverse palette without any single hue taking over from white as the focus.
A gauge of confidence among home builders rose five points to 59 in June, hitting a nine-month high, according to National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo data released Monday. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a June result of 55.
Gauges of builders’ views on present and upcoming home sales each hit their highest level since late 2005, shortly before the housing bubble burst. Readings above 50 signal that home-construction companies, generally, are optimistic about sales trends, and June marks the 12th consecutive month of above-50 readings.
NAHB said a barometer of builders’ views on present sales of single-family homes rose seven points to 65 in June, while a gauge of their views on upcoming sales increased six to 69, and an index of prospective-buyer traffic rose five to 44.
U.S. house prices accelerated further in April, as low inventories and growing sales push costs higher, a leading data provider said Tuesday.
CoreLogic reported a 2.7% monthly advance to take the year-on-year gain to 6.8%.
The spring is traditionally the strongest portion of the year for housing, and data from CoreLogic and other providers suggest an upturn.
“Old-fashion supply and demand, fueled by historically low mortgage rates and improving consumer finances and confidence, continue to push home prices up,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.
Dallas and Houston prices are showing few signs of let-up despite the collapse in energy prices. Dallas prices were up 10.3% in the 12 months to April, and Houston prices were up 9.5%. The Washington, D.C., area brought up the rear with just a 1.6% advance.
South Carolina was the strongest state, with an 11.4% advance, while Massachusetts saw a 1.7% drop, one of only four states to register a decline.
CoreLogic is the first of the three major house-price trackers to report results. The Case-Shiller/20-city composite rose 5% in the year to March, and the FHFA house price report showed a 5.2% gain in the 12 months to March.
Sales of new single-family houses in April 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 517,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This comes after a big drop in March which saw just 481,000 new home sales, the biggest drop in almost two years and primarily driven by a precipitous drop in sales in the Northeast in March.
This is 6.8% above the revised March rate of 484,000 and is 26.1% above the April 2014 estimate of 410,000.
The big driver of the gain was one of the smaller home regions, the Midwest, which saw a jump from 57,000 to 78,000 sales. In April the West and Northeast both saw declines.
The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2015 was $297,300; the average sales price was $341,500 – both up from March.
Barring floods and asbestos, property taxes are the highest cost of homeownership after a mortgage — and taxes never end.
In 2013, the median U.S. property tax bill was $2,132, according to a Zillow analysis that used the most recent data available.
That’s a whole lot less than residents paid in Westchester County, NY, where the median tax bill was $13,842. In Tunica County, MS, the median tax bill was $216.
All 10 of the most expensive counties for property taxes, based on the median paid for single-family homes, are in the same vicinity:
Four of the 10 least expensive counties are in Alabama, with the other six scattered among several states..
The Federal Reserve Board recently reported that consumer credit outstanding rose by a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.6%, $186.2 billion, in February 2015. Consumer credit outstanding now totals $3.343 trillion.
The expansion of total consumer credit outstanding reflected an increase in the outstanding amount of non-revolving consumer credit. Non-revolving consumer credit includes auto loans and student loans. According to the report, non-revolving credit outstanding grew by a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 9.4%, $230.3 billion, in February 2015, 3.6 percentage points faster than the 5.8%, $141.6 billion, growth recorded in January 2015. There is now $2.459 trillion in outstanding non-revolving credit, 74% of the total amount of consumer credit outstanding.
The growth in non-revolving credit was partially offset by a contraction in the outstanding amount of revolving credit. Revolving credit outstanding is largely composed of consumer credit card debt. After recording a small decline of 1.4%, $12.0 billion, in January 2015, revolving credit outstanding registered a larger decrease, 5.0% or $44.1 billion, in February 2015. As of January 2015, revolving credit outstanding totals $884.8 billion, 26% of total consumer credit outstanding.
An earlier post showed that the increase in consumer credit outstanding largely reflects an expansion in non-revolving credit outstanding. As a result, non-revolving credit outstanding as a share of total consumer credit outstanding has risen. However, while the overall composition of consumer credit outstanding is skewed to non-revolving credit, the composition of consumer credit varies by type of holder. Depository institutions, nonfinancial businesses and pools of securitized assets hold more revolving credit than non-revolving credit. In contrast, finance companies, credit unions, the federal government, and nonprofit and educational institutions hold primarily on non-revolving credit. Both the federal government and non-profit and educational institutions focus only on non-revolving credit.
As Chart 2 illustrates, of the consumer credit held by depository institutions, 54% of it represents revolving credit while the rest, 46%, is non-revolving credit. Of the consumer credit held by pools of securitized assets and nonfinancial businesses, 58% and 52% respectively is held as revolving credit while the rest, 42% and 48% respectively, is held as non-revolving consumer credit. Meanwhile, of the consumer credit held by credit unions and finance companies, 15% and 9%, respectively, is revolving credit and the rest, 85% and 91% respectively, is non-revolving credit.
Although 3 types of institutions hold more revolving credit than non-revolving credit, 2, nonfinancial businesses and pools of securitized assets, account for only 3% of consumer credit outstanding combined but the third, depository institutions, is the largest holder of consumer credit outstanding. Although the current composition of consumer credit outstanding held by depository institutions is currently near evenly split, this has not always been the case. As Chart 3 illustrates, the consumer credit holdings of depository institutions were largely of non-revolving credit and very little revolving credit. However, over the last 46 years, 1968-2014, the share of revolving consumer credit has steadily risen while the share of non-revolving credit has declined. In 2010, a large spike in the holdings of revolving credit by depository institutions that was related to the shift of consumer credit pools of securitized assets to other categories due to implementation of the FAS 166/167 accounting rules, pushed its share past 50%. In contrast, the share of consumer credit held by depository institutions that was non-revolving credit fell below 50%. At the end of 2014, 54% of depository institutions’ consumer credit holdings were revolving credit and the rest, 46%, was non-revolving credit.
Persistently tight inventories—not a good sign as the spring season nears—coupled with an uptick in sales pushed prices up 7.5 percent in February
The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in February was $202,600. This marks the 36th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains and the largest since last February (8.8 percent), according to the National Association of Realtors.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 1.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in February from 4.82 million in January. Sales are 4.7 percent higher than a year ago and above year-over-year totals for the fifth consecutive month.
Total housing inventory at the end of February increased from January by 1.6 percent to 1.89 million existing homes available for sale, but remains 0.5 percent below a year ago (1.90 million). For the second straight month, unsold inventory is at a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace.
Concerns are growing about the low inventory levels have persisted through the winter months. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said, “Insufficient supply appears to be hampering prospective buyers in several areas of the country and is hiking prices to near unsuitable levels,” he said. “Stronger price growth is a boon for homeowners looking to build additional equity, but it continues to be an obstacle for current buyers looking to close before rates rise.”
“With all indications pointing to a rate increase from the Federal Reserve this year – perhaps as early as this summer – affordability concerns could heighten as home prices and rents both continue to exceed wages,” adds Yun.
A NAR study released earlier this month found that the disparity between rent and income growth is widening in metro areas throughout the country and is making it harder for renters to become homeowners.
Builders signed contracts on more homes in February 2015 than any time since early 2008 according to the Census Bureau and HUD. February seasonally-adjusted annual new home sales topped out at 539,000, up 7.8% from a healthy 500,000 in January. Sales increased a whopping 153% in the Northeast region but that was a make-up from an overabundance of snow in January that slowed the rate of sales to its lowest level in the 43 year history of the series. Sales were up 10.1% in the South to the highest level since early 2008. Sales were down 6% in the West but back to the level established in the fourth quarter of 2014. The Midwest saw a slight softening in sales (down 12.9% monthly and 3.6% annually) but still within the range of sales in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Inventories dropped slightly to 210,000, which with the increased sales rate, dropped the month’s supply to 4.7 months. Builders were able to sell an increased share of their homes from inventory in December and January. Along with the rise in sales suggests an improved starts picture in the future.
Prices rose 2.6% from last February to a median of $275,500. The shift is due to more sales at the upper end of the price spectrum as fewer first time buyers continue to push the only new sales more to the repeat buyer market. The share of homes sold for more than $500,000 increased from 11% in February 2014 to 15% in February 2015.
Manhattan’s smallest apartments are fueling big gains in rents.
The median rent in the borough jumped 8.9 percent last month to $3,375, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Costs for studio apartments climbed 10 percent to a median $2,351, while rents for one-bedrooms rose 9.4 percent to $3,400, both the highest in more than seven years of record-keeping.
New York’s smaller apartments are luring new tenants entering an improving job market in the city, as well as those who can’t afford bigger homes. Would-be buyers who have been shut out of owning because of high prices and tight credit are also lingering as renters.
“The studio and one-bedroom market is the more common jumping-off point for first-time buyers,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel and a Bloomberg View contributor. Rents are rising “because of the logjam that has been created by people who have either been priced out of the purchase market or don’t qualify for a mortgage.”
Manhattan apartment prices jumped to the highest since their 2008 peak in the fourth quarter as buyers competed for a limited supply of homes. Demand was greatest for one-bedroom apartments, which accounted for 38 percent of all sales last quarter, Miller said.
A strengthening job market is also fueling housing demand. New York City’s private sector added 112,300 jobs in the 12 months through January, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.1 percent that month from 8.3 percent a year earlier, the New York State Labor Department said Tuesday.
While employment is improving, incomes aren’t rising as fast as Manhattan rents, leading tenants to seek affordability by finding smaller spaces, Gary Malin, president of brokerage Citi Habitats, said in an interview.
“Smaller apartments are drawing more attention because there’s more of an appetite for those price points if there’s only a certain amount of money you can afford to spend,” Malin said.
Citi Habitats, which also released a report today on the Manhattan rental market, said the average rent for a studio increased 5 percent in February from a year earlier to $2,150. Rents for one-bedroom units climbed 3 percent to $2,893.
Rents declined at the higher end of the market. Two-bedroom units fell 2 percent to $3,957, and three-bedrooms dropped 1 percent to $5,133, Citi Habitats said.