Tag Archives: Katonah Real Estate

Katonah Real Estate

Case Shiller reports home prices up 11.1% | Katonah Real Estate

S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) today released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for January 2021 show that home prices continue to increase across the U.S. More than 27 years of history are available for the data series, and can be accessed in full by going to https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/.

Please note that transaction records for December 2020 for Wayne County, MI, are now available. Due to delays at the local recording office caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, S&P DJI and CoreLogic were previously unable to generate a valid December 2020 update for the Detroit S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices.

YEAR-OVER-YEAR 

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported an 11.2% annual gain in January, up from 10.4% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 10.9%, up from 9.9% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted an 11.1% year-over-year gain, up from 10.2% in the previous month.

Phoenix, Seattle, and San Diego continued to report the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in January. Phoenix led the way with a 15.8% year-over-year price increase, followed by Seattle with a 14.3% increase and San Diego with a 14.2% increase. All 20 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending January 2021 versus the year ending December 2020. 

MONTH-OVER-MONTH

Before seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a 0.8% month-over-month increase, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites both posted increases of 0.8% and 0.9% respectively in January. After seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a month-over-month increase of 1.2%, and the 10-City and 20-City Composites both posted increases of 1.2% as well. In January, 19 of 20 cities reported increases before seasonal adjustment, and all 20 cities reported increases after seasonal adjustment.

ANALYSIS

“The strong price gains that we observed in the last half of 2020 continued into the first month of the new year. In January 2021, the National Composite Index rose by 11.2% compared to its year-ago levels,” says Craig J. Lazzara, Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy at S&P DJI. “The trend of accelerating prices that began in June 2020 has now reached its eighth month and is also reflected in the 10- and 20-City Composites (up 10.9% and 11.1%, respectively). The market’s strength is broadly-based: all 20 cities rose, and all 20 cities gained more in the 12 months ended in January 2021 than they had gained in the 12 months ended in December 2020.

“January’s performance is particularly impressive in historical context. The National Composite’s 11.2% gain is the highest recorded since February 2006, just one month shy of 15 years ago. In more than 30 years of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data, January’s year-over-year change is comfortably in the top decile. That strength is reflected across all 20 cities. January’s price gains in every city are above that city’s median level, and rank in the top quartile of all reports in 18 cities.

“January’s data remain consistent with the view that COVID has encouraged potential buyers to move from urban apartments to suburban homes. This demand may represent buyers who accelerated purchases that would have happened anyway over the next several years. Alternatively, there may have been a secular change in preferences, leading to a shift in the demand curve for housing. Future data will be required to analyze this question.

“Phoenix’s 15.8% increase led all cities for the 20th consecutive month, with Seattle (+14.3%) and San Diego (+14.2%) close behind. Although prices were strongest in the West (+11.7%), gains were impressive in every region.”

SUPPORTING DATA

Table 1 below shows the housing boom/bust peaks and troughs for the three composites along with the current levels and percentage changes from the peaks and troughs.

2006 Peak2012 TroughCurrent
 Index Level Date Level DateFrom Peak
(%)
 LevelFrom Trough
(%)
From Peak
(%)
National184.61Jul-06133.99Feb-12-27.4%236.3176.4%28.0%
20-City206.52Jul-06134.07Mar-12-35.1%242.9881.2%17.7%
10-City226.29Jun-06146.45Mar-12-35.3%256.5075.1%13.4%

Table 2 below summarizes the results for January 2021. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices could be revised for the prior 24 months, based on the receipt of additional source data.

January 2021January ’21/December ’20December/November1-Year
Metropolitan AreaLevelChange (%)Change (%)Change (%)
Atlanta169.960.8%0.9%9.6%
Boston252.270.8%0.8%12.7%
Charlotte185.620.7%0.6%11.0%
Chicago154.890.5%0.3%8.9%
Cleveland141.28-0.1%1.0%11.7%
Dallas210.820.8%0.9%9.2%
Denver246.051.0%0.9%10.0%
Detroit141.290.6%0.7%11.0%
Las Vegas212.600.9%1.1%8.5%
Los Angeles321.041.0%0.8%10.8%
Miami273.121.2%1.2%10.4%
Minneapolis196.900.1%0.4%10.7%
New York225.850.9%1.4%11.3%
Phoenix231.751.5%1.2%15.8%
Portland267.271.1%0.5%10.6%
San Diego301.721.4%0.7%14.2%
San Francisco291.040.2%0.2%9.5%
Seattle292.961.4%0.9%14.3%
Tampa251.701.1%1.2%11.9%
Washington260.210.8%0.9%10.7%
Composite-10256.500.8%0.9%10.9%
Composite-20242.980.9%0.9%11.1%
U.S. National236.310.8%0.9%11.2%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through January 2021

Table 3 below shows a summary of the monthly changes using the seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) data. Since its launch in early 2006, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices have published, and the markets have followed and reported on, the non-seasonally adjusted data set used in the headline indices. For analytical purposes, S&P Dow Jones Indices publishes a seasonally adjusted data set covered in the headline indices, as well as for the 17 of 20 markets with tiered price indices and the five condo markets that are tracked.

January ’21/December ’20 Change (%)December/November Change (%)
Metropolitan AreaNSASANSASA
Atlanta0.8%1.2%0.9%1.3%
Boston0.8%1.4%0.8%1.4%
Charlotte0.7%1.1%0.6%1.1%
Chicago0.5%0.9%0.3%1.0%
Cleveland-0.1%0.7%1.0%1.6%
Dallas0.8%1.0%0.9%1.3%
Denver1.0%1.1%0.9%1.3%
Detroit0.6%1.2%0.7%1.3%
Las Vegas0.9%1.3%1.1%1.4%
Los Angeles1.0%1.1%0.8%1.1%
Miami1.2%1.3%1.2%1.5%
Minneapolis0.1%0.8%0.4%1.2%
New York0.9%1.2%1.4%1.5%
Phoenix1.5%1.9%1.2%1.5%
Portland1.1%1.2%0.5%1.0%
San Diego1.4%1.4%0.7%1.3%
San Francisco0.2%1.0%0.2%0.9%
Seattle1.4%1.5%0.9%1.5%
Tampa1.1%1.3%1.2%1.5%
Washington0.8%1.2%0.9%1.3%
Composite-100.8%1.2%0.9%1.3%
Composite-200.9%1.2%0.9%1.3%
U.S. National0.8%1.2%0.9%1.3%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through January 2021

For more information about S&P Dow Jones Indices, please visit https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/.

U.S. Justice Department, NAR Agree to Settle Antitrust Case | Katonah Real Estate

On Thursday (Nov. 19), the U.S. Department of Justice announced the filing and proposed settlement of an antitrust case against the National Association of Realtors that alleged the association established and enforced illegal restraints on the ways Realtors compete.

With the case filing, the Antitrust Division simultaneously filed a proposed settlement that requires NAR to repeal and modify its rules to provide greater transparency to home buyers about the commissions of brokers representing home buyers (buyer brokers), cease misrepresenting that buyer broker services are free, eliminate rules that prohibit filtering multiple listing services (MLS) listings based on the level of buyer broker commissions, and change its rules and policy which limit access to lockboxes to only NAR-affiliated real estate brokers. If approved, the settlement will enhance competition in the real estate market, resulting in more choice and better service for consumers, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The National Association of Realtors announced on its website on Thursday that NAR had reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to develop rules that more explicitly state what is already the spirit and intent of NAR’s Code of Ethics and MLS policies regarding providing information about commissions and MLS participation.

The announcement authored by NAR General Counsel Katie Johnson in the Realtor Magazine section of the association’s website, stated, “Our rules and policies have long been recognized for creating a competitive and efficient market that benefits home buyers and sellers. This agreement resolves the DOJ’s questions about the multiple listing service (MLS) and commissions and enables NAR to remain focused on supporting our members as they preserve, protect, and advance the American dream of homeownership,” NAR

NAR 2021 President Charlie Oppler said in a videotaped statement, “We want to be absolutely clear that while NAR disagrees with the characterization of our rules and policies and NAR admits no liability, wrongdoing or truth of any allegations by the DOJ, NAR has agreed to make certain changes to its rules to address the questions raised by the DOJ.”

NAR’s Johnson, who also serves as the association’s Chief Member Experience Officer, stated that although the exact language of the settlement agreement is still being finalized for NAR’s rule changes, most of the changes seek to more explicitly state what is already the spirit and intent of NAR’s Code of Ethics and MLS policies regarding providing information about commissions and MLS participation.

“Buying a home is one of life’s biggest and most important financial decisions,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Home buyers and sellers should be aware of all the broker fees they are paying. Today’s settlement prevents traditional brokers from impeding competition—including by internet-based methods of home buying and selling—by providing greater transparency to consumers about broker fees. This will increase price competition among brokers and lead to better quality of services for American home buyers and sellers.”

NAR General Counsel Katie Johnson

According to the complaint, NAR’s anticompetitive rules, policies, and practices include: (i) prohibiting MLSs that are affiliated with NAR from disclosing to prospective buyers the commission that the buyer broker will earn; (ii) allowing buyer brokers to misrepresent to buyers that a buyer broker’s services are free; (iii) enabling buyer brokers to filter MLS listings based on the level of buyer broker commissions offered; and (iv) limiting access to the lockboxes that provide licensed brokers with access to homes for sale to brokers who work for a NAR-affiliated MLS. These NAR rules, policies, practices have been widely adopted by NAR-affiliated MLSs resulting in decreased competition among real estate brokers, the DOJ charged.

NAR General Counsel Johnson went on to state on the NAR website that in accordance with the MLS system’s long-standing focus on creating an efficient, transparent marketplace for home buyers and sellers, the amount of compensation offered to buyers’ agents for each MLS listing will be made publicly available. Publicly accessible MLS data feeds will include offers of compensation, and buyers’ agents will have an affirmative obligation to provide such information to their clients for homes of interest.

“Relatedly, the rule changes re-affirm that MLSs and brokerages, as always, must provide consumers all properties that fit their criteria regardless of compensation offered or the name of the listing brokerage,” NAR’s Johnson wrote.

She also noted that there will be a rule enacted that will more definitively stated that buyers’ agents cannot represent their services as free to clients.

Finally, with the seller’s prior approval, a licensed real estate agent will have access to the lockboxes of properties listed on an MLS even if the agent does not subscribe to the MLS, NAR added.

NAR will work with the DOJ to agree on exact rule changes within 45 days; then the Board of Directors will then have to approve the new rules. The court overseeing the settlement must formally approve it.

“In entering this agreement with the DOJ, NAR disagrees with the DOJ’s characterization of our rules and policies, and NAR admits no liability, wrongdoing, or truth of any allegations by the DOJ. The agreement does not subject NAR to any fines or payments,” NAR’s Johnson stated.

She continued, “We’re proud to be associated with the MLS system that puts consumers first and benefits home buyers, sellers, and small-business brokerages—and is constantly building upon these principles. This agreement furthers NAR’s and the MLS system’s goal of creating an efficient marketplace that fosters cooperation between brokers for the benefit of consumers.”

The proposed settlement will be published in the Federal Register as required by the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act. Any person may submit written comments regarding the proposed final judgment within 60 days of its publications to Chief, Office of Decree Enforcement and Compliance, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20530. At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the court may enter the proposed final judgment upon a finding that it serves the public interest.

read more…

realestateindepth.com/residential

New national eviction moratorium comes from unlikeliest of places: What you need to know | Katonah Real Estate

The CDC issues a nationwide ban on evictions through Dec. 31, but tenants who are behind on rent must advocate for themselves. We explain.

moving out evictions removals luggage
The CDC’s new eviction moratorium is meant, in part, to curb homelessness, which could lead to more COVID-19 cases.Mint Images/Getty Images

A national eviction moratorium is back in effect, this time with far broader protections than the now-defunct eviction ban established by the CARES Act. While the previous law only covered certain types of properties, the new moratorium effectively protects everyone living in one of the nation’s 43 million rental households, regardless of where they reside.

But the new ban on evictions, which went into effect Sept. 1 and is set to expire Dec. 31, didn’t come from Congress or the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Instead, it was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using authority granted to the federal government in a 1944 public health law. To that end, the stated purpose of the order is to keep people out of homeless shelters or other crowded living conditions that could worsen the spread of COVID-19.

Unlike previous federal measures, the CDC’s real estate leads order requires tenants who fall behind on rent to submit a declaration to their landlord that states they’ve lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic and have made an effort to look for financial assistance, as well as a few other conditions.

We’ll dig into this new eviction moratorium to unpack who is covered, what might not be covered and what you need to do now if you’re worried about getting evicted. Plus we’ll take a look at what other resources and options are available to help you stay in your home. We update this story frequently.

jessica-dolcourt-troll-ihate-promo-crop-center
If you’re worried about making rent, you aren’t alone. Josh Miller/CNET

What does the new eviction ban do (and not do)?

The CDC’s new order halts evictions across the US for anyone who has lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic and has fallen behind on rent. It doesn’t prohibit late fees, nor does it let tenants off the hook for back rent they owe. It also doesn’t establish any kind of financial fund to help renters get caught up — a safeguard some have say is critical to preventing a massive wave of evictions when the ban lifts.

The order only halts evictions for not paying rent. Lease violations for other infractions — criminal conduct, becoming a nuisance, etc. — are still enforceable with eviction. And it only protects renters earning less than $99,000 per year ($198,000 for joint filers).

The order requires renters facing eviction to fill out an as-yet unreleased government form attesting to several things: The tenant has lost income due to the pandemic, is currently unable to pay full rent, has made an effort to pay as much as possible, has sought financial help where available and would likely end up homeless or otherwise forced to live in crowded quarters if evicted.

money-cash-dollar-economy-recession-2924
It’s still unclear how much cash Congress plans to put in American’s pockets with a second stimulus bill.Angela Lang/CNET

CDC’s order doesn’t change state laws 

Any state-level eviction bans still in effect will remain in place as they are as broad or broader than that established by the CDC. To help you find out the status of eviction protection in your state, legal services site Nolo.com maintains an updated list of state eviction provisions.

Ask your landlord for a reduction or extension

In almost all instances it’s probably best to work out an arrangement with your landlord or leasing agency, if at all possible. Although some landlords have reportedly reacted to the pandemic by putting even more pressure on tenants to pay upother landlords have risen to the occasion, some going so far as to stop collecting rent payments for a period of time. 

It may be worth approaching your landlord to see if you can pay less rent in the coming months, or spread payments for the next couple of months’ rent out over the next year. Just be wary of landlords who make excessive demands. For example, some have asked tenants to turn over their $1,200 stimulus check or any money received from charity as a condition for not filing an eviction order. Don’t agree to unreasonable conditions or terms you won’t be able to meet, especially if your city or state has enacted protections against such arrangements. 

calculate-calculator-amount-of-stimulus-check-2020-cash-money-phone-007
Although almost all Washington lawmakers agree there should be another round of direct payments (aka “stimulus checks”), Congress has yet to pass a bill authorizing the payments.Sarah Tew/CNET

What you can do if you’re facing financial hardship right now

If you’re in need of immediate shelter or emergency housing, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development maintains a state-by-state list of housing organizations in your area. Select your state from the drop-down menu for a list of resources near you.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many states and cities have expanded their available financial assistance for those who are struggling to pay rent. To see what programs might be available near you, select your state on this interactive map maintained by the National Low Income Housing Association.

Nonprofit 211.org connects those in need of help with essential community services in their area and has a specific portal for pandemic assistance. If you’re having trouble with your food budget or paying your housing bills, you can use 211.org’s online search tool or dial 211 on your phone to talk to someone who can try to help.

JustShelter.org is a nonprofit that puts tenants facing eviction in touch with local organizations that can help them to remain in their homes or, in worst-case scenarios, find emergency housing. 

The online legal services chatbot at DoNotPay.com has a coronavirus financial relief tool that it says will identify which of the laws, ordinances and measures covering rent and evictions apply to you based on your location. 

If you’re seriously delinquent or know you will be soon, you may want to consult a lawyer to better understand how laws in your area apply to your situation. Legal Aid provides attorneys free of charge to qualified clients who need help with civil matters such as evictions. You can locate the nearest Legal Aid office using this search tool

Finally, if you can no longer afford rent on your current home, relocation might be an option. Average rental prices have declined across the US since February, according to an August report by Zillow. Apps like ZillowTrulia and Zumper can help you find something more affordable. Just be aware that you may still be held responsible for any back rent you currently owe as well as any rent that accrues between now and the end of your lease (if you have one), whether or not you vacate.

read more…

https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/national-eviction-moratorium-comes-from-the-unlikeliest-of-places-what-you-need-to-know/

Mortgage rates average 2.91% | Katonah Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Fall

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 2.91 percent.

“This year has been anything but normal and as the uncertainty lingers, mortgage rates remain near record lows,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “These rates continue to incentivize potential buyers and the home buying season, which shifted from spring to summer, will likely continue into the fall.”

30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.91 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending August 27, 2020, down from last week when it averaged 2.99 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.58 percent.  

15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.46 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.54 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.06 percent.  

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.91 percent with an average 0.2 point, unchanged from last week.  A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.31 percent.

The PMMS® is focused on conventional, conforming, fully-amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. 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.

Mortgage rate falls to 2.98% | Katonah Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 2.98 percent, the lowest rate in the survey’s history dating back to 1971.

“Mortgage rates fell below 3 percent for the first time in 50 years. The drop has led to increased homebuyer demand and, these low rates have been capitalized into asset prices in support of the financial markets,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “However, the countervailing force for the economy has been the rise in new virus cases which has caused the economic recovery to stagnate, and this economic pause puts many temporary layoffs at risk of ossifying into permanent job losses.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.98 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending July 16, 2020, down from 3.03 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.81 percent.  
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.48 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.51 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.23 percent.  
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.06 percent with an average 0.3 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 3.02 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.48 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.

Active loan forbearance falls | Katonah Real Estate

  • The volume of loans in active forbearance, in which borrowers are allowed to delay their monthly payments, fell by 435,000 from the previous week, according to mortgage data firm Black Knight.
  • That is the largest one-week drop yet.
  • Roughly 4.14 million loans were in forbearance, representing 7.8% of all active mortgages, down from 8.6% the prior week. That’s the lowest amount since April 28.
A man walks past the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, June 25, 2020.

A man walks past the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, June 25, 2020.Al Drago | Reuters

The number of homeowners in government and private sector mortgage bailout plans declined for the second straight week, as borrowers who got in earliest saw their plans expire.

More borrowers, however, are getting extensions of those initial three-month plans, proving the pain in the market is not over yet.

As of Tuesday, the volume of loans in active forbearance, in which borrowers are allowed to delay their monthly payments, fell by 435,000 from the previous week, according to Black Knight, a mortgage data and technology firm. That is the largest one-week drop yet.

Roughly 4.14 million loans were in forbearance, representing 7.8% of all active mortgages, down from 8.6% the prior week. That’s the lowest amount since April 28. These loans together represent just under $900 billion in unpaid principal.WATCH NOWVIDEO03:31Covid-19 mortgage bailouts drop by 435,000 but extensions increase

By category, about 6% of all mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and 11.6% of all FHA/VA loans are in forbearance plans. Just over 8.2% of loans in private label securities or banks’ portfolios are also in forbearance. The largest drop in forbearances was in Fannie and Freddie mortgages, down by 200,000 during the week

“The reduction of roughly 435,000 was driven at least in part by the fact that more than half of all active forbearance plans entering the month were set to expire at the end of June,” said Andy Walden, an economist with Black Knight. “While the majority of those have been extended, this week’s data suggests a significant share were not.”

More than 26% of loans in forbearance were extensions, according to a count by the Mortgage Bankers Association for the week ending June 28. That share has increased steadily for the past three weeks. 

The bulk of the loans in forbearance are government backed and part of the mortgage bailout program in the CARES Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law in March. It allows borrowers to miss monthly payments for at least three months and potentially up to a year. Those payments can be remitted either in repayment plans, loan modifications, or when the home is sold or the mortgage refinanced. For loans not backed by the government, most banks and private lenders have set up similar plans.

While the drop in active mortgage forbearances is encouraging, recent spikes in coronavirus cases in various states, in addition to the expiration of expanded unemployment benefits at the end of this month, present significant risk to the recovery in the mortgage market.

read more

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/10/coronavirus-mortgage-bailout-sees-biggest-one-week-decline-yet.html

US homebuilding drops 30% | Katonah Real Estate

The US housing sector suffered contruction declines nationwide amid the pandemic (AFP Photo/JUSTIN SULLIVAN)
The US housing sector suffered contruction declines nationwide amid the pandemic (AFP Photo/JUSTIN SULLIVAN)

Construction of new homes plunged just over 30 percent in April from the previous month, amid the widespread US lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to government data released Tuesday.

The collapse to just 897,000 units put the annual rate of housing starts 29.7 percent below the same month of 2019, the Commerce Department reported.

The declines were widespread across the country, with the Northeast taking the worst hit — a 44 percent drop in construction starts — while the Midwest saw a relatively small 15 percent decline.

Building of multifamily housing saw the most severe impact in most regions.

Meanwhile, permits for new construction, which in normal times is a sign of demand in the pipeline, fell 20.8 percent compared to March.

But with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, these are hardly normal times.

“Due to recent events surrounding COVID-19, many governments and businesses are operating on a limited capacity or have ceased operations completely,” the Commerce Department said, adding that the data quality still meet publication standards.

Housing is a critical sector of the US economy and demand was high before the crisis, given low mortgage lending rates, and builders were struggling to keep up with demand while prices were moving higher.

Since the pandemic hit, the Federal Reserve has slashed the benchmark interest rate to zero, which could be expected to help support home buying. But with 30 million jobs lost to the pandemic — at least temporarily — the outlook remains uncertain.

Still, Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said, “Housing construction likely has hit bottom.”

“A steep drop in activity was inevitable given the lockdowns, but we think these numbers will mark the floor; May will be better, and June better still,” he said in an analysis, noting that mortgage applications had picked up, recovering more than half the pandemic-related declines.

read more…

afp.com

Mortgage purchase applications down 31% | Katonah Real Estate

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest Weekly Application Survey shows a 0.3% seasonally adjusted decline in loan application volume from the previous week. The Refinance index decreased by 1% from the previous week and was 225% higher than it was the same week one year ago. The Purchase Index increased 2% from one week earlier but was 31% lower than it was the same time a year ago. The MBA notes that the pandemic-related economic stoppage has caused some buyers and sellers to delay their decisions until there are signs of a turnaround. This has resulted in reduced buyer traffic, less inventory, and March existing-homes sales falling to their slowest annual pace in nearly a year. Most importantly, the economic stoppage has halted the momentum in the housing market generated by young, would-be homebuyers, mostly from the millennial generation, preventing them from entering the market.

With the federal government’s recent passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, not only did qualifying individuals receive economic impact payments, i.e., stimulus checks, but small businesses were also extended emergency advances of up to $10,000 as part of the Small Business Administration’s economic injury grant. With these measures in place, expanding businesses and families’ balance sheets to accommodate for more real estate is less of a priority than keeping their existing assets afloat. The CARES act also provides options for mortgage forbearance.

As can be seen from the above figure, year-over-year gains in refinancing skyrocketed in the middle of March and continued their upward trajectory towards the end of the second week of April. Year-over-year purchasing changes, however, slipped into negative territory for that period, posting a year-over-year decline of 31% in the latest week. The National Association of Realtors cites that lender credit standards such as higher down payments and credit scores would likely deter home sales’ bounce when the pandemic is over. Before the outbreak, foreclosure rates were at historic lows.

read more…

eyeonhousing.org

Housing industry experts look for glimmers of hope in dismal jobs report | Katonah Real Estate

The U.S. economy reported a plummet of 701,000 nonfarm payrolls in the early part of March, according to new data posted Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This marked the first decline in payrolls since September 2010. As a result, the unemployment rate increased by 0.9 percentage point to 4.4%, the greatest over-the-month increase since January 1975 and the highest unemployment level since August 2017.

The number of unemployed persons spiked by 1.4 million to 7.1 million in March, with the BLS citing the COVID-19 crisis for the statistical mayhem. The number of unemployed persons who reported being on temporary layoff more than doubled in March to 1.8 million while the number of permanent job losers increased by 177,000 to 1.5 million.

It’s important to note that this BLS report does not take the entire month of March into account. And recent data shows that nearly 10 million filed for unemployment in the last few weeks, meaning the BLS figure will rise significantly in next month’s report.

“This report reflects the initial impact on U.S. jobs of the public health measures being taken to contain the coronavirus,” Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in a statement. “It should be noted the report’s surveys only reference the week and pay periods that include March 12; we know that our report next month will show more extensive job losses, based on the high number of state unemployment claims reported yesterday and the week before.”

The leisure and hospitality industries were particularly hard hit with a loss of 459,000 jobs, and other industries experiencing acute declines included health care and social assistance, professional and business services, retail trade and construction.

Within the mortgage and housing industry, there was a grim acknowledgment of an unprecedented economic crisis – yet several thought leaders tried to find bright spots in the dismal data.

Mike Fratantoni, senior vice president and chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, noted the report “showed almost an additional 1.5 million households now working part-time when they would rather have full-time hours. The decline in the participation rate already indicates that some workers are stepping back from even looking for a job as the pandemic crisis continues.”

Fratantoni predicted next month’s employment numbers will record higher levels of job losses, which would lead to “a drop in demand for purchase mortgages,” although refinancing activity is expected to remain vibrant. He also noted one small bright spot in the new data regarding home construction.

“Although construction employment declined last month, there was a small increase in residential construction, with the decline driven by non-residential builders,” he continued. “When housing demand recovers later this year, we will once again be facing a supply shortage, so it is good to see that homebuilders are continuing to hire.”

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, also acknowledged that the residential side of the construction industry was stronger than the commercial property side, adding that residential construction jobs “were steady and higher by 27,000 from a year ago for actual building construction and higher by 44,000 among general contractors. We had a housing shortage before going into the crisis and home builders were gearing up to relieve the inventory tightness.”

Yun also maintained a sense of hopefulness for the newly out-of-work, explaining that “the enhanced unemployment insurance checks to make up for a good portion of lost income” and the post-pandemic weeks will be framed by “spending power ready to be unleashed once the all-clear signal is declared.”

Anthony Casa, chairman of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts, warned that the U.S. economy in general and housing in particular could withstand continued waves of millions filing for unemployment benefits, with small businesses facing an existential crisis because most companies in that sector “do not have the money to shut down for multiple months.” And while Casa praised the mortgage industry for remaining “very strong” thanks to historically low rates, he expressed concern over the real estate industry.

“The longer this goes on, the bigger the impact on them,” he said. “Real estate is in for a tough year if home values decline.”

read more…

Fewer Americans moved in 2019 | Katonah Real Estate

What do Americans do when so few new homes are being built? Remodel, according to the latest report for Buildfax

According to the housing data and analytics company, 2019 marked the lowest rate of mobility in the U.S. since the metric was first tracked in 1947. Only 9.8% of Americans moved last year. Though this marks a new low, it’s not terribly far off from the only 10.1% who moved between 2017 and 2018. 

Buildfax’s report pointed to new construction as part of the issue. Namely, the lack thereof. While single-family housing authorizations increased 4.82% year over year in 2019, the year did not close out on a strong note. According to the report, authorizations decreased by 2.61% from November to December 2019. Local Motion is a family run business, and we understand what families need when they long distance movers. Our administrative staff stays connected to you on your move day, ensuring every phase of your move is exemplary.

“The U.S. is facing a housing shortage, in part due to the slowdown in housing construction last year. This has been felt in both large metros and smaller cities across the country,” Buildfax Managing Director Jonathan Kanarek said. “Now, even though the economy is showing strong growth and mortgage rates remain low, those who want to buy a new home are experiencing challenges with increased competition on a tight housing supply.”

Instead, the report states, people are remodeling. Buildfax reports that existing maintenance volume and spending increased 9.47% and 16.26% year over year, respectively. In the past, Buildfax has often referred to home maintenance activity as a recession indicator. As this activity increases, Buildfax asserts that recession probability lowers, and vice versa.

That said, in its December Healthy Housing Report, Buildfax states that “maintenance and remodeling increased substantially, potentially fueled by homeowners who feel unable to buy a new home and therefore invest in their existing property.”

As many economists have pointed out, U.S. homeowners have been staying put for a while now. The concept of “aging in place” is not a new one. In August of 2018, AARP revealed that almost 90% of homeowners approaching retirement want to stay in their homes as they age.

And for the most part, they are.

 Last February, Freddie Mac released a study showing that seniors born after 1931 are staying in their homes longer than previous generations. According to the report, this generation held 1.6 million houses back from the market in 2018. 

HousingWire Columnist Logan Mohtashami offered his own analysis on the topic.

“Americans are staying in their homes longer because the house they have is perfectly suitable for their family’s need,” he writes. “For more than four decades, home sizes have been getting bigger while family size has been in decline.”

read more…