In November, national home prices continued to rise at a fast pace, fueled by strong demand and low inventory. All 19 major markets saw double-digit growths in home prices.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, reported by S&P Dow Jones Indices, rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 18.3% in November, following a 21.9% increase in October. It marks the fourth consecutive month of double-digit growth in home prices. On a year-over-year basis, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index posted a 9.5% annual gain in November, up from 8.4% in September. It is the fastest pace of home price appreciation since February 2014. Strong demand, low interest rates and tight inventory together pushed home prices to new highs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Home Price Index, released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12.9% in November, following a 19.3% increase in October. On a year-over-year basis, the FHFA Home Price NSA Index rose by 11.0% in November, after an increase of 10.3% in October. It confirmed rapid growth in home prices for this month.
In addition to tracking national home price changes, S&P reported home price indexes across 19 metro areas in November (Detroit metro area data was missing in November 2020 because there are not a sufficient number of records for the month of November for Detroit).
In November, all 19 metro areas reported positive home price appreciation and their annual growth rates ranged from 9.1% to 27.7%. Among all the 19 metro areas, seven metro areas exceeded the national average of 18.3%. New York, Seattle and Boston had the highest home price appreciation. New York led the way with a 27.7% increase, followed by Seattle with a 22.4% increase and Boston with a 21.9% increase.
After reaching almost 15-year high last month, existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), declined for the first time in six months amid inventory shortage and surging prices.
Total existing home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 2.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million in November. On a year-over-year basis, sales were still 25.8% higher than a year ago.
The first-time buyer share stayed at 32% in November, same as last month and a year ago. However, price gains threaten this share in the future. The November inventory level fell to record-low 1.28 million units from 1.42 million units in October and is down from 1.64 million units a year ago.
At the current sales rate, the November unsold inventory represents an all-time low 2.3-month supply, down from 2.5-month in October and 3.7-month a year ago. This low level supply of resale homes is good news for home construction.
Homes stayed on the market for an average of just 21 days in November, an all-time low, seasonally even with last month and down from 38 days a year ago. In November, 73% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month.
The November all-cash sales share was 20% of transactions, up from 19% last month but unchanged from a year ago.
Tight supply continues to push up home prices. The November median sales price of all existing homes was $310,800, up 14.6% from a year ago, representing the 105th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median existing condominium/co-op price of $271,400 in November was up 9.5% from a year ago.
Regionally, three of four regions saw a decline in existing home sales in November. Sales in the Northeast, Midwest and South fell 2.2%, 2.5% and 3.8% respectively from last month, while sales in the West remained unchanged. On a year-over-year basis, sales still grew by double-digit in all four regions, ranging from 24.2% in the Midwest to 27.3% in the West.
Though sales took a marginal step back in November, existing home sales have outperformed 2019 levels and housing demand is expected to remain strong due to low mortgage rates and remote-work flexibilities. However, the imbalance between housing supply and demand could hamper future sales by driving up home prices and restraining affordability.
U.S. home prices posted a robust gain in August — another sign that the American housing market remains strong despite economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, showed that home prices climbed 5.2% in August from a year earlier, accelerating from a 4.1% gain in July. The gain was stronger than economists had expected.
Phoenix (up 9.9% from August 2019), Seattle (up 8.5%) and San Diego (7.6%) posted the biggest gains. All 19 cities in the index recorded price increases. The 20-city index excluded prices from the Detroit metropolitan area index because of delays related to pandemic at the recording office in Wayne County, which includes Detroit.
Helped by rock-bottom mortgage rates, the U.S. housing market has been a source of strength as the U.S. economy climbs back from an April-June freefall caused by the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it.
“The supply of for-sale homes, already extremely tight, has only become more constrained in recent months, and historically low mortgage rates continue to encourage many buyers to enter the market,” Matthew Speakman, economist at the real estate firm Zillow, said in a research note. “This heightened competition for the few homes on the market has placed consistent, firm pressure on home prices for months now, and there are few signs that this will relent any time soon.”
The National Association of Realtors reported last week that sales of existing shot up 9.4% in September and that the median selling price of a home climbed 15% from a year earlier to $311,800. And the Commerce Department reported that home building rose 1.9% in September on a surge in construction of single-family homes.
Borrowers who rushed in droves to capitalize on low mortgage rates are in for a new surprise.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises that back millions of mortgages, are adding a new 0.5% fee on all mortgage refinance transactions starting Sept. 1. The news comes as the rate on the 30-year-fixed mortgage is just off its all-time low at 2.96%, according to Freddie Mac.
Normally a rate this low would be a boon for homeowners looking to refinance their current mortgage and lower their monthly payment, but the extra would cost the average consumer $1,400, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, and would eat away at some of the savings during a very uncertain economic time.
“It’s a money grab,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, a personal finance website. “It’s capitalizing on refinancing volume with the idea of putting more money into the coffers of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.”
17.8 million candidates are eligible for refinancing
The new fee could affect the 17.8 million homeowners who are eligible for refinancing, according to numbers provided exclusively to Yahoo Money from BlackKnight, a mortgage and analytics data consulting firm.
On average, these Americans could save $291 a month, for a total of $5.2 billion in cumulative savings. These homeowners have at least 20% equity in their homes, a credit score of 720 or higher, and who can shave off at least 0.75 percentage points off their current mortgage rate.
Lenders have the option to pay the fee themselves rather than passing it on to the borrower, but it’s unclear if banks will do this.
“You’ve got a Federal Reserve creating money that is used to buy Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities [to] drive down mortgage rates and allow the consumer to put savings in their pockets, but then the Federal Housing Finance Authority wants to get in the pockets of these consumers and dilute a lot of the benefit of what the Federal Reserve is doing in the first place,” McBride said.
“It is really going to put a dent in the refinancing boom,” he added, “especially for borrowers who with a rate of 3.7% could refinance to 2.7%, but now will expect 3%.
“While housing demand continues to rebound, the month-long swoon in economic activity has caused the 10-year Treasury benchmark to drop. In the short-term, this means the demand will continue on the back of near record low mortgage rates,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “However, the most recent consumer spending data has been pointing to slow growth since mid-June. The concern is that the pause in economic activity will cause unemployment to remain elevated which will lead to longer-term labor market distress.”
30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.01 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending July 23, 2020, up slightly from 2.98 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.75 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.54 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.48 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.18 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.
This week, after the city entered phase 2 of its reopening, contract activity increased 41%, reaching the highest numbers since the end of March, when the country shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak. New listings also increased 57% since last week, reaching a level not seen since March 2, according to data compiled by UrbanDigs.
Though listings are down 36% from this time last year, brokers are confident the slump in the market is temporary — and on its way out. “This is a remarkable recovery from the entire second quarter,” said Garrett Derderian, the CEO of GS Data Services.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of concern, but also a lot of pent-up demand,” Jason Haber of Warburg Realty told ABC News.
Derderian’s data shows the median list price of $1,395,000 is up 5% from this time last year, while the average price-per-foot is down just 3% to $1,560.
“What this tells us on a high level is the recovery on the listing side has started to take hold and is looking like the V-shape that was anticipated earlier this year,” he said.
The same can be said for the Seattle and Miami markets, the latter which has actually seen an increase in property trades compared to last year, as many in the Northeast — particularly in the hard hit tri-state area — continue to relocate to Florida.
There have been 217 contracts signed in Manhattan since June 1, a decrease of 71% from this time last year. But this should not come as a surprise, given that the city just opened for in-person showings Monday.
Data sets put together by Derderian and Jesse Kent, the CEO of real estate public relations agency Derring-Do, show that prices have not gone down substantially despite the crisis.
“There has been wide speculation that prices were going to decline 10 to 20% in NYC real estate investments, but as of now, that is simply not the case,” said Derderian. “In fact, there may be a silver lining for the Manhattan housing market as workers may want to rely less on public transit and walk to work. This could bode well for many parts of Manhattan and result in price increases depending on the neighborhood and price point. The same is true for downtown Brooklyn and the immediate surrounding neighborhoods.”
Another thing that makes brokers optimistic is that the buyers who are currently looking seem to be fully committed.
“There are two types of people: short-term buyers who will likely not invest during the pandemic, and those who see the near-future potential and are looking to invest in the long term,” Haber said.
“Because there’s so much unknown right now, the profile of the buyer is someone who believes in New York long term,” said Michael J. Franco, from real estate broker Compass.
Even while the market appears to be recovering, Warburg Realty’s Bill Kowalczuk explained that the process of viewing and buying has changed due to the coronavirus.
Not only does a potential buyer have to schedule a viewing 24 hours in advance, but they have to wear personal protective equipment, sign a stack of forms acknowledging the health risks they’re taking and keep from touching any surfaces while inside the property (the agent has to open all cabinets and doors).
The documents potential clients must sign prior to attending a viewing include a limitation of liability form and a health questionnaire screening form. Though they’re not required by law, all Real Estate Board of New York members are asked to give them to their customers to ensure their safety.
Fueled by people’s eagerness to move forward, Kowalczuk said he expects a boom of market activity in the next six weeks.
This April 16, 2020 photo shows a real estate company sign that marks a home for sale in Harmony, Pa. U.S. new home sales plunged 15.4% in March as the lockdowns that began in the middle of the month began to rattle the housing market. The Commerce Department reported Thursday, April 23, that sales of new single-family homes dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 627,000 last month after sales had fallen 4.6% in February. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Sales of existing homes plunged 17.8% in April with the real estate market still in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that last month’s decline pushed sales down to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.33 million units, the slowest pace since September 2011.
The sales drop was the largest one-month decline since a 22.5% fall in July 2010. That tail-off was preceded by the end a congressionally approved tax credit intended pull the housing market out of the 2006 collapse of the housing market.
The median price for a home sold in April was $286,800, which was an increase of 7.4% from a year ago. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Realtors group, attributed the big jump in the median price to a lack of enough homes for sale, especially for first-time buyers.ADVERTISEMENT
Sales were down in all parts of the country with the West seeing a 25% drop. Sales in the Northeast fell 16.9%. Sales were down 17.9% in the South and down 12% in the Midwest.
Analysts said that the coronavirus shutdowns had contributed to the shortage in the number of homes for sale in April and that played a role in the increase in prices.
“Homebuyers are getting back out there, searching for more space as they realize using their home as an office and school may become the norm,” said Taylor Marr, lead economist at Redfin, a real estate brokerage firm. “But sellers are still holding off on listing their homes, partially due to economic uncertainty and concerns of health risks.”
Redfin said that the most competitive housing markets in April and early May were Boston, San Francisco and Fort Worth.
Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said she expected sales to rebound off their lows in May “as a combination of pent-up demand as well as a desire to move to less densely populated areas boosts sales.”
According to the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report, released by the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance hit 3.2 million for the week ending May 2nd, bringing the total to 33.5 million over the past seven weeks.
In the week ending May 2nd, the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits, known as jobless claims, was at a seasonally adjusted level of 3,169,000, a decrease of 677,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 3,846,000 claims. The four-week moving average decreased to 4,173,500, from a revised average of 5,035,000 in the previous week. After it hit a record of 6.9 million for the week ending March 28th, the number of jobless claims has declined gradually in the following weeks. By the week ending May 2nd, the number of jobless claims was less than half of the peak of 6.9 million, and the seven-week’s jobless claims totaled 33.5 million.
The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate increased by 3.1 percentage points to 15.5% for the week ending April 25th. The number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment increased to 22,647,000 during the week ending April 25th, from an upward revised level of 18,011,000 in the previous week. It was the highest level of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.
The unadjusted number of initial claims, released by the U.S. Department of Labor, totaled 3,495,703 in the week ending April 25th, a decrease of 785,945 from the previous week. The chart below presents the top 10 states ranked by the number of initial claims for the week ending April 25th. Florida, California, Georgia, Texas, and New York reported the most initial claims. Florida led the way with 433,103 claims, followed by California with 325,343 claims and Georgia with 266,565 claims. The number of jobless claims in these 10 states accounted for about 56% of the total number of jobless claims in the week ending April 25th.
The trending of initial claims was mixed. For the week ending April 25th, Washington (+56,030), Georgia (+19,562), New York (+14,229), Oregon (+12,091), and Alabama (+8,534) reported the largest increases in initial claims, while California (-203,017), Florida (-73,567), Connecticut (-69,767), New Jersey (-68,173), and Pennsylvania (-66,698) had the largest decreases in initial claims.
Connecticut’s governor proposed putting a toll gantry on the 1-mile section of I-684 that goes out of New York.
The proposal to put a tollbooth on the Connecticut mile of Interstate 684 apparently elicited negative reactions from Connecticut politicians as well as New Yorkers. Democrats in the Connecticut State Senate are less than enthusiastic about Gov. Ned Lamont’s plan for tolls at 14 spots throughout the state.
Lamont wants to put tolls on roads in his state to raise revenue and pay for repairs. One of the roads he picked is I-684, the “interstate highway” that runs down the east side of Putnam and Westchester counties in New York.
The toll plaza would go in the 1.4 mile stretch of I-684 that is in Connecticut. The toll gantry would be sandwiched between the exit for the Westchester County Airport to the south and the exit for Armonk, home of IBM, to the north.
Lamont met with the Democratic caucus Wednesday to go over his plan and hear questions and concerns from the caucus. Senate President Martin Looney told Patch that there was broad support for Lamont’s proposed transportation fixes, but disagreement on how to pay for them.
“We need to find something that is broadly palatable in the General Assembly and also to the public,” Looney said.
The caucus didn’t take a headcount on support for Lamont’s plan. Looney said Lamont was going to reflect on what he heard in the caucus meeting.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff said everyone acknowledges that it’s vitally important to upgrade Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure. He said Lamont carefully listened to concerns from legislators.
“How we get there and how we pay for it is certainly a different story,” Duff said. “But it was a very frank conversation with the governor.”
Lamont campaigned on truck-only tolling, but said after being elected it wouldn’t create enough revenue for the state and could run into some legal challenges from the trucking industry. Lamont rolled out a 50-toll gantry plan that took up part of the 2019 legislative session, but in the end never got a full vote. Any toll vote would likely become a hot-button issue in the 2020 election where state representatives and senators are up for re-election.
Legislative Republicans in Connecticut have been steadfast in their opposition to tolls. House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said that there is common ground in Lamont’s latest plan and it was more well-thought than previous iterations, but tolls are still a non-starter.
Non-starter was exactly the term New York State Senator Pete Harckham used, talking about his constituents in Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties who would be unfairly affected. “Governor Lamont’s plan to place a toll on I-684 is a nonstarter because it disproportionately impacts New York commuters. There are enough roads elsewhere in Connecticut to toll to fund infrastructure projects in Connecticut.”
New York’s housing crisis has taken center stage in the last few months: A bold package of bills was passed in Albany to protect tenants, while the city’s Rent Guidelines Board voted to raise the rent despite clamors from residents of rent stabilized apartments. Something that housing advocates have continuously cited is the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless in the city.
A new study by the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness (ICPH), found that on July 1, 2018, there were over 12,000 families with children sleeping in a city-run shelter. The study also explored the biggest factors—family, neighborhood, and shelter dynamics—that lead to homelessness.
Overall, the study says that in fiscal year 2016, the main reasons families entered shelters included domestic violence (30 percent), eviction (25 percent), and overcrowding (17 percent).
In terms of shelter dynamics, the ICPH analysis found that neighborhoods with the highest family shelter capacity include Concourse/Highbridge, East Tremont in the Bronx, and Brownsville in Brooklyn. The report also notes that in 2015, the district with the most families entering shelters was East New York in Brooklyn.
Neighborhood dynamics contributing to homelessness, the study found, include educational attainment, unemployment, rent burden (as well as disappearing affordable units), and poverty.
An interactive map (below) shows the percentage of severely rent-burdened households in each borough—meaning households spending 50 percent or more of their income on rent. The map shows that the Bronx had the most severely rent-burdened households with 33.1 percent, followed by Staten Island at 29.5 percent (those figures are based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey.)
The study lists specific neighborhoods facing the most instability for different reasons. In Borough Park, for instance, 44 percent of households are severely rent burdened, and in Mott Haven, 40 percent of residents have less than a high-school diploma.
“Severely rent burdened households are often just one lost paycheck or medical emergency away from eviction,” the study reads. “As rents continue to rise, the preservation of affordable low income housing is essential to keeping families on the brink of homelessness stably housed in their communities.”
Also included in the map are the number of disappearing affordable units in each neighborhood. Those with large numbers of lost affordable units include Battery Park/Tribeca, Midtown Business District, Williamsburg/Greenpoint, Fort Greene/Brooklyn Heights, Fresh Meadows/Briarwood, Coney Island, and East Harlem.
Though the ICPH report says the number of families with children in shelters has increased by almost 55 percent between 2011 and 2018, the city’s Department of Homeless Services told Curbed that the overall numbers have gone down.
“Our transformation plan puts people first, offering them the opportunity to get back on their feet in their home boroughs, closer to support networks, including schools,” Isaac McGinn, a city Department of Homeless Services spokesperson told Curbed in a statement.
“As we turn the tide on this citywide challenge, we’ve driven down the number of families experiencing homelessness overall, while also helping hundreds of families in shelter move closer to their children’s schools—and we’ll be taking this progress even further as we continue to implement our five-year plan,” he added.