U.S. consumers filed fewer loan applications to buy and refinance homes, while home borrowing costs were mixed with 30-year mortgage rates unchanged on the week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.
The Washington-based industry group said its seasonally adjusted index on mortgage requests fell 2.5 percent to 329.5 in the week ended Oct. 26. It hit 322.1 two weeks earlier, which was the weakest reading since Dec. 26, 2014.
Interest rates on 30-year conforming mortgages, whose balances are $453,100 or less, on average were unchanged at 5.11 percent, the highest since February 2011.
Other borrowing costs that MBA tracks were both higher and lower from the previous week.
MBA’s seasonally adjusted measure on loan applications for home purchases, a proxy on future home sales, fell 1.5 percent to 224.9 last week. It was close to 224.0, which was the lowest since February 2017, set two weeks earlier.
The purchase application index was lower year-over-year, according to Joel Kan, MBA’s assistant vice president of economic and industry forecasts.
“Purchase applications may have been adversely impacted by the recent uptick in rates and the significant stock market volatility we have seen the past couple of weeks,” Kan said in a statement.
Mortgage rates jumped this month in step with U.S. bond yields US10YT=RR on worries about rising inflation and growing federal borrowing to finance a widening budget deficit.
Rising borrowing costs, disappointing company results and trade tensions between China and the United States stoked a stock market rout as the S&P 500 .SPX fell last Friday to its lowest since early May.
China, Japan factory output weakens in face of trade threat
Wall Street share prices have recovered some of last week’s losses.
The group’s seasonally adjusted gauge on refinancing applications decreased 3.8 percent to 884.2 last week, holding above 838.1 two weeks ago, which was the lowest reading since December 2000.
Tom Brokaw and 43 South Bedford Road (Credit: Getty Images and Ginnel Real Estate)
Newscaster Tom Brokaw’s 56-acre estate in Pound Ridge, N.Y., has hit the market, asking $6.3 million.
The family compound, which sits on the edge of a private lake, includes a 4,000-square-foot main house, plus a pool house and caretaker’s cottage. The NBC legend bought the estate at 43 South Bedford Road his wife, Meredith Auld, for around $4.25 million in 1998, according to property records.
43 South Bedford Road (Credit: Ginnel Real Estate)
Located about 50 miles north of Manhattan, the property has ample hiking trails and a swimming pool that’s steps from the lake. The compound also includes two fully-approved subdivisions that could accommodate two additional houses.
With so many events – engagement parties, showers, rehearsal dinners, after parties and send-off brunches – associated with your wedding day, food trucks are the perfect mobile way to break out of a catering rut. Six of our favorites offer a variety of cuisines and services perfect for all your events, or even the big day itself.
Based in Stamford, this duo of trucks offers seven grilled cheeses, plus sweet dessert melts.
The Menu: Rentals include the full menu (from the original to the jalapeno popper to the pulled pork with caramelized onions and pickles), plus any daily specials.
The Cost: Main service is $25/person; end-of-night service is $400 plus consumption. Bookings more than 1 hour from Stamford incur a $250 travel fee.
Test it Out: Follow Melt Mobile on facebook for a weekly list of locations.
Party of Two Catering operates this popular Hudson Valley-based truck specializing in fries tossed with flavorful seasonings or smothered in creative toppings.
The Menu: Choose from three options. The Basic Party (two hours of service, choose three menu items from more than 15 options) and the After Party (one hour of service, choose from seven options) both feature all-you-can-eat topped fries. The Toss Up is a pay-by-the-hour service and only includes tossed fries.
Cost: The Basic Party, $14 per guest; the After Party, $7 per guest; the Toss Up, $5 per guest per hour.
Test it Out: Follow Frites of NY on Facebook to find the truck at events.
Book it: www.fritesofny.com; truck is not permitted in Rockland, Greene or Albany counties.
The Souvlaki Truck
Greek street food (and thick-cut oregano fries) is the big draw for this Yonkers truck.
The Menu: Choose from Vending Style (guests order individually) or Buffet Style (setup of trays), to bring chicken souvlaki, pork souvlaki, lamb gyro, falafel, and fries to your guests.
The Cost: Vending style charges a truck rental fee (starts at $500) plus consumption; Buffet Style, $1,000 up to 50 guests, then $15 per guest.
Test it Out: The truck parks on Central Ave in Yonkers (between Fort Hill Ave and Ardsley Rd) Tuesday through Sunday.
The National Association of Home Builders’ Multifamily Production Index (MPI) increased two points to 55 in the fourth quarter of 2016. For five straight years, the MPI has been at or above 50, which indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse (Figure 1).
Figure 1: NAHB Multifamily Production Index (MPI) and Multifamily Starts (in thousands)
The MPI is a composite measure of three key segments of the multifamily housing market: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and “for-sale” units, or condominiums. In the fourth quarter, low-rent units remained unchanged at 54 while market-rate rental units rose one point to 58 and for-sale units increased three points to 53.
The Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures the multifamily housing industry’s perception of vacancies, remained unchanged at 42, with lower numbers indicating fewer vacancies (Figure 2).
Figure 2: NAHB Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI) and 5+ Rental Vacancy Rate
After peaking at 70 in the second quarter of 2009, the MVI improved consistently through 2010 and has been fairly stable since 2011. Historically, the MVI has shown to be a leading indicator of Census multifamily vacancy rates, which is displayed in Figure 2 as well.
Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage topping 4 percent for the first time since 2015.
30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.03 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending November 23, 2016, up from last week when it averaged 3.94 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.95 percent.
15-year FRM this week averaged 3.25 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.14 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.
Quote Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.
“In a short week leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, the 10-year Treasury yield rose 8 basis points. The 30-year mortgage rate followed suit, rising 9 basis points to 4.03 percent. This increase marks the first week since 2015 that mortgage rates have risen above 4 percent.”
Hong Kong/Shanghai: Earlier this year, Mr. and Mrs. Cai, a couple from Shanghai, decided to end their marriage. The rationale wasn’t irreconcilable differences; rather, it was a property market bubble. The pair, who operate a clothing shop, wanted to buy an apartment for 3.6 million yuan ($532,583), adding to three places they already own. But the local government had begun, among other bubble-fighting measures, to limit purchases by existing property holders. So in February, the couple divorced.
“Why would we worry about divorce? We’ve been married for so long,” said Cai, the husband, who requested that the couple’s full names not be used to avoid potential legal trouble. “If we don’t buy this apartment, we’ll miss the chance to get rich.”
China’s rising property prices this year have been inspiring such desperate measures, as frenzied buyers are seeking to act before further regulatory curbs are imposed. While the latest figures out Friday show easing in some of the hottest cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the cost of new homes surged by the most in seven years in September.
On the whole, the real estate market “apparently cooled” in October following targeted measures rolled out in first-tier and some second-tier cities, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. Local governments in at least 21 cities have been introducing property curbs, such as requiring larger down-payments and limiting purchases of multiple dwellings in a bid to cool prices.
The impact of the curbs may be short-lived as regulators have shown no signs of tightening on the monetary front, according to analysts from UBS Group AG and Bank of Communications Co.
“The curbs will show their effect in the initial two-to-three months, but in the longer term idle capital will still likely flow to property in the largest hubs as ‘safe-heaven’ assets,” said Xia Dan, a Shanghai-based analyst at Bank of Communications. The impact of the curbs will gradually abate as “liquidity is so abundant in a credit binge,” she said.
In the first three quarters of 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, average prices for new homes rose 30% in tier-one cities such as Shanghai, and 13% in smaller, tier-two cities.
The boom traces to 2014, when the People’s Bank of China began easing lending requirements and cutting interest rates. The China Securities Regulatory Commission also lifted restrictions on bond and stock sales by developers, helping them raise money for new projects.
Soon, properties were selling for ever-larger sums in government land auctions. By June 2016, China’s 196 listed developers had incurred 3 trillion yuan in debt, up from 1.3 trillion three years before. In many cities, the price per square meter for undeveloped land has risen higher than for existing apartments on a comparable plot next door, a situation the Chinese describe as “flour more expensive than bread.”
Officials have been trying to end the exuberance without harming the economy, a task made more difficult by the property fever’s uneven spread. Many smaller municipalities rely on property sales to plug holes in their budgets, giving them an incentive to increase the supply of developable land. So while premier cities have seen tight supply and high prices, smaller ones have too many apartments and not enough buyers.
“Usually the market moves in tandem,” said Patrick Wong, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong. “It’s quite dramatic to see tier-one cities need tightening and lower-tier cities need relaxation.”
The central government is also promising to crack down on rogue players: In early October, the ministry of housing and urban-rural development said it was investigating 45 developers and agents for allegedly engaging in false advertising and other unlawful activities promoting speculation.
There’s some risk that such measures will succeed too well. In a 28 September report by Deutsche Bank AG, economists Zhiwei Zhang and Li Zeng estimated that a 10% decline in housing prices nationwide would lead to 243 billion yuan in losses for developers. Consumer spending could fall, too, since people have taken on more debt to buy property. Mortgages accounted for 23% of new loans in 2014, compared with 35% in the first half of 2016 and 71% in July and August.
“The potential macro risk is alarming,” Zhang and Zeng wrote.
The red-hot growth in home prices across the U.S. West is starting to slow in some cities as sticker shock and low inventory put off weary buyers.
Denver, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, have seen gains in real estate values moderate after years of double-digit increases, according to Zillow. A slowdown in the tech epicenter of San Francisco is becoming even more pronounced, with the median home value in August rising less than 1 percent from a year earlier.
The five-year surge in real estate demand across the West is starting to take its toll in some areas as buyers become more reluctant to purchase a home that would eat up a large chunk of their monthly earnings. With job growth still robust, house hunters are pushing outward from core cities to get more for their money.
“Homebuyers are starting to see a bit of price fatigue and are starting to step back and think twice about making that purchase,” said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Seattle-based Zillow. “Prices have grown so much over the last few years as part of the recovery that many markets are well beyond their initial 2006 or 2007 peak, so homes are now more expensive than they’ve ever been.”
Western cities have led the nation’s recovery from last decade’s recession with record-setting economic growth and a boom in jobs, particularly in the technology industry, leading to a surge in housing demand. In the past five years, home values have soared 71 percent in Denver, 66 percent in San Francisco and 54 percent in Austin, Zillow data show. Nationwide, the gain was 22 percent.
The prices have gotten too heated for many buyers in Denver, which has seen a slowdown since the beginning of the year, said Wade Perry, a managing broker at Coldwell Banker Devonshire in the area.
“Buyers are starting to push back and say, ‘I’m not going to pay that much for that house,’” Perry said.
The median home value in Denver rose 10 percent in August from a year earlier to $353,300, according to Zillow. While that’s still one of the top increases in the country, it’s down from an almost 16 percent surge in the same period of 2015.
In Austin, which, like Denver, has benefited in part from a spreading tech industry and an influx of well-paid workers, the median climbed 8.1 percent, compared with 12 percent growth a year earlier. Los Angeles’s growth slowed to 6.9 percent from 7.5 percent, while in San Diego it decelerated to 4 percent from 6.3 percent.
For San Francisco, where the median home value has soared to $1.1 million, the increase was just 0.6 percent after a 15 percent jump in August 2015. The city’s price gains have made it the most overvalued housing market in the U.S., UBS Group AG said in a report this week.
Still, there’s no let-up in some other Western tech-heavy markets, such as Portland, Oregon, where home values soared 20 percent in August, compared with 13 percent a year earlier. In Seattle, the 15 percent gain outpaced the roughly 14 percent increase the year before.
Nationwide, the median home value climbed 5.1 percent in August — up from 4.6 percent a year earlier.
A slowdown in home-price appreciation would be a healthy change, said Patrick Carlisle, chief marketing analyst at Paragon Real Estate Group in San Francisco.
“The cooling of a desperately overheated housing market to something closer to normal is not bad news,” he said. “The huge increases in housing prices have created enormous social stresses in the area, as well as leading some of our local high-tech companies and would-be startups to look at locating elsewhere.”
The overheated markets are pushing some buyers to shift their house hunt to the suburbs, fueling faster appreciation in outlying areas than in the neighboring boom cities, Zillow data show. In the Denver suburb of Arvada, for instance, the median home value in August soared 13 percent from a year earlier. It jumped almost 14 percent in Englewood, a short light-rail ride from downtown.
Ben and Nicole Irwin began looking for homes in the area last year and soon discovered the Denver properties they liked cost $500,000 to $600,000. The couple ended up paying $390,000 for a three-bedroom house in Arvada, where they were attracted to good public schools, a charming old town and the city’s proximity to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a popular outdoor concert venue.
“To get the size house we wanted, it would have been out of our price range,” said Ben Irwin, a 37-year-old communications manager for the city of Boulder. “We found that we could get those kinds of houses for $150,000 to $200,000 less” outside of Denver.
In Austin, where home prices are higher but sales are down, surrounding towns “have seen incredible appreciation” as buyers seek out affordability in the city’s outskirts, said Dave Murray, a broker at DMTX Realty.
Home prices are continuing to rise; now mere basis points below the all-time highs for prices, set in 2006.
According to the latest data released Tuesday by S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.3% annual gain in August, up from 5% in July.
Per the report, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index is currently at 184.42, which is within 0.1% of its record high of 184.62, set in July 2006.
The increase in August represents the 52nd consecutive month of positive gains.
According to the Case-Shiller report, the 10-City Composite posted a 4.3% annual increase, up from 4.1% in July, while the 20-City Composite posted a 5.1% annual increase, up from 5.0% in July.
The report states that Portland, Seattle and Denver turned in the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities for the seventh consecutive month, with year-over-year increases of 11.7%, 11.4% and 8.8%, respectively.
“Supported by continued moderate economic growth, home prices extended recent gains,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
“All 20 cities saw prices higher than a year earlier with 10 enjoying larger annual gains than last month,” Blitzer continued. “The seasonally adjusted month-over-month data showed that home prices in 14 cities were higher in August than in July.”
Blitzer also noted that other housing data including sales of existing single-family homes, measures of housing affordability, and permits for new construction also point to a “reasonably healthy housing market.”
Additionally, the Case-Shiller report showed that before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.5% in August.
The report also showed that both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite posted a 0.4% increase in August.
After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.6% month-over-month increase, and both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite reported 0.2% month-over-month increases.
The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Multifamily Production Index (MPI) dropped three points to 50 in the second quarter of 2016 (Exhibit 1). This is the 18th consecutive reading of 50 or above, which means that more builders and developers report that current conditions in the apartment and condominium market are improving than report conditions are getting worse.
Exhibit 1: NAHB Multifamily Production Index (MPI) and Multifamily Starts (in thousands)
The MPI is comprised of three key sub-components: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and “for-sale” units, or condominiums. Low-rent units decreased two points to 52 in the second quarter, while market-rate rental units dropped five points to a level of 53, and for-sale units fell three points to 45.
The NAHB Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures respondent perceptions of vacancies in the multifamily housing market, increased three points to 42, with higher numbers indicating more vacancies (Exhibit 2). However, the MVI is still below the breakeven point of 50, which means that more respondents perceived a reduction in vacancy rates than perceived an increase.
Exhibit 2: NAHB Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI) and 5+ Rental Vacancy Rate
After peaking at 70 in the second quarter of 2009, the MVI improved consistently through 2010 and has been fairly stable since 2011. Historically, the MVI has shown to be a leading indicator of Census multifamily vacancy rates, which is displayed in Exhibit 2 as well.
Imagine you are considering working with a potential client who seems apprehensive and possibly needy. Imagine you get the project. What might you wish you had considered and/or asked the potential client or yourself before deciding to work with them?
Here are some suggestions:
Why are these folks good clients for your company?
Over time, all companies have at least a gut level feel for what is a good fit regarding clients. Use that filter all the time. Ignoring it can put you, your people, and the company through thankless grief.
Why do these folks think we are the right contractor to work with?
Ask this question early on. The worst case is they expect something from your company that you simply can’t deliver. Better to find that out as soon as possible.
Have they been through a remodeling project in the past? If so, how did it go?
If they have never experienced the challenges involved in being a remodeling client, you are likely to be viewed negatively if you work for them. There are simply so many things that can go wrong during all phases of the planning and the actual remodeling.
If they have been through a remodeling project and it did not go well, question them thoroughly about why they think that happened. If all they do is blame the contractor then get clear about what they think the contractor did wrong. If you think the potential client was the real problem, not the contractor, then don’t work for them!
What are the client’s expectations about the process, in general? Do those expectations align with your company’s idea of what reasonable expectations are?
If so, great. But if not, what are the specific gaps? Are the gaps large or small? It’s better find out sooner than later. There is the distinct likelihood that they don’t align with yours. Talk it through. If there is not a meeting of the minds, refer another remodeler who might be a better fit.
Can the client listen to what your company says? Will they allow your company to be in control?
If they won’t listen now, they likely won’t listen when it all hits the fan. If you can’t be in control you will rue the day you decided to work with them.