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.”
Sales of previously owned houses in the United States rose 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5600 thousand in October of 2016. It is the highest figure since February of 2007, beating market expectations of a 0.5 percent fall or 5430 thousand. Sales of single family homes went up 2.3 percent to 4990 thousand while those of condos were flat at 610 thousand. The average price fell 1 percent and the months’ worth of supply went down to 4.3 from 4.4. Existing Home Sales in the United States averaged 3881.83 Thousand from 1968 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 7250 Thousand in September of 2005 and a record low of 1370 Thousand in March of 1970. Existing Home Sales in the United States is reported by the National Association of Realtors.
Rising mortgage rates, overheating home prices, nothing for sale, pre-election jitters — the list of reasons to lose confidence in the housing market is growing.
In fact, the share of consumers who think now is a good time to buy a home fell 5 percentage points in September in a monthly housing sentiment survey (known as HPSI) by Fannie Mae. The only drop that was bigger was the share of consumers who think mortgage rates will fall.
“The decline in the HPSI over the past two months from the survey-high in July … adds a note of caution to our moderately positive housing outlook,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The starter home tight supply and rising home prices as well as the unsettled political environment are likely giving many consumers a reason to pause or question their home purchase sentiment.”
The September employment report was mixed for housing. Wage growth is strengthening, but not as much as home price growth. Construction jobs increased, suggesting more housing supply in the future, but housing starts for single-family homes are not exactly robust. Construction spending fell in August and July’s numbers were revised down.
“A blah September jobs report gives no impetus for anything on the economy’s to do list: There’s no sign of an overheating economy that would justify a rate hike; no groundswell of construction hiring that would finally hint at a return to a normal pace of housing starts; no big wage gains that would give hope for renewed productivity gains. Just a stubbornly average report at a time when the economy is looking for a jolt of the spectacular,” wrote Redfin’s chief economist, Nela Richardson.
“Housing seems to have hit a soft patch, with residential investment likely posting a second consecutive quarterly decline last quarter despite positive labor market and mortgage rate trends”-Doug Duncan, chief economist, Fannie Mae
Pending home sales, which represent signed contracts to buy existing homes, have fallen for three straight months, according to the National Association of Realtors. Housing demand is strong, but supply is historically weak and getting weaker, as fewer homes come on the market in the fall and winter.
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.
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.
In honor of Earth Day, Custom Home and BUILDER take a look back at five Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Award-winning projects that are as environmentally-conscious as they are commendable. These projects, designed with the planet in mind, are dynamic and innovative—some powered by the resources they produce.
The Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Awards (BCCHDAs) honor excellence and innovation in residential design and construction across 13 categories including project of the year, modular, multi-family, and architectural interiors. With this year’s extended deadline fast approaching—May 2 for early submissions, and May 6 for late submissions—we encourage you to submit your own best work here.
Excerpts from the awards coverage highlighting the projects’ sustainable features are included below. Follow the link in each project’s title to view more photos and information. Tucson Mountain Retreat, Tucson, Ariz., designed by DUST
The layout is keenly attuned to the Sonoran Desert site. The long side faces south to allow the sun to passively heat the concrete floors, and the building’s deep overhangs and thermal mass keep it cool in the summer. A large kitchen/dining/living space is flanked by an acoustically designed music room/recording studio on one side and two bedrooms on the other. Each volume is fitted with glass walls that dematerialize to take in views and breezes.
RainShine House, Decatur, Ga., designed by Robert M. Cain, Architect
As an exercise in green design, this LEED Platinum–certified house puts a check in every column: passive solar, active solar, rainwater collection, natural daylighting and ventilation, energy-efficient electrical and mechanical systems, resource-conserving materials, a tight building envelope, low-VOC finishes, and no-irrigation landscaping. What got the attention of our judges, though, was that its environmental ethos also yields a thoroughly pleasing aesthetic experience.
Sustainable Steel Home, San Diego, designed by Macy Architecture/ Jensen & Macy Architects
The home’s footprint allows for plenty of natural ventilation, and it also connects the interiors with the outside in true mid-century spirit. The house maximizes its infill location by providing city and water views to the main rooms, which all occupy the second floor. Photovoltaics produce on-site power, and rainwater harvesting meets the site’s irrigation needs. Lots of glass, both transparent and translucent, helps with daylighting and passive solar.
GREENville House, Greenville, N.C., designed by Tonic Design
The owners of this new LEED Silver-rated residence did their sustainability homework in advance. “They knew about solar and geothermal from the beginning,” says project designer Katherine Hogan. That head start allowed Hogan and principal designer Vincent Petrarca to weave green features into the fabric of the building, rather than tack them on as options after the fact.
Green Lantern, San Antonio, Texas, designed by John Grable Architects
In one of San Antonio’s, oldest neighborhoods, architect and developer John Grable, FAIA, salvaged 45 percent of a 1948 house because of his client’s commitment to conservation and green building. At the same time, a contemporary home was the aim.
Americans’ overall confidence in the U.S. housing market has declined from a year ago, according to the January 2016 Zillow Housing Confidence Index, driven lower by diminished expectations of the market’s future.
The overall U.S. Housing Confidence Index fell to 66.9 in January from 67.4 a year ago according to the Zillow Housing Confidence Index, sponsored by Zillow and calculated by Pulsenomics LLC.
However, expectations for the year ahead fell even more, from 69.9 in 2015 to 67.5 this year, a decline of 3.4%. Homeowners near term expectations fell 3.5 percent, from 74.1 to 71.8 but renters lost even more confidence. Among renters, expectations for 2016 compared to 2015 fell from 63.9 to 60.8, or 4.8 percent.
The results come at a time when rising rents and stagnant incomes are making it tough for many Americans to buy homes. Millennials are renting longer than past generations as they put off major life decisions. Those aged 18-34 said they expected home values to grow by 5 percent per year, on average, over the next ten years, compared to just 3.7 percent for all Americans.
The survey found that overall aspirations for homeownership are at their highest level in two years, driven in large part by faith among younger Americans and Americans-of-color in the general value of homeownership. Among people 18-34 years old, 65 percent said homeownership and the American Dream go hand-in-hand, more than any other generation. Of Hispanic respondents surveyed, 70 percent agreed that owning their own home is necessary to live the American Dream, followed by 64 percent of Asian respondents and 63 percent of black respondents. Less than 60 percent of white respondents agreed.
The semi-annual Zillow Housing Confidence Index, sponsored by Zillow and calculated by Pulsenomics LLC, is calculated for the U.S. as a whole and 20 large metro markets nationwide. It is based on a national survey of 10,000 American renters and homeowners. The ZHCI is composed of three sub-indexes: one that summarizes homeowner and renter assessments of current market conditions (HMCI); another that measures their expectations regarding future home values and affordability (HEI); and a third that gauges their aspirations and attitudes regarding homeownership (HAI).
Recently, S&P Dow Jones Indices and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released their home price indexes for November. The Case-Shiller (CS) National Home Price Index, reported by S&P Dow Jones Indices, rose at a 10.9% seasonally adjusted annual pace in November. The Home Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.7% in November.
Despite monthly volatility the FHFA and S&P/Case-Shiller home price indexes have very similar trends.
For 43-year-old Giuia Abano Grady, who lives in Gorham, Maine, and raises pigs and chickens and will soon raise cows, the work needed to prepare her 250-year-old farmhouse for the winter isn’t as easy as just disconnecting a garden hose.
Besides turning off all the exterior water lines and draining her garden’s irrigation system, she seals the doors and windows in her basement with plastic sheeting. Outside doors in the 1730’s-era home get wrapped with insulation and plastic, and her basement gets several space heaters set on low to prevent pipes from freezing. Exterior water lines must be wrapped in heat tape and even her barn’s water supply needs a heating line to keep it from icing up, she says.
The preparations were needed, as in January of 2015 nearly 8 feet of snow fell in a little over a month. Thanks to her and her husband’s efforts, her only crisis last winter was a frozen pipe. “An hour with a hair dryer and it was all fixed,” she says.
Fortunately for the rest of us, winter preparations may be as simple as installing an insulating cover to protect your outside faucets and prevent a burst pipe and flooding. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore Old Man Winter’s freezing breath.
Indeed, the National Weather Service is predicting one of the worst snowstorms in years could be hitting the Northeast later this week, with up to two feet of snow expected between Washington, D.C., New York and Boston from mid-Friday into Sunday, along with coastal flooding. Already a blizzard watch is in effect with heavy snow and wind gusts of 40 mph and temperatures in West Virginia, and the Washington, D.C. region, dropping into the 20s Fahrenheit.
Life vests carried aboard airliners have never saved a life. WSJ’s Scott McCartney joins Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero and explains why regulators still require they be carried on planes.
Last year’s winter season saw the second-coldest winter on record for the Northeast region, and for eight individual states — New York, Pennsylvania and all six New England states.
Here are some helpful tips on preparing your home for winter from real-estate broker Re/Max of New Jersey and utilities the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Weather Service.
Repair all broken windows, exterior doors and walls and tightly close doors and windows to the outside. Make sure the outside doors and walls are well insulated. Seal all air leaks in crawl spaces and basements. If your vents won’t close, cover them from the inside with insulation, cardboard, plastic or newspaper, WSSC says.
Your attic should be properly insulated and ventilated to circulate the heat throughout the attic. This prevents ice from building up in certain areas and preventing major damage to your roof, Re/Max of New Jersey says.
Check your roof. Small leaks can turn into bigger leaks if snow sits on your roof…and then melts. Getting your roof coated before the winter can help to prevent leaks from trickling into your home and hoping the leak doesn’t spring up where you house valuable electronics. In addition, clean your home’s gutters as they are its first line of defense against water damage.
Homes with flat roofs are more vulnerable to having snow collect on the roof. Have a good roofer on call that is able to come out and remove large amounts of snow before it turns to ice or your roof buckles under its weight. Be careful on ladders when removing snow and have a second person hold the ladder if it’s more than two stories. It’s worth paying the $100 to $300 costs to remove snow, rather than pay the costs of a collapsed roof, which could cost thousands of dollars.
To help prevent the possibility of a burst pipe inside your home, install a pipe insulation sleeve to protect exposed pipes inside your home. Cover all parts of the pipes — even the joints — and seal them with duct tape. This will help keep your home energy efficient and helps reduce your chances of a pipe bursting and flooding your home. If a pipe does freeze, open the cold and/or hot water faucet nearest the frozen pipe, WSSC says. This will relieve the pressure and reduce the chance of breakage. Take a tip from Giuia Abano Grady and use a hand-held dryer if you attempt to thaw out the pipe yourself. Otherwise call a licensed plumber.
If you have a fireplace, check inside for cracks, build up and remove old ashes. Also, look outside and to ensure there is no space between the chimney and the exterior wall and that there are no loose bricks. Also the damper, which regulates the flow of air through the chimney, should be able to open and closes easily, Re/Max says.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, one out of every six fires in the home is a result of malfunctioning or incorrectly used heating equipment and half of those fires occur during the winter months of December, January and February. As such, keep anything that could burn at least 3 feet away from a heating source like a space heater or a fireplace. Only one space heater should be plugged into a single electrical outlet at a time, the USFA says. Never use a propane-powered heater indoors unless it’s specifically designed for that purpose with an oxygen monitor that shuts off if high carbon monoxide levels are detected.
Arm yourself with plenty of rock salt, de-icer, and shovels to remove snow and ice from the outside of your home. Some cities and towns assess fines to homeowners who don’t remove snow from around their property within a certain amount of time after a heavy snowfall, Re/Max says. Also, remove snow in front of homes where the elderly or disabled reside. You might just get a basket of cookies this winter in return or even satisfaction by doing the right thing.