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Mortgage rates average 4.03% | Pound Ridge Real Estate

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.

News Facts

  • 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.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.12 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.07 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.01 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.”

US existing sales increase 2% | Pound Ridge Real Estate

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.

 

 

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http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/existing-home-sales

 

Housing in a soft patch | Pound Ridge Real Estate

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.

Potential home buyers attend an open house in the Seattle, Washington.

“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.

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http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/07/worried-about-housing-youre-not-alone.html?__source=newsletter%7Ceveningbrief

Fake divorce is path to riches in China’s hot real estate market | Pound Ridge Real Estate

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.

Fevered auctions

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.”

Rogue players

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.

Case-Shiller: Rising house prices just below record highs | Pound Ridge Real Estate

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.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38364-case-shiller-rising-house-prices-just-below-record-highs?eid=311691494&bid=1568560

Six Essential Questions to Ask a New Client | Pound Ridge Real Estate

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.

 

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http://www.remodeling.hw.net/business/operations/six-essential-questions-to-ask-with-a-new-client_o

U.S. housing starts trending up | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Housing Starts in the United States is expected to be 1150.00 Thousand by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Housing Starts in the United States to stand at 1230.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the United States Housing Starts is projected to trend around 1280.00 Thousand in 2020, according to our econometric models.

United States Housing Starts
Forecast Actual Q3/16 Q4/16 Q1/17 Q2/17 2020 Unit
Housing Starts 1189 1150 1170 1210 1230 1280 Thousand
United States Housing Starts Forecasts are projected using an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model calibrated using our analysts expectations. We model the past behaviour of United States Housing Starts using vast amounts of historical data and we adjust the coefficients of the econometric model by taking into account our analysts assessments and future expectations. The forecast for – United States Housing Starts – was last predicted on Tuesday, July 19, 2016.
United States Housing Last Q3/16 Q4/16 Q1/17 Q2/17 2020
Building Permits 1153 1130 1141 1152 1178 1315
Housing Starts 1189 1150 1170 1210 1230 1280
New Home Sales 551 475 517 510 510 590
Pending Home Sales -0.2 0.88 0.72 0.91 1.04 1.26
Existing Home Sales 5530 5472 5453 5439 5417 5182
Construction Spending -0.8 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.2 -0.9
Housing Index 0.2 0.41 0.4 0.39 0.38 0.31
Nahb Housing Market Index 59 59 60 60 59 53
Mortgage Rate 3.6 5.1 3.68 3.73 3.77 6.5
Mortgage Applications 7.2 0.48 0.53 0.53 0.53 0.53
Home Ownership Rate 63.5 63.53 63.53 63.53 63.53 63.53
Case Shiller Home Price Index 187 192 192 192 193 211

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http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/housing-starts/forecast

Mistakes most people make when buying homes | Pound Ridge Real Estate

You can check in for a flight from your phone, deposit a check on your phone and pay for Starbucks from your phone, so why would should shopping for a mortgage be any different?

Although, it is a little behind the curve on the memo.

And while these changes are mostly focused on the technology aspect of buying a home, the mortgage product side is changing just as much.

In a recent interview with HousingWire, Mat Ishbia, CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage,explained why 3% down mortgages are going to be the new normal.

What’s more, in order to help educate new borrowers on mortgages today, David Gunn, mortgage sales effectiveness director for Fifth Third Mortgage, shared five of the biggest mistakes consumers make when buying homes, along with tips to avoid them:

1.Passing up help.

There are more than 200 federal, state and local programs to assist consumers to make their down payments or pay their mortgage closing costs. Some programs are only for first-time homebuyers, others could be for veterans. 

Tip: Make sure to research programs in your region. “It’s hard to research and navigate programs alone,” Gunn said. “They vary from city to city, and might only be available during certain times of the year.”

2. Believing you make too much money to qualify.

Some buyers think assistance programs are only for low-income households. Some programs assist first-time homebuyers no matter their income levels depending on where they purchase a home.

Tip: Look at programs options. For example, Gunn notes that they have a program that helps pay closing costs on homes purchased in designated low-income areas with loans financed through Fifth Third Mortgage, no matter the consumer’s income. 

3. Thinking you don’t have enough money for a down payment.

The Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage Mortgage allows homebuyers to put down 3%. This will allow the majority of borrowers to enter this program with no cash out of pocket for the down payment.

Tip: Work with your mortgage loan originator to see which programs can help you qualify. “People tell us they can’t afford a house because of the down payment,” Gunn said. “It’s the most common barrier to buying a home. But we find that a buyer needs less money than she thinks to get into a home with a monthly payment that meets her budget.”

4. Clinging to outdated ideas on closing timelines.

Closing times are lengthening. And that can be a good thing. The Know Before You Owe rule enacted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went into effect, and has extended the timeline on most home closings. The rule created documents that detail how much a buyer will pay for closing costs, how much each monthly payment will be, and how payments or rates could potentially adjust. Any change to these terms must be given to borrowers with 3 days to review, which is different from the past when changes could be made to the loan before and during closing without a wait.

Tip: “Be patient,” Gunn said. “And know that all of the changes are made to help you better understand the mortgage terms and help you find the best loan for you.”

5. Relying on a one-size- fits-all loan.

Many homebuyers likely had a 30-year-loan on their last house. But it’s not the default loan anymore. For each purchase, loan originators look at the buyer’s financial situation and goals, and might suggest a loan with a shorter term.

Tip: Work through the financials on several options with your loan originator to see what puts you in the best financial position to meet your family’s goals. “It might be better to get a lower term loan now to build equity, and then move into something bigger in a few years,” Gunn said. “We want what is right for you.”

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/37447-avoid-these-5-major-mistakes-most-people-make-when-buying-homes?eid=311691494&bid=1451788

Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Award-winning projects | Pound Ridge Real Estate


Jeff Goldberg

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.


Jeff Goldberg

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.


Paul Hultberg Photography

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.


Scot Conti

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.


Todd Lanning

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.


Dror Baldinger, AIA

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http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/projects/five-award-winning-sustainable-homes-from-the-builders-choice-custom-home-design-awards_s?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Article&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EBP_042616%20(1)&he=bd1fdc24fd8e2adb3989dffba484790dcdb46483

Falling Expectations for 2016 Depress Housing Confidence | Pound Ridge Real Estate

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).

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2016/03/9641/