Tag Archives: South Salem Homes

Great outdoor spaces | South Salem Real Estate

Perfect Outdoor Spaces

Nothing compliments your outdoor space like indoor style and comfort. Introduce relaxed luxury to your home’s exterior with these four outdoor living space solutions.

1. Pump up your patio.Upgrade the look of your patio with stylish outdoor furniture. Lounge chairs, love seats and sofas are comfy additions to any exterior space. Accent your furniture with throw pillows, potted plants and fashionable side tables. Finish off your patio décor with quirky details like string lighting, vintage candelabras and fun arrangements of succulents.

Include a chimenea or patio-safe fire pit in your plans. A cozy fire will offer mood lighting, warmth and even a place to roast marshmallows.

Design must-haves: Outdoor furniture, chimenea, potted plants, string lighting, throw pillows, succulents.

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2. Perfect your pergola. Pergolas are the picture-perfect outdoor living space. Fill your pergola with comfy seating for an outdoor lounging area. Or, open up the space with a beautiful outdoor dining set. Include an antique bar cart or coffee table for a boost in looks and functionality. Wrap up your design with string lighting or a candle chandelier.

Gardens are a wonderful pergola accent. Tall, flowering plants like hibiscus or lilies will give your pergola extra privacy and a stunning aesthetic. Creeping vines are also perfect for an added dash of style and privacy.

Design must-haves: Outdoor dining set, privacy garden, candle chandelier.


3. Kick off your outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchens bring the quality and convenience of indoor cooking to summertime grilling. If you have a large backyard, consider adding a full kitchen layout. A grill-smoker combo, refrigerator, prep station and washing area will boost the ease and enjoyment of your summertime cooking.

Introduce an outdoor dining room to complement your kitchen. Keep it basic with an outdoor table, chairs and a stylish cantilever umbrella. Or, go with a full dining set for larger gatherings.

Design must-haves: Grill or smoker, outdoor dining set, food prep areas, refrigerator.

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4. Outfit your outdoor fireplace. An outdoor fireplace is the ultimate gathering spot during nice weather. Situate your fireplace near your patio or devote a separate part of your yard to fireside get-togethers. Accentuate your fireplace with comfortable outdoor furniture — wrap around sofas are great for larger spaces —and several small coffee or side tables. If your fireplace is near your home, hang lighting or small lanterns over your seating area.

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Single-family housing starts slows | South Salem Real Estate

The May pace of single-family housing starts was effectively flat relative to April after downward revisions for prior months, standing at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 764,000. However, according to estimates from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the May rate marks a 10% gain in the pace of single-family construction on a year-over-year basis.

Yesterday’s increase in the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index suggests the industry will expand single-family home construction in the months ahead.


On a three-month moving average basis, single-family starts ticked down due to the elevated construction pace recorded in February. While NAHB expects growth in single-family construction due to favorable demographics, lot supplies are a growing challenge holding back production, particularly in markets in the West and Northeast.

Multifamily starts (2+ unit production) came in at a 400,000 pace on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, showing surprising strength and up 8% on a year-over-year basis. However, the pace of multifamily permits is down almost 28% on year-over-year basis as of May. This is consistent with the NAHB forecast, which shows a smaller total of multifamily starts for this year compared to 2015.

Regionally, expansion has been particularly strong in the South, where single-family starts for April are 17% higher than a year ago. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, 55% of single-family starts for the month were located in the South.

There has been some weakening in the West, where single-family starts are down almost 5% on a year-over-year basis. Access to lots is a key concern. The Midwest showed a monthly drop of 15%, but on a year-over-year basis single-family start are 8% higher. Single-family construction is up almost 13% in the Northeast.

units under production

Taking the long view, an examination of the count of homes currently under construction provides the degree of market mix and momentum of the recovery in home construction. As of May, 56% of units under construction in the nation were multifamily (574,000), a 16% gain in the total from a year earlier.


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Mortgage credit | South Salem Real Estate

Next September, two months before the Presidential election, America celebrates eight years since the Treasury Department took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and turned them into wholly owned subsidiaries. Since then the federal government’s control over the nation’s housing markets has grown even greater than ever.

While we’ve been waiting for policymakers to fix a broken system of housing, the GSE’s and government programs like FHA are using taxpayer-backed credit to make the housing recovery possible—first to keep virtually all credit flowing in the crisis years, now to open the door to homeownership to more marginal borrowers.

If you’re a first-time buyer or have a less than golden credit past, you’d be crazy to go anywhere else than the government for a mortgage—either a GSE low down payment conforming loan program or a direct federal program like FHA.  Not only do you stand a much better chance of qualifying., even the premium payment on FHA mortgage insurance has been lowered to make the decision easier.

The latest Urban Institute credit availability index (HCAI) shows that although both private and public mortgage credit availability remains above the record low of 4.6 in the third quarter of 2013 (Q3 2013), it has trended downward over the past four quarters.  The HCAI measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.2016-01-25_11-07-54

However, mortgage credit availability in the government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) channel—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—has been at the highest level over the past three quarters since the low hit in 2010. Credit availability in the government channel (FVR), which comprises the Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture Rural Develop.


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Freddie Mac September 2015 Insight & Outlook | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) released today its monthly Insight & Outlook for September looking at the challenges faced by three types of student loan borrowers, and how loan down payment mortgage loans could help, or not help, make homeownership possible. A video preview, along with the complete monthly Insight & Outlook commentary is available here.

Insight Highlights

  • Is the student debt overhang holding back home ownership among Millennials?
  • While the home ownership rate has been declining for all age groups, the rate among Millennials is particularly low.
  • Student debt tripled over the past 10 years, reaching $1.2 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2014. Aggregate student debt expanded for all age groups, however the balances are concentrated among those under 30 years old and those between 30 and 39 years old.
  • Before the crisis, homeownership rates of 27-to-30-year-olds with student loans (evidence of at least some college education) were 2 to 3 percent higher than homeownership rates of those with no student loans. That gap began to close during the recession and reversed in 2011. By 2014 the homeownership rate of borrowers was about one percentage point lower than the rate of non-borrowers.
  • Recent findings suggest that it may be useful to think of student loan borrowers as being divided into three groups: Successful investors, Disappointed earners, and At-risk borrowers.
  • The At-risk Borrowers group is a particular focus for Freddie Mac’s efforts to support prudent, affordable lending to low-and-moderate income borrowers. The impact on credit scores of poor repayment performance may make it particularly difficult to assist some members of this group.
  • For the Disappointed Earners — and even some of the Successful Investors — Freddie Mac’s Home Possible Advantage(SM) program, with its option to pay as little as 3 percent down, may provide help in purchasing that first home.

Outlook Highlights

  • At the current pace, home sales this year are expected to be the highest since 2007. Existing home sales in August fell a little short of expectations, but the inventory of existing homes for sale remained below the 6-month mark.
  • The faster-than-expected decline in the unemployment rate is boosting demand for homes. However, a more significant contributor is likely the continued low level of mortgage rates, which has kept affordability high despite impressive gains in house prices. The interest rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.90 percent in August, and the rate on 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.12 percent.
  • Based on upward revisions of the 2014 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data on mortgage origination, and stronger-than-expected housing activity in the first half of 2015, Freddie Mac has increased its estimate of 2015 mortgage originations to $1.53 trillion and 2016 originations to $1.40 trillion.

Quote: Attributed to Sean Becketti, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac.

“The low homeownership rate among Millennials is still something of a puzzle — it cannot be explained solely by the increase in student loan debt. However student debt plays a role — higher balances are associated with a lower probability of homeownership at every level of college and graduate education. And recent data has confirmed that not all student debt is created equal. Students who attended schools with less-certain educational benefits have not fared well. Borrowers who did not complete their studies have fared worst of all. These groups are likely to continue to affect the pattern of homeownership among Millennials. Moreover, a change just this month in Federal Housing Administration policy will make it more difficult for some student loan borrowers to qualify for a mortgage.”

“Our Outlook this month shows the economy has not kicked into gear yet, and the Fed’s recent decision to defer increasing short-term interest rates suggests they share this view. At the same time, the housing market is on its way to having the best year since the recovery began. Keep in mind. Though. that the housing sector is coming back from rock bottom and housing activity remains weak compared to historical norms. At the same time, Fed watchers must feel they are watching a revival of Waiting for Godot. Approaching every meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the market braces itself for a Fed tightening, only to watch the Committee delay any action for at least one more meeting.”

Mortgage rates average 3.90% | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates largely unchanged following a shortened week and mixed economic signals prior to the Fed’s meeting next week.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.90 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending September 10, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.89 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.12 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.10 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.09 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.26 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.91 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.93 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.99 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.63 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.62 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.45 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 links for theRegional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Following a shortened week, mortgage rates were virtually unchanged, inching up 1 basis point to 3.90 percent. The employment report released last Friday provided mixed signals, adding one more note of uncertainty prior to the Fed’s September meeting. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent in August, the lowest rate since April 2008, but only 173,000 jobs were added, well below expectations. Wages grew 2.2 percent, a neutral indication at best.

Nearly Half of Homes in Top Markets are Losing Value | South Salem Real Estate

Despite market reports of strong median home price appreciation this spring, gains are very uneven and nearly half of homes in ten of the nation’s largest markets actually lost value in May. On a house-by-house basis, about one-third fewer homes in the largest markets gained value during the heart of the spring buying season this year compared to last, according to Weiss Residential Research’s Indexes.

Only 54 percent of homes in the markets appreciated during May compared to 81 percent in May 2014, a sign that the downward trend may continue in the coming months.  In Denver, the hottest market in the nation, 84 percent of houses appreciated in May compared to 95 percent last year.  In the Washington, DC market, weakest of the top ten, only 34 percent of houses gained value in May compared to 57 percent in May 2014.

“Don’t be fooled by averages,” said Allan Weiss, founder and CEO of Weiss Residential Research.  ‘All of the largest metro indexes are rising more slowly than they were a year ago though market reports give the impression that values are rising across the board.  However people don’t own the entire market, they own one house.”

Larger homes are having a harder time than smaller homes with two bedrooms or less.  In Denver, larger homes appreciated 5.8 percent on a year over year basis in May compared to smaller homes.  In Washington, DC, larger homes actually fell -0.7 percent.  Smaller homes declined less, -0.2 percent year over year.


Same Pattern as the Housing Crash

In a metro like DC with a median price increase of 1.2 percent in the past year according to Case-Shiller, 60 percent of the houses are rising and the other 40 percent are stagnant or falling.  Since the ones that are appreciating outnumber the ones falling the average is a low positive number, Weiss said.

“The same pattern occurred before the great housing meltdown ten years ago.  The percent of houses rising in DC declined from 100 percent to 60 percent while the metro index showed a slowdown but did not go negative.  Once the population of houses that had been rising fell below 50 percent, the index began its descent,” Weiss said.


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Apartment construction drives US homebuilding surge in June | South Salem Real Estate

U.S. builders broke ground on apartment complexes last month at the fastest pace in nearly 28 years, as developers anticipate that recent jobs gains will launch a wave of renters

The Commerce Department said Friday that housing starts in June climbed 9.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million homes. All of that growth came from a 28.6 percent surge in multi-family housing that put apartment construction at its highest rate since November 1987. Starts for single-family houses slipped 0.9 percent last month.

The gains show that what had been a sluggish construction sector is now running on economic adrenaline. Strong job growth and a rebounding economy have increased the numbers of buyers and renters searching for homes, while gradually rising mortgage rates have spurred homeowners to finalize deals.

Housing starts jumped 35.3 percent in the Northeast because of apartments, while climbing 13.5 percent in the South. Home construction slumped in the Midwest and West in June.

Nationwide, housing starts have risen 10.9 percent year-to-date.

Over the past 12 months, employers have added 2.9 million jobs, meaning that there are that many more people with paychecks to spend across the broader economy. The impact of those job gains and the unemployment rate dropping to 5.3 percent has surfaced in housing, where demand is outpacing the supply of homes and creating more pressure to build houses and apartments.

The market for new homes for sale had just 4.5 months of supply in May, compared to 6 months in a healthy market.

Approved building permits rose increased 7.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.34 million in June, the highest level since July 2007. The bulk of that increase came for apartment complexes, while permits for houses last month rose just 0.9 percent.

There are other signs that builders are increasingly optimistic.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Thursday climbed to 60 this month, a level last reached in November 2005 — shortly before the housing boom gave way to the mortgage crisis that triggered the Great Recession. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor.

Mortgage rates have started to rise, although they remain low by historic standards.

The average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate was 4.09 percent last week, according to the mortgage firm Freddie Mac. That is up from a 52-week low of 3.59 percent.


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A Recovery Tipping Point for Housing | South Salem Real Estate

It’s official. It took six grueling years since the Great Recession ended, but now, the housing recovery enters the second half of 2015 as a fundamentals-driven rebound.

What does it mean now that housing—and its infinite mosaic of geographical fiefdoms down to the submarket and lot-line level—has healed its gravest wounds? What does it mean to developers and builders that buyers and sellers of home properties are people to people, not desperate people to institutions? What does it mean when we say that a housing cycle’s trajectory has moved decisively from a focus on investors’ resources to an exchange of values from owner-occupier to someone who wants to be an owner-occupier of a primary residence?

As we note from RealtyTrac’s latest U.S. Home & Foreclosure Sales Report for May, all of the benchmarks for abnormal residential real estate behavior—cash sales, distressed sales, bank-owned sales, and in-foreclosure sales—dramatically subsided in the past month and, even more dramatically so in the past 12 months.

Here are a few of the highlights of the RealtyTrac May Foreclosure report, noted by Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

As distressed and cash sales declines, normalized housing transactions represent a larger share of the market.
  • 24.6 percent of all single family home and condo sales in May were all-cash purchases, down from 28.5 percent in the previous month and down from 30.4 percent a year ago to the lowest level since November 2009
  • The share of distressed sales dropped to a new low of 10.5 percent in May, down from 15.4 percent in April and down from 18.3 percent a year ago
  • Bank-owned sales accounted for 3.9 percent of all residential property sales in May, down from 6.9 percent in the previous month and down from 9.0 percent a year ago

Properties that sold while in the foreclosure process — but not yet bank-owned — accounted for 6.6 percent of all residential property sales in May, down from 8.5 percent the previous month and down from 9.2 percent a year ago

The market has spoken. It’s no longer rewarding investor opportunism, short-term gains for cash-flush buyers, nor quick flippers, nor even global “safe-haven” buyers who buoyed the marketplace as deterioration switched to resilience three years ago.


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Realtor.com, Airbnb partner to let homebuyers test-drive the neighborhood | South Salem Homes

Realtor.com and Airbnb have teamed up to allow potential homebuyers to “live like a local” by experiencing a specific neighborhood before purchasing.

Visitors to realtor.com will be able to book accommodations nationwide on Airbnb ranging from single-family homes to condos, lofts and other properties located near their desired neighborhood.

“This collaboration with Airbnb reinforces our commitment to giving consumers unparalleled insight to make informed real estate decisions,” said Ryan O’Hara, chief executive officer of Move. “Our relationship with Airbnb—a company that helps millions of people feel at home in communities around the world—allows us to reduce some of the unknown factors associated with relocating to a new community. It is what we mean when we say realtor.com puts the ‘real’ in real estate.”

“We’re pleased to team up with realtor.com to encourage and support the home buying process,” said Chip Conley, head of global hospitality & strategy at Airbnb. “As we offer a variety of unique accommodations in neighborhoods across the country, we’ll be able to allow potential homeowners the special opportunity to experience those neighborhoods as if they already live there – before making the decision to buy.”

Consumers who visit realtor.com to look at homes in new neighborhoods can select the option to “Airbnb before buying.”


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Housing Starts Readjust | South Salem Real Estate

May housing starts fell 11.1% from an elevated April to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.036 million units. The drop was broad based, falling 5.4% in single-family to an annual rate of 680,000 and multifamily falling 20.2% to 356,000. When viewed from a quarterly average, however, the first two months of the second quarter were better than the first quarter for both single- and multifamily starts: single-family up 9% and multifamily up 20%.
Furthering the upswing signals, building permits were up 11.8% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.275 million, the highest since August 2007. The surge is concentrated in the Northeast where multifamily permits doubled from 130,000 per year to 264,000 per year and ahead of the 2014 rate of 64,000. Multifamily permit were also up in the Midwest (34%) but down in the South (-12.4%) and West (-8.1%).
Individual metropolitan permit data is available one month later than national figures and those data through April show substantial increases in multifamily permits over the same four month period in 2014 for New York metropolitan area (50%), Boston (56%), Pittsburgh (142%) and Albany (215%).
Single-family starts were up in every region when viewed from a two-month average and compared to the first quarter average. The Northeast was up 35.4% to a recent two-month average of 55,500 homes. The Midwest was up 26.1% to a recent average of 113,500 homes while the South made the smallest advance at 1.5% to 365,500 homes. The West was up 8.6% to a recent average of 165,000 homes.
Confirming an underlying advance, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose 5 points to 59 as builders increased their expectations for future sales.

Single-family Starts and Permits




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