Tag Archives: South Salem NY Homes for Sale

Residential Construction Employment Grew | South Salem Real Estate

The count of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector remained elevated in October, as residential construction employment continued to grow.

According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) came in at 205,000 in October, after reaching 221,000 in September. The cycle high was 225,000 set in July.

The open position rate (job openings as a percent of total employment) for October was 3%. On a smoothed twelve-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector increased to 2.7%, setting a cycle high and surpassing the top twelve-month moving average rate established prior to the recession.

The overall trend for open construction jobs has been increasing since the end of the Great Recession. This is consistent with survey data indicating that access to labor remains a top business challenge for builders.


The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a twelve-month moving average basis, remained steady at 4.9% in October. The twelve-month moving average for layoffs was also steady (2.7%), remaining in a range set last Fall.

Monthly employment data for November 2016 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that home builder and remodeler net hiring jumped significantly, as sector employment increased by 19,600. The November gains continue the improvement in the Fall after a period of hiring weakness early in 2016. The 6-month moving average of jobs gains for residential construction has now increased to a healthier 10,400 per month.

Residential construction employment now stands at 2.644 million, broken down as 743,000 builders and 1.901 million residential specialty trade contractors.


Over the last 12 months home builders and remodelers have added 120,000 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point of industry employment following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 658,000 positions.


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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.

Housing Affordability Posts Solid Gain in First Quarter | South Salem Real Estate

Lower interest rates and home prices contributed to a solid boost in nationwide affordability in the first quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released today.

“Consumers benefitted from continued low mortgage rates and some fall in the price of homes sold in the first quarter, as these conditions offer a great time to buy,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo.

“The past two quarters have seen an improvement in affordability as mortgage rates remain low,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Eighty-five percent of the metropolitan areas measured experienced an increase in affordability. Along with favorable home prices and pent-up demand, this broad improvement should help encourage more buyers to enter the marketplace.”

In all, 66.5 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800. This is up from the 62.8 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the fourth quarter.

The national median home price declined from $215,000 in the fourth quarter to $210,000 in the first quarter. Meanwhile, average mortgage interest fell from 4.29 percent to 4.03 percent in the same period.

For the second straight quarter, Syracuse, N.Y. remained the nation’s most affordable major housing market, as 95.6 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the first quarter of 2015 were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $68,500.

Also ranking among the most affordable major housing markets in respective order were Toledo, Ohio; St. Louis; Akron, Ohio; and Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.

Meanwhile, Sandusky, Ohio topped the affordability chart among smaller markets in the first quarter of 2015. There, 96.3 percent of homes sold during the first quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $69,600. Other smaller housing markets at the top of the index included Cumberland, Md.-W.Va.; Elmira, N.Y.; Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Ill.; and Kokomo, Ind.


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Housing Production Stumbles | South Salem Real Estate

Housing starts fell 17% to their lowest level since January 2014. The decline was across the board in building types and regions. Single-family starts were down 14.9% and multifamily starts were down 20.8%. Single-family starts were down the most in the weather sensitive Northeast (-60.7%) and Midwest (-32.4%) but were also down in the less unseasonable weather patterns of the South (-5.9%) and West (-9.1%).

While total building permits were up 3%, single-family permits were down 6.2% with only the West recording a rise in single-family permits (+5.6%). Multifamily permits were up 18.3% to the highest level since April 2014 and only the third time above 470 since 2006.

Aside from a small weather impact in the Northeast and Midwest, the decline is in line with a hesitation in builder sentiment as measured by the NAHB/Wells Fargo March Housing Market Index that fell 2 points to 53. Builders express concern that buyers are unable to attain a mortgage because of tight underwriting standards and that buyers continue to expect price concessions and discounts.

Coincident with buyers discount expectations, builders are facing higher costs and reduced availability of lots on which to build the homes and workers to construct them. The squeeze is causing builders to slow construction until new home prices rise, consumers regain confidence and the supply chain for lots, labor and to a lesser extent building materials rebuilds.

The underlying conditions for a good, not great, housing rebound remain in place. The economy is adding jobs at a much faster pace than earlier in the recovery, overall growth is more dependably positive, mortgage rates are historically low and there is considerable pent-up demand waiting to be released. Consumers need to regain their confidence in those trends and to readjust their expectations for home prices. The softness in the fourth quarter GDP estimates and the very slow rise in worker pay and household incomes contributed to the current hesitation.

Actual Housing Starts and Trends


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CoreLogic Kicks off 2015 in Style | #SouthSalem Real Estate

CoreLogic reports shows that home prices nationwide increased 5.7 percent in January 2015 compared to January 2014. This change represents 35 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally.

On a month-over-month basis, home prices nationwide increased by 1.1 percent in January 2015 compared to December 2014*.  Some 27 states and the District of Columbia are at or within 10 percent of their peak. Four states, New York (+5.6), Wyoming (+8.3 percent), Texas (+8.3 percent) and Colorado (+9.1 percent), reached new highs in the home price index since January 1976 when the index starts.

The CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that home prices, including distressed sales, are projected to increase 0.4 percent month over month from January 2015 to February 2015 and, on a year-over-year basis, by 5.3 percent** from January 2015 to January 2016. Excluding distressed sales, home prices are expected to increase 0.3 percent month over month from January 2015 to February 2015 and by 4.9 percent** year over year from January 2015 to January 2016. The CoreLogic HPI Forecast is a monthly projection of home prices using the CoreLogic HPI and other economic variables. Values are derived from state-level forecasts by weighting indices according to the number of owner-occupied households for each state.

“House price appreciation has generally been stronger in the western half of the nation and weakest in the mid-Atlantic and northeast states,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “In part, these trends reflect the strength of regional economies. Colorado and Texas have had stronger job creation and have seen 8 to 9 percent price gains over the past 12 months in our combined indexes. In contrast, values were flat or down in Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland in our overall index, including distressed sales.”

“We continue to see a strong and progressive uptick in home prices as we enter 2015. We project home prices will continue to rise throughout the year and into 2016,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “A dearth of supply in many parts of the country is a big factor driving up prices. Many homeowners have taken advantage of low rates to refinance their homes, and until we see sustained increases in income levels and employment they could be hunkered down so supplies may remain tight. Demand has picked up as low mortgage rates and the cut in the FHA annual insurance premium reduce monthly payments for prospective homebuyers.”


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NAR Reports Existing Sales Disappoint | South Salem Real Estate

Existing home sales decreased 4.9% in January, and the share of sales for first-time buyers continued to disappoint. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported January 2015 total existing home sales at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.82 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, down from a revised 5.07 million units in December. January existing sales were up 3.2% from the same period a year ago.

Existing Home Sales January 2015

Existing sales from the previous month were down in all four regions, ranging from 2.7% in the Midwest to 7.1% in the West. Year-over-year, existing sales were up in all four regions, ranging from 5.6% in the South to 0.9% in the Midwest.

The first-time buyer share decreased to 26% in January, down from 29% in December and 31% in November. This continuing downward trend follows 2014 during which the annual share of first-time buyers fell to its lowest level in nearly three decades. Reports of easing mortgage standards will help first-time buyers, and a full recovery awaits their return to their typical 40% share.

Total housing inventory increased 0.5% in January to 1.87 million existing homes. At the current sales rate, the January 2015 inventory increased to a 4.7-month supply, up from a 4.4-month supply in December. NAR also reported that in January the typical time on the market was 69 days, up from 66 days in December, and slightly up from 67 days during the previous January. NAR reported that 30% of homes sold in January were on the market less than a month, down from 31% in December and 32% in November.

The distressed sales share January sales remained unchanged from December at 11%, and was down from 15% during the same month a year ago. Distressed sales are defined as foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts. January all cash sales increased to 27% of transactions, up from 26% in December and 25% in November, but were down from 33% during the same month a year ago. Individual investors purchased a 17% share in January, unchanged from December, but that share was down from the 20% share last January. Some 67% of January investors paid cash, up from 63% in December and 61% in November. The awaited withdrawal of cash investors will create more opportunity for first-time buyers.

The January median sales price of $199,600 was 6.2% above the previous January, and represented the 35th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. The median condominium/co-op price dropped for the sixth consecutive month to $198,300 in January, but was up 5.3% from the same period a year ago.

The Pending Home Sales Index decreased 3.7% in December, so the decline in January existing sales was not a surprise. However, it is expected that existing sales will regain their upward momentum during 2015, hopefully supported by the much awaited recovery for first-time buyers.


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Easier mortgage rules, stable rates bring back U.S. home buyers | South Salem Real Estate

Many U.S. home buyers are returning to the market after almost a year as interest rates stabilize and regulators propose more relaxed rules on mortgage lending.

U.S. homebuilders D.R. Horton Inc and Toll Brothers Inc reported jumps in orders this week at rates not seen since last year.

“We’re definitely seeing a lot more purchase business than we have in the past,” said Matt Hackett, underwriting manager at Equity Now, a New York-based mortgage lender.

Interest rates fell in October to their lowest since June 2013 after rising steadily for the past year. Although up slightly since, they are still at historic lows.

New rules proposed will allow Americans to buy homes with down payments as low as 3 percent.

“The buyers realize that they’re never going to get this kind of low interest rate environment,” said David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders.

Wayne Wellington, a 47-year old inspector at the Broward County housing authority in Florida, said he wanted to upgrade his current house for a larger property before rates spiked.

“Interest rates look like they’re on the verge of moving up a little bit and I’ve got to capitalize now on these wonderful rates,” he told Reuters.

The improvement in buyer sentiment is bringing much needed relief to homebuilders, which reported an underwhelming spring selling season this year. Spring selling is to homebuilders what the holiday season is to retailers.

“First-time home buyers are the ones missing from the marketplace (and) part of the reason we’ve had a relatively slow recovery in housing. Some relaxation in the overly restrictive lending standards will bring the first-time home buyer back,” Crowe said.

The Dow Jones U.S. home construction index rose about 4 percent this year to Monday’s close, after doubling between January 2012 and January 2014.

Five of the largest U.S. homebuilders – D.R. Horton, Toll Brothers, Lennar Corp, PulteGroup Inc and KB Home – trade below their intrinsic values, according to StarMine.

The StarMine model measures how much a stock should be worth when considering expected growth rates over the next 15 years.


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Home prices rise 6.5 percent in July, CoreLogic reports | South Salem Real Estate

The U.S. is on Month 29 of rising home prices. Meanwhile, the Texas housing market has outpaced itself once again, and San Antonio on a steady rise.

These are three takeaways from the latest Home Price Index (HPI) report by Irvine, Calif.-based CoreLogic.

Over the 12 months ended July 31, home prices in the San Antonio/New Braunfels metro increased 6.5 percent.

The San Antonio metro is one of 98 of the top 100 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) tracked by CoreLogic that posted year-over-year increases in their HPI.

The only exceptions in July were the metros of Worcester, Mass.-Conn.; and Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Ark.

Nationwide, the HPI increased 7.4 percent between July 2013 and July 2014, CoreLogic reports. The July numbers

As for Texas, the Lone Star State once again outperformed itself — reaching a new HPI high of 8.7 percent.

Texas was one of 11 states (including the District of Columbia) that reached new highs for their HPIs.



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Numerous factors make homebuying advantageous for the rest of this year | South Salem Homes


1. Home prices are still off their highs

Yes, home prices are rising from the lows seen during the housing crash of 2008, but they’re still nearly 20 percent off their mid-2006 peak. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, average U.S. home prices are currently at summer 2004 levels. In markets that are still recovering, first-time homebuyers could see significant appreciation over the next few years, if they buy now.

2. Interest rates are expected to keep rising

Interest rates are slowly climbing, and as the Federal Reserve concludes its economic stimulus plan, rates are expected to continue to rise. Some experts believe mortgage interest rates could hit 5 percent by the end of 2014 or the first quarter of 2015, according to Glink. And even a small bump in interest rates can mean a significant jump in your monthly note.

“If you’re offered a 4.2 percent interest rate on a $400,000 mortgage, for example, your monthly payment will be $1,961, and you’ll pay more than $300,000 in interest over the loan’s 30-year term,” Glink says. “If your interest rate were 4.9 percent, your monthly payment would jump to $2,115, and the total interest paid over the life of the loan would exceed $360,000.”

3. Rental rates are rising

There is always an argument to be made regarding whether to buy or rent. It’s all a matter of your particular situation – as well as the status of your local housing market. If you need to be mobile — prepared for job transfers or out-of-state promotions — or are continuing to search for “the perfect place,” renting is probably right for you.

However, if you would like to put down some roots, and rents are high in your hometown – it might be cheaper to buy.




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3 reasons mortgage apps don’t reflect housing strength | South Salem Real Estate


Mortgage applications continue to hover around the same level, while home sales keep rising, according to an article in Business Insider.

The article uses a report from Hui Shan at Goldman Sachs, which cited three factors for why there is a disconnect between mortgage applications and home sales.

1. Things are different  

Not every mortgage application is approved and ends in an origination. “The pull-through rate, which is the origination to application ratio, can vary considerably over time,” according to Shan.

2. Reliability in question

The market share of the four large banks, Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America and Citi has fallen from 50% of all residential mortgages in 2011, to 31% in the first half of the year. This could skew the survey that the MBA index is based on.

3. Cash still remains

Tight lending standards continue to cause the share of cash transactions to stay close to peak levels, even as their share in distressed sales continues to fall.

Business Insider also repurposes a graph from the note to highlight the points, but this one is better at outlining the growing gap between starts and mortgage applications, click to enlarge:


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