Category Archives: South Salem

Consumer Inflation Hits Highest Level Since 1981 | South Salem Real Estate

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation on the consumer level, rose by 1.2% in March. This pushed the year over year reading higher from 7.9% to 8.5%, which is the hottest reading in 41 years.


Core (CPI), which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose by 0.3%. As a result, year over year Core CPI increased from 6.4% to 6.5%, which was a bit less than anticipated. The headline inflation jump was expected due to rising oil and food prices, but the Core reading was cooler than anticipated and garnered a positive
reaction in the Bond market when the data was released last Tuesday.


Within the report, rents rose 0.4% in March and increased from 4.2% to 4.4% on a year over year basis. While this data has started to increase, the CPI report is still not capturing the double digit increases year over year that many other rent reports are showing.

Owners’ equivalent rent also increased 0.4% and the year over year figure rose from 4.3% to 4.5%. However, note that this data is based on a survey that asks homeowners, “If someone were to rent your home today, how much do you think it would rent for monthly, unfurnished and without utilities?” Understandably, this is very subjective and many people would be guessing these amounts so while this data tries to capture the rise in home prices, it does a poor job.


Some other notable price increases since last year include food (+9%), gasoline (+48%) and used cars (+35%).


Why is rising inflation significant? Besides causing higher prices, inflation is the arch enemy of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds because it erodes the buying power of a Bond’s fixed rate of return. If inflation is rising, investors demand a rate of return
to combat the faster pace of erosion due to inflation, causing interest rates to rise as we’ve seen this year.

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loandepot.com

Mortgage rates average 3.92% | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.92 percent.

“Mortgage rates jumped again due to high inflation and stronger than expected consumer spending,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is nearing four percent, reaching highs we have not seen since May 2019. As rates and house prices rise, affordability has become a substantial hurdle for potential homebuyers, especially as inflation threatens to place a strain on consumer budgets.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.92 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending February 17, 2022, up from last week when it averaged 3.69 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.81 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.15 percent with an average 0.8 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.93 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.21 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.98 percent with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.80 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.77 percent.

The PMMS® is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. 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.

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders, investors and taxpayers. Learn more at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

Mortgage rates average 3.45% | South Salem Real Estate

 Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.45 percent.

“Mortgage rates rose across all mortgage loan types, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increasing by almost a quarter of a percent from last week,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “This was driven by the prospect of a faster than expected tightening of monetary policy in response to continued inflation exacerbated by uncertainty in labor and supply chains. The rise in mortgage rates so far this year has not yet affected purchase demand, but given the fast pace of home price growth, it will likely dampen demand in the near future.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.45 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending January 13, 2022, up from last week when it averaged 3.22 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.79 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.62 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.43 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.23 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.57 percent with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.41 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.12 percent.

The PMMS is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. 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.

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders, investors and taxpayers. Learn more at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

Mortgage rates hit 9-month high | South Salem Real Estate

  • The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage hit 3.33% last week and is now about half a percentage point higher than a year ago.
  • Applications to refinance a home loan fell 2% last week compared with two weeks ago and were 40% lower year over year.
  • Applications for mortgages to purchase homes fell 4% from two weeks earlier and were 12% lower year over year

The economic damage from the omicron variant of the coronavirus is now expected to be less than initially thought, and that has interest rates back on their upward trajectory yet again. As a result, mortgage demand fell 2.7% to end 2021, compared with two weeks before, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. [The MBA did not release application volume last week due to the holidays.]

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) increased to 3.33% at the end of last week from 3.27% two weeks before, with points rising to 0.48 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment. That rate was 47 basis points lower the same week one year ago.

As a result, applications to refinance a home loan fell 2% last week compared with two weeks ago and were 40% lower year over year. The refinance share of mortgage activity, however, increased to 65.4% of total applications from 63.9% the previous week, due to continued weakness in the purchase loan market.

“Mortgage rates continued to creep higher over the past two weeks, as markets maintained an optimistic view of the economy,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist. “Refinance demand continues to dwindle, as many borrowers refinanced in 2020, and in early 2021.”

Rates continued to climb at the start of this week, rising sharply Tuesday to the highest level since early April of last year, according to Mortgage News Daily, which calculates daily rates as opposed to weekly averages.

Applications for mortgages to purchase homes fell 4% from two weeks earlier and were 12% lower year over year. That was the weakest showing since October 2021. Home sales began pulling back in November, but more because of low inventory than high interest rates. Home prices also continue to gain compared with 2020, up just over 18% in November, according to CoreLogic.

“Despite supply and affordability challenges, 2021 was a record year for purchase originations,” said Kan. “MBA expects 2022 to be even stronger, with total purchase activity reaching $1.74 trillion.”

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cnbc.com/2022/01/05

NY state awaits word on rent assistance funds | South Salem Real Estate

New York’s $2.4 billion rental assistance fund has nearly run dry, prompting state officials to scramble for more federal funding to cover a backlog of thousands of applicants — and leaving cash-strapped tenants and landlords in limbo.

Earlier this month, the Empire State made the surprise decision to halt new applications for its Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) program — an outgrowth of the controversial federal eviction moratorium that was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. 

Designed to help renters and landlords pay expenses amid the fallout from COVID-19, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Nov. 12 that her administration was asking for an additional $996 million in federal funding from the U.S. Treasury Department to try and keep the program running. 

“While New York accelerated getting rent relief out the door and moved from the back of the pack to the front amongst other states, there are still many individuals in need of assistance,” Hochul said.

The funding crunch comes at a time when the eviction moratorium is set to expire on January 15th, leaving thousands without aid. After a weak start marked by system delays and inefficiencies, the ERAP program finally began to make strides in August in distributing the funds to low-income tenants who were unable to pay rent due to the pandemic.

As of November 9th, nearly 280,000 households have submitted applications to the program, and the state has paid out $1 billion to 81,209 landlords who haven’t been paid rent. Meanwhile, between 70,000 to 80,000 applications remain pending.

However, days prior to Hochul’s announcement, the state posted a warning on its website informing would-be applicants that funds are almost gone — except in a few smaller counties where funds have not yet exhausted their pool of aid. 

That further exasperated building owners — some of whom recently challenged New York’s moratorium in court and haven’t been paid in over a year. Despite the Big Apple’s recovery, which has seen rent prices surge anew, landlords and tenants are still suffering from the overhang of the pandemic’s worst days. 

“I am beyond frustrated,” Jill Berman, a New York landlord who owns an 8- family apartment building in Park Slope Brooklyn, told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview.

“The way the process has been handled is very [anger] making,” she added.

Following the state’s move to stop taking most requests for its pandemic rent relief, it prompted Berman to write a letter to Governor Hochul about her situation, which she shared with Yahoo Finance. According to Berman, both she and her tenant — who owes over $30,000 in unpaid rent dated back to May 2020 — had applied for rental assistance in June when the portal was opened.

“That’s significant money. I am lucky that the other tenants in my building are paying their rent but I know other landlords who are not that lucky and are desperately in need of rental assistance funds or they might go under,” Berman said.

After months being in limbo with the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) — which initially said her case was under “pending quality control” — Berman’s application was approved, and she’ll be receiving her funds soon. However, she faulted a time consuming and opaque process.

“There seems to be a lack of communication between the people answering the phone and those people involved in the quality review unit and process,” Berman said. “The situation is extremely worrisome because OTDA could say, well, the application has been reviewed and it has not been accepted.

No relief for tenants

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 31: People gather at the New York City office of Gov. Kathy Hochul calling for a stop to evictions on August 31, 2021 in New York City. Housing activists and community members gathered and marched towards the NYC office of Gov. Hochul calling on her, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to amend and extend the evictions moratorium, which expires tonight. Rent Stabilization Association, New York's largest landlord group, has threatened to sue the state legislature if lawmakers extend the pandemic-era eviction moratorium. On August 12th, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against parts of New York's eviction moratorium that allows renters to submit a hardship declaration form stating a loss of income due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic or that moving would harm their health. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
NYC

Meanwhile, several members of New York’s congressional delegation also sent a letter to the Treasury Department emphasizing the need for additional help, explaining the state continues to receive 10,000 new applications per week.

“We haven’t seen a slow down of applicants,” Ellen Davidson, staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society, told Yahoo Finance in an interview.

“It would seem to us that if you want to make a strong case to Treasury, that we need the additional money, closing down the application portal makes the need seem artificially low,” the attorney added.

The nonprofit tried to help people with the application but couldn’t because the portal was “closed down.” The hiccups were due to “ technological problems,” according to Davidson.

“There’s no paper application so in order to apply, you really have to be comfortable with technology,” Davidson said. “Many of the people who’ve been left out are people who don’t have email addresses, or don’t have email addresses that work and find technology challenging.”

While thousands of applicants remain in limbo, the OTDA continues to work to ensure all applications are completed in their entirety.

“In six short months, New York’s rental assistance program has provided more than $1 billion in direct payments to landlords and protected roughly 168,000 households from eviction,” a spokesperson told Yahoo Finance in a statement. 

The spokesperson added that the Empire State was “in a good position” to get more funding to clear its backlog, “and to continue helping struggling renters and landlords alike.”

Without additional federal funding, OTDA doesn’t expect to be able to pay all of the applications already received due to the high demand in ERAP payments.

For applicants who were hoping to apply, but no longer can’t. There is a form available on the ERAP web page so that individuals can provide their email address in order to receive notification if the application portal reopens to all areas of the state.

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finance.yahoo.com/news/

CPI soars 6.2%. Fuel oil prices up 59% | South Salem Real Estate

Inflation across a broad swath of products that consumers buy every day was even worse than expected in October, hitting its highest point in more than 30 years, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

The consumer price index, which is a basket of products ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents, rose 6.2% from a year ago. That compared to the 5.9% Dow Jones estimate.

On a monthly basis, the CPI increased 0.9% against the 0.6% estimate.

Stripping out volatile food and energy prices, so-called core CPI was up 0.6% against the estimate of 0.4%. Annual core inflation ran at a 6.2% pace, compared to the 4% expectation and the highest since November 1990.

Fuel oil prices soared 12.3% for the month, part of a 59.1% increase over the past year. Energy prices overall rose 4.8% in October and are up 30% for the 12-month period.

Used vehicle prices again were a big contributor, rising 2.5% on the month and 26.4% for the year. New vehicle prices were up 1.4% and 9.8% respectively.

Food prices also showed a sizeable bounce, up 0.9% and 5.4% respectively.

The price increases meant that workers fell further behind.

In a separate report, the Labor Department said real wages after inflation fell 0.5% from September to October, the product of a 0.4% increase in average hourly earnings that was more than offset by the CPI surge.

Shelter costs, which make up one-third of the CPI computation, increased 0.5% for the month and are now up 3.5% on a year-over-year basis, pointing to more reasons for concern that inflation could be more persistent than policymakers anticipate. The annual pace is the highest since September 2019.

The data comes as policymakers such as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen maintain that the current price pressures are temporary and related to pandemic-specific issues. While they have conceded that inflation has been more persistent than they expected, they see conditions returning to normal over the next year or so.

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cnbc.com/2021/11/10/consumer-price

Mortgage rates average 2.99% | South Salem Real Estate

 Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 2.99 percent.

“Mortgage rates continue to hover at around three percent again this week due to rising economic and financial market uncertainties,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Unfortunately, with the expectation that both mortgage rates and home prices will continue to rise, competition remains high and housing affordability is declining.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.99 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending October 7, 2021, down slightly from last week when it averaged 3.01 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.87 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.23 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.28 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.37 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.52 percent with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.48 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.89 percent.

The PMMS is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. 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.

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders, investors and taxpayers. Learn more at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

Existing home sales rise 44% | South Salem Real Estate

Median sales price of all existing homes was $350,300, up 23.6% from a year ago.

As low inventory continues to push home prices higher and squeeze out some buyers, existing home sales dropped to a eleven-month low in May, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The median existing home price in May surged to an all-time high; the largest annual pace on record.

Total existing home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.80 million in May, the lowest level since July 2020. However, on a year-over-year basis, sales were still 44.6% higher than a year ago.

The first-time buyer share remained at 31% in May, even with April but down from 34% a year ago. The May inventory level increased from 1.15 to 1.23 million units but is still down from 1.55 million units a year ago.

At the current sales rate, the May unsold inventory sit at a 2.5-month supply, slightly up from April’s 2.4-month but still down from 4.6-month a year ago. This low level supply of resale homes is good news for home construction.

Homes stayed on the market for an average of just 17 days in May, an all-time low, unchanged from April and down from 26 days a year ago. In May, 89% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month.

The May all-cash sales share was 23% of transactions, down from 25% last month and 17% a year ago.

Tight supply continues to push up home prices. The May median sales price of all existing homes was $350,300, up 23.6% from a year ago, representing the 111st consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median existing condominium/co-op price of $306,000 in May was up 21.5% from a year ago.

Geographically, three of four regions saw a decline in existing home sales in May, ranging from 0.4% in the South to 4.1% in the West. Sales in the Midwest rose 1.6% in May. On a year-over-year basis, however, sales continued to grow by double-digits in all four regions, ranging from 27.2% in the Midwest to 61.6% in the West.

Meanwhile, the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), also reported by the NAR, is a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts. The PHSI declined 4.4% from 111.1 to 106.2 in April. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 51.7% higher than a year ago.

Though consumers are facing higher home prices and declining housing affordability, housing demand is expected to remain solid due to historically favorable mortgage rates and a promising economic outlook. Meanwhile, rising material prices and supply chain shortage are limiting builders’ abilities to meet the increased level of demand. The imbalance between housing supply and demand could hamper future sales by driving up house prices and eroding affordability.

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eyeonhousing.org

Case-Shiller prices up 13.2% | South Salem Real Estate

  • Home prices in March were 13.2% higher in March, compared with March 2020, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index.
  • The 10-City Composite rose 12.8% year over year, up from 11.7% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite increased 13.3%, up from 12.0% in February.
A real estate broker, right, gives a tour for potential home buyers during an open house in Manhattan Beach, California.

Home prices in March were 13.2% higher in March, compared with March 2020, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index.

That is up from the 12% annual gain in February, and it marks the 10th straight month of accelerating home prices.

The March gain is the largest since December 2005 and is also one of the largest in the index’s 30-year history. Prices are being pushed higher by incredibly strong competition in the market. High demand is butting up against near record-low supply, resulting in bidding wars for the vast majority of listings.

The 10-City Composite rose 12.8% year over year, up from 11.7% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite increased 13.3%, up from 12.0% in February.

Cities with the strongest price gains continue to be Phoenix, San Diego and Seattle. Phoenix sits at the top with 20% year-over-year price increase, followed by San Diego with a 19.1% increase and Seattle prices rising 18.3%. All 20 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending March 2021 versus the year ending February 2021.

“These data are consistent with the hypothesis that COVID has encouraged potential buyers to move from urban apartments to suburban homes,” said Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P DJI.

“This demand may represent buyers who accelerated purchases that would have happened anyway over the next several years. Alternatively, there may have been a secular change in preferences, leading to a permanent shift in the demand curve for housing,” he added.

Mortgage rates began rising during this period, with the average rate on the 30-year fixed just below 3% in February and then ending March at around 3.4%, according to Mortgage News Daily. Higher mortgage rates cut into purchasing power, and usually put a chill on home prices, but clearly unusual competition in the market is overwhelming the usual mechanics of the market.

There were just 1.16 million homes on the market in April, a 20% drop year over year, according to the National Association of Realtors. The continued shortage of homes, especially at the lower end of the market, forecasts that home prices will not cool off any time soon.

Sales are beginning to weaken, and prices usually follow, but again, the usual trends are not dependable in this very unusual housing market.

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cnbc.com/2021/5/25

Hudson Valley loses 58,000 jobs | South Salem Real Estate

Hudson Valley Lost 58,000 Private Sector Jobs in Past Year 

The New York State Department of Labor reports that the Hudson Valley lost 58,100 private sector jobs between March 2020—the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York— and March 2021. During that one-year period the region’s workforce shrank by 7.3%, to 732,800. The Hudson Valley region did gain 9,200 jobs as of March 2021 as compared to a month earlier. 

Employment losses year-to-year were greatest in educational and health services (-16,500), leisure and hospitality (-15,800), trade, transportation and utilities (-8,500), other services (-5,700), natural resources, mining and construction (-3,800), financial activities (-3,500), manufacturing (-2,400), information (-1,400) and professional and business services (-500). 

Within the region, Sullivan County’s private employment sector declined the fastest year-over-year, down 8.2%. It was followed by the Dutchess-Putnam MSA and the Kingston MSA, both respectively down 8.1%, and the Orange-Rockland-Westchester labor market area (-7.1%). Access the latest state labor statistics.

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hgar.com