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States can improve housing well-being through thoughtfully designed policies | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Senior Fellow – Brookings MetroFuture of the Middle Class Initiative


Jenny Schuetz

Rising housing costs have become an increasingly salient political issue for state-level elected officials across the United States. Local governments have traditionally exerted the most direct control over land use and housing production, yet political and fiscal incentives align to pressure local officials into restricting new development, especially of moderately priced homes. However, state governments are increasingly feeling the pinch of poorly functioning housing markets in several ways. Inadequate supply, especially in near job centers and transportation infrastructure, makes it harder for companies to recruit and retain workers. Most new housing is developed on the urban fringe in car-dependent locations, leading to higher traffic volumes and more greenhouse gas emissions. Exclusionary zoning by affluent, high-opportunity communities restricts economic mobility and exacerbates racial and economic segregation. In short, the economic, social, and environmental costs of poorly functioning housing markets spill over beyond local boundaries to affect entire regions and states. State-level action has the potential to improve these outcomes.

In a new study, I examine what state governments can—and should—do to encourage healthy housing markets. I identify four broad goals to guide statewide housing policies, discussed in more detail below. To illustrate the range of existing state policy approaches, I examine the types of policies uses by five contrasting states: California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia. To achieve any particular goal, states can use a variety of different policy tools, giving them flexibility to design an approach that fits their economic needs, institutional capacity, and political circumstances.

GOAL #1: ANALYZE STATE HOUSING MARKET CONDITIONS TO DESIGN APPROPRIATE POLICIES

Before adopting or amending housing policies, state leaders should use data to identify key needs and challenges, and design their interventions accordingly. Comparing a handful of simple metrics across the five sampled states illustrates how differences in underlying market conditions can inform policy choices (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Population growth is a primary driver of housing demand: Fast-growing places need to build more housing to accommodate more people. Utah counties experienced by far the highest average population growth (0.16) between 2009 and 2019, three times as high as Massachusetts counties. This implies that the typical Utah locality will need to expand housing supply more than localities in other states, particularly slow-growth states like Massachusetts.

A helpful affordability metric is the ratio of median home values to median household incomes. Value-to-income ratios between 3 and 4 are considered healthy, because they imply that the typical household could buy a home while spending about one-third of their monthly income on housing. Of the studied states, only Utah and Virginia fall in that range. California has (unsurprisingly) the most expensive housing, with median home value-to-income ratios around 7.00—well above any threshold for “affordable.”

The final metric, the share of housing built before 1940, is a proxy for housing quality. Older homes typically have higher maintenance needs, including lower energy efficiency. Massachusetts stands out for having a very large share of older housing.

Although specific policy priorities and strategies will vary across states, based on underlying housing market conditions, most states could benefit from policies to address the next three goals:

  • Encourage housing production in places with strong demand
  • Provide financial support to low-income households,
  • Reduce climate risks

GOAL #2: ENCOURAGE HOUSING PRODUCTION IN PLACES WITH STRONG DEMAND

Current debates over how statewide zoning reform start with the assumption that local governments are overly restrictive of housing, needing more state oversight. This raises the question: Are strict zoning and limited housing production prevalent across all (or most) localities within states? One simple diagnostic is to look at the relationship between housing growth and prices or rents: In well-functioning housing markets, places with strong demand will add more housing, while places with weak demand build very little.

Graphing county-level housing values and changes in the number of homes for our sample states shows the expected positive relationship in four states (Figure 2). In Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia, counties that had higher population growth from 2009 to 2019 had higher housing values in 2019. (Counties offer a consistent unit of analysis across states, although cities and towns also play important roles in land use regulation.) California is the one exception: The more rapidly growing counties are among the least expensive. This corresponds with prior research that affluent counties have the most restrictive regulations and generally oppose new development.

Figure 2

States have at least four different strategies to incentivize local governments to allow more development in places with strong demand. These can be designed either to apply to all localities within a state or targeted towards specific places where supply lags demand. Broadly defined, these strategies include:

  • Financial carrots and/or sticks tied to quantitative housing production targets
  • Oversight of local land use planning
  • Create a “builders remedy” that allows developers to override local zoning under certain conditions (for instance, to construct below-market-rate housing),
  • State pre-emption of specific zoning rules

Over the past few years, several states have focused on preemption of narrowly defined rules, especially zoning bans on accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and duplexes. However, the most effective policies will target improved housing outcomes, such as increased production or affordability. Land use regulations are complex and multi-layered, making it easy for localities that don’t want to produce housing to appear compliant on paper while actually not building anything. For example, a city’s zoning might technically allow duplexes, while large setback requirements or low floor-to-area ratios make them financially infeasible or impractical.

GOAL #3: PROVIDE FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS

Even in well-functioning housing markets with abundant housing, the poorest 20% of households in all parts of the U.S. cannot afford even modest market-rate housing without subsidies. This is primarily a reflection of very low wages, and so can be most directly addressed by giving poor households direct financial assistance. Because federal housing subsidies are not an entitlement, only one in four poor renters receive any federal rental subsidy. States have a number of different ways they can support low-income households including:

  • Household-based rental assistance, such as vouchers and homelessness prevention services
  • Supply-side rental assistance, including the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program
  • Subsidies to help low-income homeowners with maintenance and utility costs,
  • Down-paymentassistance for first-time homeowners

GOAL #4: REDUCE CLIMATE RISKS

Land use regulation and building codes are part of the toolkit available to state governments to reduce the risk and harm of climate change. Ideally, state environmental protection laws should discourage development in risky and/or sensitive locations (e.g. flood- and fire-prone areas) and encourage climate-friendly homes (energy efficient materials, structures, and locations), while not unduly restricting overall housing stock relative to population and job growth. In practice, states often struggle to balance these goals. The clearest example is California’s landmark environmental protection law, CEQA. Adopted in the 1970s with the intent to limit environmentally damaging development, in recent years CEQA has been weaponized by NIMBY homeowners to block projects with broad public benefits, including climate-friendly projects like bike lanes.

CURRENT STATE HOUSING POLICIES START FROM WIDELY VARYING BASELINES

Housing policies in the five studied states vary along several important dimensions. They represent different points along the intensity and complexity of current policies, from highly complex (California) to lightest touch (Utah and Virginia). The states’ legal and institutional structures—the framework within which localities operate—also vary widely. California sets housing production targets for metro areas and localities—although these targets have not been effectively enforced. California and Oregon have explicit statewide mandates to monitor land use planning and/or housing production. Massachusetts has a statewide “fair share” rule focused on low-income housing, which allows developers to override local zoning under certain conditions. All five states offer some types of housing subsidies, but differ in the target populations and activities. Figure 3 summarizes high-level differences in how each state addresses the four policy goals; specific policies and institutional structures are discussed in more detail in the longer report.

Figure 3

GETTING POLICY JUST RIGHT REQUIRES GOOD DATA, CAREFUL PLANNING, AND A WILLINGNESS TO EXPERIMENT

Because states currently start from such different baselines—both in market conditions and institutional capacity—there is not one consistent set of recommendations that will work for all states. California would benefit from simplifying and streamlining its many complex programs and regulations. Virginia and Utah will need to start slowly, assessing current needs and building up staff capacity. With that caveat, three general rules of good policy can benefit all states.

  • Do your homework. Thoughtful data analysis is the foundation of solid policy.
  • Experiment, evaluate, and tweak. It’s hard to get policy “just right” on the first try, especially in such a complex and fast-changing market. Implementing pilot programs that can be evaluated and tweaked before rolling out at scale can help deliver better long-term results.
  • Keep things simple. Complex policies and regulations require more staff time and resources to administer and oversee and impose higher administrative burdens on grant recipients to comply.
  • Think hard about unintended consequences. Policies can have ripple effects that undermine their primary goals—and it’s very difficult to reform or repeal harmful policies (like California’s CEQA and Prop 13) once they become deeply entrenched.

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brookings.edu/research/

Pending home sales drop 8% | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Pending home sales take a surprising dip in September

Housing activity in the U.S. kicked off the fall season slower than anticipated.

Pending home sales, a leading indicator of the health of the housing market, fell in September, reversing an increase a month earlier. The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index, which tracks the number of homes that are under contract to be sold, dropped 2.3% in September from August — a surprising dip. Analysts expected a 0.5% increase in sales, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates.

“Contract transactions slowed a bit in September and are showing signs of a calmer home price trend, as the market is running comfortably ahead of pre-pandemic activity,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Some potential buyers have momentarily paused their home search with intentions to resume in 2022.”

Contract signings were down 8% from the same month a year earlier. And pending sales were down in all four regions in the U.S. from August and September 2020. The Northeast region recorded the largest dip in activity, posting a 3.2% from August.

The results show that sales activity may actually slow down into the fall since pending sales precede actual sales. In September, existing home sales rose 7% from a month earlier, the NAR reported last week.

“Although home sales activity has retreated from its earlier highs, it is stabilizing at a level of activity that is above pre-pandemic pace thanks to a combination of eager young buyers, lingering pandemic savings, and low mortgage rates creating opportunity despite ongoing home price gains,” Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, said in a statement prior to the results.

The slowdown in activity could help to put the brakes on home price growth. Yun recently noted that home price growth is moderating from its 20%-plus increases. Median existing-home price for all housing types in September hit $352,800, up 13.3% from a year ago, but slightly down from the previous month and the third straight month of declines, according to the NAR. In August, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index remained the same from a month earlier. Even so, data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve released Wednesday said the median U.S. home price just passed $400,000 for the first-time ever.

“As rising home prices are paired with rising mortgage rates, which have already jumped above 3%, we could see mortgage payments that require larger shares of buyer paychecks, especially if incomes grow more slowly,” said Hale. “This could cause some buyers to opt out, dampening demand and ultimately causing sales activity and home price growth to slow.”

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finance.yahoo.com/news/

Rent prices up 10.3% | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Asking rents rose by 10.3% year over year in August, marking the first double-digit YOY increase in the history of the Yardi Matrix Multifamily National Report dataset.

At the same time, overall rents have risen by $25 in August and $140 this year to date, up to a national average rent of $1,539. Overall occupancy has also risen by 0.9% from one year ago, up to 95.6%.

https://www.yardimatrix.com/

Every metro tracked by Yardi Matrix showed positive year-over-year rent growth in August, except for Queens, New York, at -0.5% and Midland-Odessa, Texas, at -5.5%. Rent growth recovery is widespread, no longer concentrated in Southwest and Southeast tech hubs, owing to residents returning to urban cores, job growth, and an increased savings rate.

All of the top 30 metros now show positive YOY rent growth for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. Phoenix led the top 30 markets for YOY rent growth at a staggering 22%, followed by Tampa, Florida, at 20.2% and Las Vegas at 19.2%. According to Yardi, all three markets benefit from strong job growth and excess savings that enable renters to afford more expensive apartments. New York and San Francisco remain at the bottom at 2.8% and 1.4%, respectively, below pre-pandemic rent levels.

https://www.yardimatrix.com/

While YOY rent growth may seem incredibly strong in some gateway markets, Yardi notes these numbers are slightly misleading, as they compare today’s rents with last August, when rent growth in many gateway metros had hit bottom. In an alternate comparison of rent growth pre- and post-pandemic, five out of the seven gateway markets have surpassed rent growth levels observed in March 2020. Miami is in the double digits at 16.2%, followed by Boston at 7%, Chicago at 6.4%, Los Angeles at 4.9%, and Washington, D.C., at 3.9%.

New York and San Francisco remain negative at -3.8% and -3.2%, respectively. Yardi attributes this ongoing growth decline in part to continued remote work, particularly at large companies that have delayed returns to the office due to the surge in the delta variant.

On a month-over-month basis, rents rose by 1.7% in August. All of the top 30 metros saw positive month-over-month rent growth, while 26 out of 30 showed 1% rent growth or higher. Las Vegas led the way with 3.3% rent growth month to month, followed by California’s Inland Empire and Seattle at 3.1%.

Many of the metros in the top 10 for August are secondary markets in the Southeast and Southwest. Kansas City, Missouri, fell to the bottom of the top 30 at 0.2%, followed by San Francisco at 0.5% and the Twin Cities at 0.7%.

Rents for single-family build-to-rent communities rose 13.9% YOY in August, far outpacing growth in the traditional multifamily sector. All of the top 30 metros showed positive rent growth year over year, while 20 out of the top 30 showed double-digit rent growth. Tampa led the way with 38.4% YOY growth, followed by Miami at 26.7%.

Occupancy at single-family build-to-rent communities has risen 1.1% YOY, led by San Antonio—up 6.7% YOY—and Indianapolis and Houston, both up 5.6%.

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https://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/property-management/rent-trends/yardi-asking-rents-rise-a-record-breaking-10-3-yoy-in-august_o?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Article&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MFE_090921&

US housing market is short 5.5 million homes, NAR says | Pound Ridge Real Estate

The National Association of Realtors says the current state of the housing market is absolutely “dire,” the consequence of a housing shortage 30 years in the making.

According to the lobbying group, construction of long-term housing fell 5.5 million units short of historical levels over the past 30 years.

The NAR is calling for a “major national commitment” to build more housing of all types by expanding resources, addressing barriers to new development and making new housing construction an integral part of a national infrastructure strategy.

The report, authored for the NAR by the Rosen Consulting Group, highlighted a “chronic shortage of affordable and available homes [needed to support] the nation’s population,” noting the recent lack of new construction and a prolonged underinvestment in those affordable units as the main culprits.

From 1968 to 2000, the total stock of U.S. housing grew at an average annual rate of 1.7%. In the past 20 years, the U.S. housing stock grew by an annual average rate of 1% — and only 0.7% in the last decade.

In fact, coming off the Great Recession, new home construction in the U.S. between 2010 and 2020 fell 6.8 million units short of what was needed, the report said.

Residential fixed investment (RFI) — the sector of economic activity that accounts for housing construction and renovation — accounted for approximately 5% of the country’s total gross domestic product between 1968 and 2000. In the past 12 years, though, RFI accounted for only 3% of the country’s gross domestic product. This shortfall in RFI, the NAR reported, translated to a $4.4 trillion gap in housing market investment from 2000 to 2020.

Existing-home inventory at the end of April totaled just 1.16 million units, down 20.5% from the prior year.

In looking at underbuilt, major U.S. metros, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro had an underbuilding gap of 148,650 units in the past nine years — the largest gap in the country, the study claimed. That’s followed only by the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro, which reported a gap of 113,200 units; and the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California metro, which reported a gap of 107,700 units.

“There is a strong desire for homeownership across this country, but the lack of supply is preventing too many Americans from achieving that dream,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “It’s clear from the findings of this report and from the conditions we’ve observed in the market over the past few years that we’ll need to do something dramatic to close this gap.”

Specifically, NAR President Charlie Oppler said adequate increases in housing construction this decade would add an estimated 2.8 million American jobs and $50 billion in nationwide tax revenue.

“A number of factors from the past 20 years are responsible for the massive housing investment gap we see in America today, but what’s important now is that we find solutions that will get us out of this crisis and provide more stability in future markets,” Oppler said. “Additional public funding and policy incentives for construction will very clearly provide huge benefits to our nation’s economy, and our work to close this gap will be particularly impactful for lower-income households, households of color and millennials.”

In order to fill the underbuilding gap in the next 10 years, the NAR estimated that more than 2 million housing units would need to be built per year – an increase of more than 700,000 units per year relative to the pace of housing production in 2020.

Several potential policy changes were offered up by NAR in the report, including addressing the large shortages of capital for the development of affordable housing by expanding resources and maximizing the potential of existing programs, incentivizing shifts in local zoning and regulatory environments to increase the quantity of developable residential space, and increasing housing supply by promoting conversions of underutilized commercial space.

Oppler added that addressing the national underbuilding gap in the housing market will require a “coordinated approach” to the planning, funding and development of infrastructure.

As part of a $1 trillion national infrastructure plan, President Biden has earmarked $318 billion toward the construction and preservation of affordable housing.

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housingwire.com/articles/

Mortgage rates average 2.96% | Pound Ridge 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 2.96 percent.

“Mortgage rates have remained under three percent for three consecutive weeks,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Consumer income and spending are picking up, which is leading to an acceleration in economic growth. The combination of low and stable rates, coupled with an improving economy, is good for homebuyers. It’s also good for homeowners who may have missed prior opportunities to refinance and increase their monthly cash flow.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.96 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending May 6, 2021, down from last week when it averaged 2.98 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.26 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.30 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.31 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.73 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.70 percent with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.64 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.14 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 sales up 23.7% | Pound Ridge Real Estate

NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this January rose modestly 0.6% from December 2020. January’s existing home sales reached a 6.69 million seasonally adjusted annual rate. January’s sales of existing homes rose 23.7% from January 2020.

Line graph: U.S. Existing-Home Sales, January 2020 to January 2021

The national median existing-home price for all housing types rose to $309,900 in January, up 14.1% percent from a year ago. Home prices have continued to escalate, and this marks the 107th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Bar chart: U.S. and Regional Median Sales Price of Existing-Home Sales, January 2021 and January 2020

Regionally, all four regions showed double digit price growth from a year ago. The West had the largest gain of 16.1% followed by the Northeast with an increase of 15.8%. The Midwest showed an increase of 14.7% and the South had the smallest price gain of 14.6% from January 2020.

January’s inventory figures dropped 1.9% from last month standing at 1.04 million homes for sale. Compared with January of 2020, inventory levels dropped 25.7%. This would mark 20 straight months of year over year declines. It will take 1.9 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace.

It takes approximately 21 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market. A year ago, it took 43 days.

Bar chart: Inventory, January 2020 to January 2021

From December 2020, two of the four regions had increases in sales. The South had the largest gain of 3.2% followed by the Midwest with an increase of 1.9%. The Northeast had a decline of 2.2% followed by the West with the biggest dip of 4.4%.

From a year ago, all four regions showed double digit increases in sales. The South region had the largest gain of 25.1%. The Northeast had an increase in sales of 24.3% followed by the Midwest with a rise of 22.7%. The West had the smallest gain of 21.3%.

The South led all regions in percentage of national sales, accounting for 43.9% of the total, while the Northeast had the smallest share at 13.0%.

Bar chart: Regional Existing Home Sales and Year-Over-Year Percent Change, January 2021 and January 2020

In January, single-family sales were up 0.2% and condominiums sales were up 4.1% compared to last month. Single-family home sales were up 23.0% while condominium sales were up 28.8% compared to a year ago. The median sales price of single-family homes rose 14.8% at $308,300 from January 2020, while the median sales price of condominiums rose 8.6% at $269,600.

Line graph: Single Family vs Condo Sales Month-Over-Month Percent Change, January 2019 to January 2021
Line graph: Single Family vs Condo Price Year-Over-Year Percent Change, January 2019 to January 2021

Michael Hyman

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nar.realtor/blogs/

How Increased Work-From-Home Opportunities Benefit The Housing Market | Pound Ridge Real Estate

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the significant increase in the ability to work from home is a win for housing and voters.

Adobe Stock/Marina Zlochin

An important consequence of the COVID-19 crisis has been a shift in housing demand preferences, with home buyers and renters favoring lower-density suburbs and exurbs over the core of large metropolitan areas. This suburban shift is seen in construction data, with the NAHB Home Building Geography Index showing that lower-density markets posted relatively greater growth rates for both single-family and multifamily construction during the middle of 2020.

While this shift seems to be a result of individuals responding to the public health crisis, it is in fact an acceleration of housing demand changes due to long-run declines for affordability in overregulated, high-cost urban markets such as New York and San Francisco.

The shift has been greatly facilitated by the increase in working from home. While it’s unlikely that large numbers of people will be able to work in an entirely different metro area than that of their employer, it will be the case that workers will have the increased ability to work at home one or more days per week. Fewer commutes mean households will have a larger area from which to choose a home.

This is an empowering moment for buyers and renters. Consider a common response from policymakers, with entrenched interests in high-cost markets, to the idea of people living elsewhere: “Where are you going to go?” For these implicit proponents of densification, the idea that people might want to live elsewhere, if given the possibility, appears unthinkable. Economists have a word for this kind of assumed power over consumers: monopoly. In a political realm it means less competition, higher taxes, and lower-quality public services.

That is why the shift in buyer/renter preferences, and the ability to actually move, is good for housing and American democracy in general. When people can vote with their feet to fight back against inefficient government, ordinary families gain political power. And the lack of political power in high-cost markets in recent decades has no greater example than ongoing declines for housing affordability.

The U.S. has experienced an affordability crisis for much of the post-Great Recession era. Rent burdens increased and the ability to buy a home declined as supply of single-family and multifamily construction was throttled by regulatory burdens, expansion of NIMBYist policies, and a lack of developable land. For households looking for jobs, resigning themselves to the limited housing options in high-cost markets became part of the process of adjusting to a new city. When I moved from Ohio to Washington, D.C., a fellow economist told me my outrage-threshold over local home prices would decline by about $100,000 per year. She was not far off.

Thus, even partial persistence of work-from-home options will expand buyer purchasing options. NAHB data shows 61% of workers believe they’ll be able to telecommute on at least a partial basis after a vaccine is deployed. And while less than one-third of the workforce has been working at home, any reduction in traffic reduces the commute time/cost for all workers.

In response to where they’ll go, home buyers and renters now have more answers from which to choose. This is good news for them and builders, while representing a threat to policymakers and bureaucrats who have for too long taken their own residents for granted by driving up the cost of housing and limiting housing supply.

read more…

builderonline.com/design/consumer-trends/

NAHB builder index hits all time high | Pound Ridge Real Estate

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI) is a gauge of builder opinion on the relative level of current and future single-family home sales. It is a diffusion index, which means that a reading above 50 indicates a favorable outlook on home sales; below 50 indicates a negative outlook.

The latest reading of 90 is up 5 from last month’s 85 and at its highest level in the indicator’s history, exceeding its December 1998 record.

In another sign that housing continues to lead the economy forward, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased five points to 90 in November, shattering the previous all-time of 85 recorded in October, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. Builder confidence levels have hit successive all-time highs over the past three months.

Here is the historical series, which dates from 1985.

Housing Market Index

The HMI correlates fairly closely with broad measures of consumer confidence. Here is a pair of overlays with the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (through the previous month) and the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index (through the current month).

HMI and Consumer Sentiment
HMI and Consumer Confidence
https://758fb15e76626165e7ab297648959659.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Mortgage rates average 2.81% | Pound Ridge 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 2.81 percent, the lowest rate in our survey’s history which dates back to 1971.

“Low mortgage rates have become a regular occurrence in the current environment,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “As we hit yet another record low, the tenth record this year, many people are benefitting as refinance activity remains strong. However, it’s important to remember that not all people are able to take advantage of low rates given the effects of the pandemic.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.81 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending October 15, 2020, down from last week when it averaged 2.87 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.69 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.35 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.37 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.15 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.90 percent with an average 0.2 point, slightly down from last week when it averaged 2.89 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.35 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.

NYC apartments for rent sky rocket | Pound Ridge Real Estate

  • The number of empty rental apartments in Manhattan nearly tripled compared with last year, according to a report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel.
  • The inventory of empty units, which rose to 15,000 in August, is the largest ever recorded since data started being collected 14 years ago, the report said. 
  • Hopes for a rebound in the fall or the end of 2020 look increasingly unlikely.
A man enters a building with rental apartments available on August 19, 2020 in New York City.

A man enters a building with rental apartments available on August 19, 2020 in New York City.

The number of empty rental apartments in Manhattan nearly tripled compared with last year, as more New Yorkers fled the city and prices declined.

There were more than 15,000 empty rental apartments in Manhattan in August, up from 5,600 a year ago, according to a report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel. The inventory of empty units is the largest ever recorded since data started being collected 14 years ago, the report said. 

Analysts say the rental market is the best barometer of overall strength in Manhattan’s real estate market, since rentals account for 75% of apartments and that market reacts more quickly to demand changing than the sales market.

Experts say the migration from the city to the suburbs during the Covid-19 crisis has been fueled in large part by Manhattan renters leaving the city.

“The rental market is weak and getting weaker,” said Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel. “The first-time buyers in outlying areas are largely coming from the Manhattan rental market.”

Hopes for a rebound in the fall or the end of 2020 look increasingly unlikely. Although rental prices have come down — median rental prices fell 4% in August — the discounts are not steep enough yet to lure new renters back to the city. The average rental price for a two-bedroom in Manhattan is still $4,756 a month.

The fall is generally a slow period in the Manhattan rental market, especially before an election, Miller said.

Landlords are offering ever-larger incentives to try to entice renters, with the largest share of landlords offering concessions in history. On average, landlords were offering 1.9 months of free rent to new renters in August. The weakest segment of the rental market is the lower end, for one bedrooms and studios, partly a result of the pandemic’s greater impact on lower earners.

Average rental prices for studios fell 9%, to $2,574, while the average for one-bedroom apartments fell 5% to $3,445. 

The big question for the Manhattan economy and beyond is how far will the economic ripples from the weak rental market spread. While big landlords like REITs and real estate companies (see a great option here) have access to capital, smaller mom and pop landlords with just one or two buildings may have trouble paying their mortgages and property taxes, which could later hit banks and lenders, as well as New York’s tax revenue.

“Where you are already seeing stress on landlords is on the low end of the price spectrum,” Miller said. “You’re clearly seeing weakness in the smaller end of the rental market.”

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https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/10/manhattan-rental-