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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.

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builderonline.com/design/consumer-trends/

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.”

read more…

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

Mortgage rates average 2.88% | 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 2.88 percent, the lowest rate in the survey’s history dating back to 1971.

“The resilience of the housing market continues as mortgage rates hit another all-time low, giving potential buyers more purchasing power and strengthening demand,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “We expect rates to stay low and continue to propel the purchase market forward. However, the main barrier to rising demand remains the lack of inventory, especially for entry-level homes.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.88 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending August 6, 2020, down from last week when it averaged 2.99 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.60 percent.  
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.44 percent with an average 0.8 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.51 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.05 percent.  
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.90 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.94 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.36 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Nearly Half of Americans Are Out of Work – Bad for real estate | Pound Ridge Real Estate

"For Sale By Owner" and "Closed Due to Virus" signs are displayed in the window of Images On Mack in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., Thursday, April 2, 2020. The coronavirus outbreak has triggered a stunning collapse in the U.S. workforce with 10 million people losing their jobs in the past …
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

A smaller share of American adults were employed in April than ever before in records going back to 1948.

The employment-population ratio, which measures the share of Americans above the age of 16 who are employed, fell to 51.3 percent, the Department of Labor said Friday. A year ago, it was 60.6 percent.

The previous low was 55 percent in the summer of 1954.

In November 2007, the employment-population ratio was 62.9 percent. This rate fell consistently during the subsequent recession and several months beyond, before stabilizing around 58.5 percent in October 2009. Between October 2009 and March 2014, the ratio remained stubbornly low, fluctuating within 0.3 percentage points of 58.5 percent. It began to climb again in 2014, hitting its post-2008 peak of 61.1 in February of 2020.

The labor force participation rate fell by 2.5 percentage points over the month to 60.2 percent, the lowest rate since January 1973 (when it was 60.0 percent).

The unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent in April and the economy shed 20.5 million jobs, according to data released by the Department of Labor on Friday.

Over the past seven weeks, more than 33 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment benefits. But the number of claims has been declining for five consecutive weeks.

The Trump administration successfully pushed Congress to authorize direct payments to U.S. households to support incomes and to raise the amount paid by unemployment benefits by $600 a week, making it possible for some Americans to earn more through losing a job than they made working. The federal government is also backing over $600 billion of loans to small businesses that can be forgiven if those businesses avoid layoffs.

The Fed cuts its interest rate target to a range between 0 and 0.25 percent. In addition, it is in the process of launching a number of new lending facilities aimed at providing liquidity to struggling businesses.

But loans and direct payments can only go so far to offset orders that many businesses close their doors entirely or dramatically reduce the number of customers they serve. The customers were told to stay at home and avoid going out except to purchase essential items. Bars, theaters, and gyms were shuttered in much of the country. Restaurants were required to close dining rooms, remaining open only for take-out and delivery. Manufacturers often had to shut down altogether, including the plants of most automakers in the U.S. Health care establishments found themselves bereft of businesses as patients canceled elective procedures and even regular check-ups.

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www.breitbart.com/economy