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Sales Of Newly Built Homes Fall In May

New home sales fell in May, according to new numbers released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. After soaring to an 8-year high the month before, sales dropped lower than economists expected, falling 6 percent from April. But despite the decline, sales remain 8.7 percent above last year’s level. Regionally speaking, the report showed significant differences between sales in some parts of the country compared to others. For example, new home sales tumbled 33 percent in the Northeast, while gaining 12.9 percent in the Midwest. The South, on the other hand, was nearly unchanged from the previous month and the West saw a double-digit decline. Also in the report, the median price of a new home rose to $290,400; the average price was $358,900. In recent years, both new home sales and construction have shown great improvement. Much of that improvement has taken place at the higher end of the market, however, raising the price of a typical new home. An increase in the number of new homes built at affordable prices would be good news for the overall market, as it would help relieve upward pressure on prices while providing home buyers with more choices. More here.

Existing Home Sales Hit 9-Year High

New estimates from the National Association of Realtors show home sales at their highest annual pace since February 2007. In fact, sales of previously owned homes increased 1.8 percent in May, marking the third consecutive monthly sales gain. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says most of the sales activity is from repeat buyers. “This spring’s sustained period of ultra-low mortgage rates has certainly been a worthy incentive to buy a home, but the primary driver in the increase in sales is more homeowners realizing the equity they’ve accumulated in recent years and finally deciding to trade-up or downsize,” Yun said. “With first-time buyers still struggling to enter the market, repeat buyers using the proceeds from the sale of their previous home as their down payment are making up the bulk of home purchases right now.” Regional results show sales up in the South, West, and Northeast. The Midwest, on the other hand, saw a 6.5 percent decline – though sales remain 3.2 percent above last year’s level. Also in the report, the number of homes available for sale rose in May. At the current sales pace, unsold inventory represents a 4.7-month supply. Typically, a six month supply is considered a healthy market. More here.

Mortgage Rates At Lowest Level In 3 Years

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates fell to their lowest level in three years last week. In fact, rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances dropped to levels last seen in May 2013. Rates for jumbo loan balances were also down, falling lower than they’ve been since January 2011. Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research, says mortgage rates declined due to concerns about events in Europe. “Rates fell on concerns that Britain may vote to leave the European Union later this week. Although beliefs about the likelihood of an exit have since moderated, the ‘Brexit’ vote promises to bring continued volatility to markets,” Fisher told CNBC. Because of the rate drop, refinance activity – which is more sensitive to rate fluctuations – rose 7 percent from the previous week. Purchase demand, on the other hand, slipped 2 percent from one week earlier. Still, overall demand for mortgage applications is now 35 percent higher than it was at the same time last year. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.

Are First-Time Home Buyers Ready To Buy?

Results from a recent survey conducted by Genworth Mortgage Insurance at the 2016 Mortgage Bankers Association Secondary Conference in New York found that the vast majority of mortgage professionals are expecting the number of first-time home buyers to grow in the near future. In fact, nearly 80 percent said the share of first timers active in the market will either continue at current levels or increase by at least three percentage points. That would be an encouraging sign for the housing market, as the percentage of first-time buyers has lagged in recent years. However, with affordability conditions still favorable in many markets and an increasing number of millennials reaching average home-buying age, industry insiders expect to see climbing demand among younger Americans. Rohit Gupta, Genworth’s president and CEO, said the mortgage industry has to be prepared to support these buyers. “To support this demand, we must stay true to the great strides we have made in improving underwriting quality, making private capital available, and expanding the availability of prudent and affordable low down payment mortgages,” Gupta said. “Under these circumstances, it is important that all industry participants continue to work to ensure we have an accessible, efficient, and innovative environment for new mortgage originations.” More here.

Housing Market Improves Despite Jobs Dip

An improving job market has been one of the many positive economic trends credited with helping lift the housing market over the past few years. Analysts believed real estate would overcome periods of volatility and continue to show long-term improvement based on the fact that more Americans were finding work and reporting higher incomes. In May, however, a weaker-than-expected jobs report made news at a time when the housing market was beginning to pick up. So should you expect a downturn if employment begins to weaken? According to Fannie Mae’s monthly forecast from their Economic & Strategic Research Group, not necessarily. In fact,the group didn’t adjust their forecast for economic growth this year and Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, says the housing market is getting stronger. “Housing activity is gaining strength heading into the summer, with pending home sales rising to a decade high. In addition, new home sales surged to an expansion best, a positive for single-family homebuilding, especially since only a small share of new homes for sale are completed and ready to occupy,” Duncan said. “However, recent pullbacks in construction hiring, likely due to a shortage of skilled workers, could weigh on the outlook for the sector. With little improvement in the current housing supply so far, we expect only moderate housing expansion this year.” Duncan also said that, though the Fed decided not to raise interest rates at their latest meeting, he expects they will likely raise rates again at some point this year. More here.

New Residential Construction Flat In May

Housing starts refer to the number of homes that broke ground during the month. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development track starts – along with building permits and housing completions – as part of their monthly New Residential Construction report. According to the most recent release, privately-owned housing starts were virtually unchanged in May from one month earlier. However, regional results show the number of single-family homes that broke ground in the South, West, and Northeast actually increased over the month before. In fact, home construction spiked 12.7 percent in the Northeast alone. But overall results suffered, despite solid gains elsewhere, due to a nearly 15 percent drop in the Midwest. Still, analysts point to the fact that authorized building permits increased and home builders are feeling more confident as evidence that, despite not gaining ground in May, residential construction is still poised for continued gains. And a closer look at the numbers reveals that both housing starts and building permits are, in fact, about 10 percent higher than they were last year. New residential construction is an important indicator for the housing market because, as more new homes are built, the total number of homes available for sale increases which helps moderate prices, balance the market, and provide more choices for buyers. More here.

Refinancing Is Easy

mortgage rates

Refinancing Your Mortgage.  Although home refinancing is an in-depth process, it is actually much less difficult than one might think. Many people who are looking for a mortgage refinance are doing so in the throes of an emergency; however, the best way to conduct this kind of transaction is with a calm mind and an eye to the future.

     First of all, to get the right mortgage refinance, get the right help on your side.  Although there are many resources available to the public about home refinancing, this is still the realm of professionals. It is very possible for an individual to do the research necessary to do all the calculations that are necessary to get the best deals; however, this is a time-consuming process that tends to must sacrifice of other activities to do correctly.  Make sure that you have a reputable financial professional on your side before you begin going into banks and other underwriters looking for a refinance package.

refinance today

     Second, do not let yourself be caught unawares of the many pitfalls of taking on a home mortgage.  The first step in this article is to get the help on your side. However, under no circumstances should you go into the process with your eyes closed incomplete trust of anyone. You must first understand your personal situation and the goals that you are looking to reach before you can help your professional help find the strategies and tactics to use.

     The napkin calculations that have to do with interest rates and monthly themes should be conducted on a personal level before going any outside help. There are many free resources on the Internet that will help you to conduct these calculations quickly. These figures can then be used to vet the professionals that will be helping you on your journey.

Pending Home Sales Soar To 10-Year High

The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index measures the number of contracts to buy homes that are signed in any given month. The index is considered a good predictor of future home sales because it tracks signings not closings, which take place roughly a month later. In April, pending sales were up 5.1 percent and reached their highest level since February of 2006. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said demand has exceeded expectations so far this spring. “The ability to sign a contract on a home is slightly exceeding expectations this spring even with the affordability stresses and inventory squeezes affecting buyers in a number of markets,” Yun said. “The building momentum from the over 14 million jobs created since 2010 and the prospect of facing higher rents and mortgage rates down the road appear to be bringing more interested buyers into the market.” Markets in the South and West were particularly strong in April, with both seeing double-digit increases over the month before. Overall, the number of signed contracts to buy homes was 4.6 percent higher than it was at the same time last year. More here.

Demand For Home Purchase Loans Rises

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, the number of Americans who requested applications for loans to buy homes rose 5 percent last week. The improvement puts demand for home purchase loans 17 percent higher than it was at the same time one year ago. Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, told CNBC purchase application demand rebounded last week after a slight lull. “Purchase applications got back on track last week, resuming the level of activity observed throughout most of April and May,” Fisher said. On the other hand, refinance demand was relatively flat – mostly due to a slight rise in average mortgage rates. In fact, rates were up across all loan categories, including 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate loans. Also in the report, the average home purchase loan hit an all-time survey high of $307,700. This reflects a lack of homes available for sale at the lower end of the market. Since there are more high-end homes for sale this spring, the average loan size has climbed. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.

New Home Sales Post Biggest Gain Since ’92

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 16.6 percent in April, according to new estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The gain was the largest month-over-month increase since 1992 and puts new home sales nearly 24 percent higher than they were last year at this time. Combined with rising housing starts, building permits, and sales of previously owned homes, the improvement is another sign that the housing market and economy are gaining strength. And, though economists expected new home sales to increase in April, the actual numbers far exceeded their predictions. In fact, economists polled by Reuters forecast sales rising to a 523,000 unit-rate, while the official estimate came in at 619,000. Regionally, the South, West, and Northeast saw dramatic double-digit increases over the previous month. The Midwest, on the other hand, experienced a 4.8 percent drop in sales. The report also included news that the median price for a new home set a new record at $321,100, up 9.7 percent from last year. More here.