House Hunts Are Lasting Longer

Buyers are spending significant time trying to find the perfect home. Fifty-four percent of active buyers say they’ve been trying to find the right home for three months or longer, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Trends Report poll.

Buyers say the biggest delays that are stretching out their home search is they can’t find a home at an affordable price (49%), followed by not being able to find a home with the desired features they want (40%) or in their ideal neighborhood (38%).

Source: “Active Home Buyers Are Spending Significant Amounts of Time Looking for the Right Home,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog 12/4/18

Home Loan Interest Rates Inch Up

Mortgage rates rose slightly for the second consecutive week, and economists warn that more rises are likely to come. Mortgage rates are now up three-quarters of a percentage point from last year.

“Borrowing costs may be slowly on the rise again in coming weeks, as investors remain optimistic about the underlying strength of the economy,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. Home prices have been rising too—although at a slower pace recently—but are still “outrunning rising inflation and incomes,” Khater notes. “The weakening in affordability is hindering many interested buyers this fall, even as the robust economy brings them into the market.”

Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending Sept. 6:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.54 percent, with an average 0.5 point for the week, increasing from last week’s 4.52 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.78 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.99 percent, with an average 0.4 point, increasing from last week’s 3.97 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.08 percent.
Source: Freddie Mac

Home Loan Interest Rates Push Above 4%

Average mortgage rates are moving up, posting increases for the second consecutive week.

“After fully absorbing the sharp increases in Treasury yields over the past couple of weeks, the 30-year mortgage rate has cleared the psychologically important 4 percent mark for the first time since May,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending July 13:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.03 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 3.96 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.42 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.29 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 3.22 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.72 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

‘Mortgage Rates Surprise’ They Near 2017 Low!

tThe 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped lower for the third consecutive week and neared its low for 2017, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

“After three straight weeks of declines, the 30-year mortgage rate is now barely above the 2017 low. Next week’s survey rate may be determined by Friday’s employment report and whether or not it can sustain the strength from earlier this year.” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Freddie Mac reported the following national averages for the week ending April 6, 2017:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.10 percent, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 4.14 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.59 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.36 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.39 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.88 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Instagram Debuts ‘New Stories Feature’

Instagram is starting to look a lot more like its competitor Snapchat. The popular photo-sharing app just debuted its Instagram Stories feature, where users can post photos and videos.

Instagram’s Stories feature is already available in its own section on the photo-sharing app, giving users the ability to draw and add text over photos and combine multiple photos into a narrative story that can be seen by their followers for up to 24 hours before it disappears.

Stories also sets out to make sharing on the photo app a bit more casual and personal. “Our mission has always been to capture and share the world’s moments, not just the world’s most beautiful moments,” says Kevin Systrom, co-founder and chief executive of Instagram. “Stories will alleviate a ton of the pressure people have to post their absolute best stuff.”

Source: “Instagram Takes a Page From Snapchat, and Takes Aim at It, Too,” The New York Times (Aug. 2, 2016)

Latest Home Trend Uses Garage Doors

Garage doors are not just for hiding your cars any longer. A growing trend has designers and architects installing garage doors in other places of a home.

The doors are serving as retractable room dividers that separate kitchens from patios, for example. Also, they’re being used on exterior walls. With a press of a remote-control button, home owners can then open up the home’s interior to the outdoors.

The trend is nothing new for beach homes, which for years have been using garage doors to open up homes. But garage-door makers say they’re seeing more demand for garage doors — other than just for the garage — across the country. Vickie Lents with Entrematic, garage-door maker has seen demand for glass garage doors, for example, skyrocket by 75 percent in the past three years.

Garage doors are being made more insulated and with low-e glass and frosted panels to help maintain temperatures.

Source: “Garage-Door Styles That Work Indoors,” The Wall Street Journal (March 29, 2016)

91% of Properties Now Have Equity

About 759,000 properties regained equity in the second quarter, bringing the total number of residential mortgages that are lower than their property’s value to about 45.9 million. That equates to about 91 percent of all mortgaged properties. Borrower equity has risen year-over-year by $691 billion, according to CoreLogic’s recent equity report.

“For much of the country, the negative equity epidemic is lifting,” says Anand Nallathambi, CoreLogic’s CEO and president. “The biggest reason for this improvement has been the relentless rise in home prices over the past three years which reflects increasing money flows into housing and a lack of housing stock in many markets.”

CoreLogic predicts home prices to rise an additional 4.7 percent over the next year, if that prediction holds true, 800,000 home owners could regain positive equity by July 2016.

Source: CoreLogic

Mortgages Rates Tick Up Slightly This Week

Borrowing costs inched up moderately on fixed-rate mortgages, but still remain lower than last year’s averages, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

Freddie Mac reported the following national averages for the week ending Aug. 7:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.14 percent, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week’s 4.12 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.40 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.27 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 3.23 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.43 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.98 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.01 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.19 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Lending Stalling the Housing Recovery?

Tight mortgage lending standards are still plaguing the housing recovery, says Stuart Miller, CEO of homebuilder Lennar.

Housing starts are averaging about a million per year right now, still well off from the 1.5 million that is considered more normal for the economy. In 2009, housing starts fell below 500,000 but have been gradually increasing since.

Lennar, one of the nation’s largest builders, is predicting a gradual recovery that will likely stretch over the next three to five years.

“The mortgage market is not enabling demand to form at normalized levels,” Miller tells CNBC. He notes that there has been insufficient growth in the number of households as the Millennial generation doubles up and lives at home with their parents.

“We’ve been under-producing what’s needed for a growing population and for what should be normalized household formation,” Miller says.

Source: “Housing is still 30% below normal: Lennar CEO,” CNBC (June 4, 2014)

Immigrants to Help Shape Future Housing Demand

Home ownership and rental demand may both get an uptick as a large number of immigrants are expected to enter the United States and call it home by 2020, according to Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America study.

The number of foreign-born home owners will continues to grow each decade, according to the report. For example, the number of foreign-born home owners rose 800,000 from 1980 to 1990; by 2.1 million from 1990 to 2000; then by 2.4 million from 2000 to 2010.

The home ownership rate has particularly grown among the Hispanic immigrant population. In 1990, Hispanic immigrants had a 15 percent home ownership rate, which grew to nearly 53 percent in 2010. By 2020, Hispanics’ home ownership rate is expected to rise above 61 percent, according to researchers. California will be a top demand state!

The study makes projections to the year 2020 on the growth of U.S. home owner households headed by immigrants. Please review and provide your comments.

More at source: “Housing demand to grow as new immigrants arrive,” HousingWire (March 5, 2013)