Existing-Home Sales Reach Decade High

Existing-home sales in January reached their fastest pace in nearly a decade, with all major regions except the Midwest posting gains last month, the National Association of REALTORS® reports.

Total existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—rose 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million in January. That’s 3.8 percent higher than a year ago and marks the strongest month since February 2007, according to the NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

The REALTORS® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score, a new measurement of homebuying activity created by NAR and realtor.com®, revealed that the combination of higher mortgage rates and home prices made active listings less affordable for households in more than half of all states last month.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

 

Mortgage Rates: Is It a ‘Year Full of Surprises’?

Interesting thought of the week with this real estate opinion:  “For the last 46 years, the 30-year mortgage rate has been almost perfectly correlated with the yield on the 10-year Treasury, but not this year,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “From Dec. 29, 2016, through today, the 30-year mortgage rate fell 17 basis points to this week’s reading of 4.15 percent. In contrast, the 10-year Treasury yield began and ended the same period at 2.49 percent. While we expect mortgage rates to fall into line with Treasury yields shortly, this just may be a year full of surprises.”

Freddie Mac reported the following national averages for the week ending Feb. 16:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.15 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 4.17 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.65 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.35 percent, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.39 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.95 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Study: January, February ‘Great for Buying’

For home buyers hoping to snag a deal, they may want to make a move now. Home prices in January usually decrease compared to the spring and summer buying season.

There’s plenty of research to back that up too. NerdWallet recently crunched two years of realtor.com® data that reflected the 50 largest U.S. metros. Researchers found that January and February were the top months for those looking to get a bargain. In those months, home sales prices were 8.45 percent lower on average than in June through August.

“You basically face almost half of the competition with almost the same amount of inventory in the market,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. Plus, buyers likely will face fewer homes with multiple bidders.

“As we look toward spring and later in 2017, [mortgage rates are] another reason to buy in January and February,” Smoke says. “Because rates are expected to be about 50 basis points, or half a percent, more as the year goes on.”

Source: “Why January Is the Best Time to Buy a Home” NerdWallet (Jan. 13, 2017)

80% of Housing Markets Are Getting Better

The majority of the top 100 housing markets nationwide are improving compared to their historic benchmark range of housing activity, according to Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index.

The index measures the stability of the housing market by reflecting how single-family housing markets are performing to their long-term stable range based on home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios (changes in home purchasing power based on home prices, mortgage rates, and household income), proportion of on-time mortgage payments, and local employment.

“The purchase applications indicator is up nearly 20 percent from last year and is reflected in the recent better-than-expected existing and new home sales purchase data,” says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist.

Source: Freddie Mac

Survey: Higher Rates Don’t Scare Buyers

Despite mortgage rates reaching a two-year high last week, home buyers say the increases aren’t scaring them away from their real estate search, according to a new Redfin survey. Only 2.6 percent of respondents say they have decided to postpone their search since rates rose above 4 percent.

Twenty-five percent of respondents say the rise in rates does not impact their homebuying decisions, and about 24 percent say they feel a greater sense of urgency to buy before rates go up further. However, 23 percent say the rate increases may prompt them to look in other areas or  buy a smaller home. About 26 percent of buyers say they might take more time with their search and see if rates go back down again.

Source: “Rising Mortgage Rates: Homebuyers Are More Resilient Than You Might Think,” Redfin Blog (Dec. 20, 2016)

First-Time Home Buyers Aren’t Backing Down!

Higher mortgage rates and home prices aren’t deterring first-time buyers yet. Those new to the home-purchase game comprised 32 percent of the market in November, up from a 30 percent share a year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report.

Overall, this has been a good year for this segment of the population. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, released in November, showed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent in 2016, which is the highest since 2013 (38 percent).

“There are fewer available homes during the winter months but also fewer buyers,” suggests NAR President William E. Brown. “With mortgage rates and prices expected to increase as the year goes on, the first few months of 2017 could be an opportune time close on a home.” 
So we suggest let us start your home search now, plus the loan options ASAP!

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Home Loan Interest Rates Climb to 2016 High

Fixed-rate mortgages were once again on the way up this week, marking the sixth consecutive month for increases. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the most popular option among home buyers, reached a new high for the year.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Dec. 8:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.13 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 4.08 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.95 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.36 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 3.34 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.19 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Mortgage Rates at Highest Averages of 2016

As we expected, for the fifth consecutive week, average fixed mortgage rates edged higher. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is now averaging above 4 percent.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Dec. 1:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.08 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 4.03 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.93 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.34 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 3.25 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.16 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Home Loan Interest Rates Are Moving on Up

“This is the first week since June that mortgage rates were above 3.48 percent, snapping an 11-week trend,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Sept. 15:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.50 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.44 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.91 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.77 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 2.76 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.11 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Buyers Prove Sensitive to Mortgage Rates

Even the slightest fluctuations in mortgage rates are having a big impact on application volume. Total mortgage applications, including for refinancings and home purchases, dropped 2.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week as rates rose slightly, the Mortgage Bankers Association report.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage bumped up to 3.67 percent last week from a 3.64 percent average the previous week, MBA reports. Applications for refinancings dropped 3 percent last week. Still, refinancings are nearly 45 percent higher than the same week a year ago.

Applications for home purchases dropped slightly by 0.3 percent last week and are 7.7 percent higher than a year ago, MBA reports. However, applications for purchases are now at a six-month low.

Source: “Weekly Mortgage Applications Drop 2.1% as Rates Edge Higher,” CNBC (Aug. 24, 2016)