Average rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 3.62%

February 26, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) – Feb. 25, 2016 – Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week as anxiety over the global economy persisted. Long-term rates resumed their decline after being unchanged last week following six straight weeks of easing.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 3.62 percent from 3.65 percent last week. That puts it well below the 3.80 percent it marked a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages declined to 2.93 percent from 2.95 percent last week.


Fla. housing market enters ‘outer range of stable’

February 25, 2016

WASHINGTON – Feb. 24, 2016 – Freddie Mac’s monthly Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) finds that two states – Florida and Arizona – have entered their outer range of stable housing activity.

MiMi attempts to judge housing market fundamentals – the “sweet spot” for balance – calling those markets “in range.” To come up with a MiMi score, Freddie Mac says it “draws from multiple data sources, including our daily business with more than 2,000 mortgage lenders” and local market data.

According to the latest December 2015 MiMi score, Florida’s index hit 80.1. Freddie considers a score between 80 and 120 to be “in range.” It finds Florida “in range and improving” with a score that rose 1.39 percent over the previous month and 3.62 percent over the previous three months.

On a year-over-year basis, Freddie Mac found Florida to be the most improving state, with a MiMi score increase of 16.59 percent. Compared to Florida’s score during the depth of the recession (October 2010), the MiMi score today is 98.8 percent higher.

On the metro level, several Florida cities have improved greatly, with Orlando making the MiMi list for most improved metro area both month-to-month and year-to-year.

Kiefer calls a solid increase in purchase applications one positive sign, with “borrowers being current on their mortgage” a second positive trend. And “what’s really anchoring this recovering housing market is the improving employment picture, which is giving more people the confidence to purchase a home, including first-time homebuyers,” he adds.

 


Pending Home Sales Tick Up in December

February 19, 2016

WASHINGTON (January 28, 2016) — Pending home sales were mostly unchanged in December, but inched forward slightly, fueled by a large increase in the Northeast that outpaced declines in the other three major regions, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, crawled 0.1 percent to 106.8 in December from a downwardly revised 106.7 in November and is now 4.2 percent above December 2014 (102.5). The index has increased year-over-year for 16 consecutive months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says contract activity closed out the year on stable footing but lost some momentum, except for in the Northeast. “Warmer than average weather and more favorable inventory conditions compared to other parts of the country encouraged more households in the Northeast to make the decision to buy last month,” he said. “Overall, while sustained job creation is spurring more activity compared to a year ago, the ability to find available homes in affordable price ranges is difficult for buyers in many job creating areas. With homebuilding still grossly inadequate, steady price appreciation and tight supply conditions aren’t going away any time soon.”

According to Yun, although healthy labor market conditions will persuade more households to buy, it’s possible overall demand could be somewhat curtailed in coming months. The stock market’s sizeable losses since the start of the year and the effect slowing manufacturing activity is having in some areas — especially in the energy sector — could cause some to hold off on buying.

“The silver lining from the market turmoil in recent weeks is the fact that mortgage rates have slightly declined,” says Yun. “Buyers looking to close on a home before the spring buying season begins may be rewarded with a mortgage rate at or below 4 percent.”

Existing-homes sales this year are forecast to be around 5.34 million, an increase of 1.5 percent from 2015. The national median existing-home price for all of this year is expected to increase between 4 and 5 percent. In 2015, existing-home sales increased 6.5 percent and prices rose 6.8 percent.

Rents — which have far outpaced wages in recent years — are expected to slightly slow to 3.3 percent growth in 2016 from 3.6 percent a year ago. Multifamily housing starts are expected to reach 420,000 units this year, the highest level since 1987.

The PHSI in the Northeast increased 6.1 percent to 97.8 in December, and is now 15.3 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index decreased 1.1 percent to 103.6 in December, but is still 3.6 percent above December 2014.

Pending home sales in the South declined 0.5 percent to an index of 119.3 in December but are 1.0 percent higher than last December. The index in the West decreased 2.1 percent in December to 97.5, but remains 3.4 percent above a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: Fourth quarter of 2015 metropolitan area home prices will be released February 10, Existing-Home Sales for January will be reported February 23, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be February 29; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.


Forbes lists top investment cities – 7 are in Fla.

February 5, 2016

NEW YORK – Feb. 3, 2016 – Where should real estate investors put their money in 2016? Forbes teamed up with North Carolina-based data company Local Market Monitor to produce its list of 2016 Best Buy Cities – the top 20 housing markets to invest in this year – and Florida dominates the list.

According to Forbes, Florida offers good values “where investors get the best bang for their housing buck, and where aspiring homeowners have the best prospects of making an economically sound purchase.”

Orlando took second place and was followed by six other Sunshine State cities. Among them, average home prices are highest in West Palm Beach (No. 19) at $285,000 and lowest in Tampa (No. 14) at $193,000. The averages, though, have been accelerating at a rate of 9 percent to 14 percent in all the Florida cities.

Florida’s domination of the list makes a lot of sense in light of the national economic recovery, says Ingo Winzer, founder and president of Local Market Monitor. “Since the national economy has stabilized and is growing again, the factors that prompt people to go to Florida have recovered,” he reasons.

“Best-buy” markets for 2016 housing

1. Grand Rapids

2. Orlando, Florida

3. San Antonio, Texas

4. Charlotte, North Carolina

5. Salt Lake City

6. Dallas

7. Austin, Texas

8. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

9. Seattle

10. Cape Coral, Florida

11. Indianapolis

12. North Port, Florida

13. Nashville, Tennessee

14. Tampa, Florida

15. Charleston, South Carolina

16. Denver, Colorado

17. Madison, Wisconsin

18. Jacksonville, Florida

19. West Palm Beach, Florida

20. Boise, Idaho

Forbes’ full list is also posted online.

Source: Forbes (01/27/16) Carlyle, Erin

© Copyright 2016 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD