Monthly Archives January 2014

December Weather Affects Pending Home Sales in Many Areas of the Country

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The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index is a forward-looking indicator that tracks contract signings, not closings. The index, which is released monthly, is a predictor of future existing-home sales.

In December, the index fell 8.7 percent from November’s downwardly revised total. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said unusually disruptive weather across large stretches of the country forced people indoors and prevented some buyers from looking at homes and making offers. According to Yun, rising home prices and lack of for-sale inventory are also to blame for the poor sales performance in December. Still, existing-home sales are expected to be at about the same level this year as last year, despite the fact that inventory is limited in much of the country...

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Upward Price Trend for Homes Continues Into Winter

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Though prices  usually weaken at the end of the year, the most recent S&P/Case-Shiller Home  Price Indices show year-over-year increases of nearly 14 percent in both the 10-city and 20-city Composites through the end of November 2013.

The gains  continue the upward trend of year-over-year improvement that began in June 2012.  David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices,  said home prices continue to rise despite last May’s jump in mortgage rates.  According to Blitzer, mortgage applications for purchase were up in recent weeks  which validates home builders’ optimism as seen in the most recent survey from  the National Association of Home Builders...

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Taos Real Estate Headed in the Right Direction

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Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Taos Real Estate Market Outlook for January finds four of the key housing indicators moving in the right direction to begin the year.

The unemployment rate, though still high at 6.7 percent, is vastly improved and should continue its gradual path to a more consistent and historically normal level. Mortgage delinquencies have also shown great improvement, having been nearly cut in half since their peak. Finally, both affordability levels and home sales continue to trend in the right direction, with the average mortgage payment remaining very affordable in most markets – suggesting there’s still room for more recovery in home prices.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said the housing recovery continues on a steady pace...

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Housing Starts Finish 2013 with a Six-Year High

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New  residential construction ended 2013 at the highest level in six years, according  to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban  Development.

An estimated 923,400 housing units were started last year, which is  18.3 percent above year-before levels and the best total since 2007. That year,  housing starts came in at 1.4 million. Still, despite a strong finish  year-over-year, monthly figures fell in December. Privately-owned housing starts  dropped 9.8 percent, after surging to the highest pace of the year the month  before. But, though starts fell nearly 10 percent, December’s estimate was still  the third best month of 2013. Also in the report, building permits were down 3  percent from the previous month...

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Mortgage Rate Drop Spurs Demand

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According to  the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, total mortgage  loan application volume increased 11.9 percent last week due to a significant  drop in the average mortgage rate.

The Refinance Index was up 11 percent and the  seasonally adjusted Purchase Index rose 12 percent. The previous week’s results  included an adjustment for the New Year’s. Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s chief  economist, said the drop in rates triggered a pickup in refinance volume, while  the change in purchase activity most likely reflects an increase following the  holiday season. Still, the gain in purchase demand was more than anticipated and  may indicate a strong selling season this coming spring and summer. The MBA’s  survey covers more than 75 percent of all U.S...

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Smaller Metros Leading the Housing Recovery

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Nationwide,  housing and economic activity is 86 percent back to normal, based on current  permits, prices, and employment data.

In fact, more than 35 percent of all  markets tracked by The National Association of Home Builders Leading Market  Index are operating at 90 percent or better of their previous normal. The index  tracks 350 metro areas across the country and identifies those that are now  approaching or exceeding their previous norms. According to the most recent  release, 56 out of those 350 have returned to or surpassed their normal levels  of economic and housing activity. And nearly half of the improved markets are  areas with populations less than 500,000...

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Housing Barometer Tracks Market Recovery

Trulia’s  Housing Barometer has been tracking the housing market’s recovery since February  2012.

The Barometer measures how quickly the market has been returning to normal  by comparing existing-home sales, prices, delinquency and foreclosure rates, new  home starts, and the employment rate for 25-34 year-olds against their  pre-bubble normal and their lowest reading during the housing crisis. The most  recent release shows that three of the five indicators have improved  significantly over the past year and are now close to normal. Existing-home  sales, for example, are 79 percent back to normal, up from 51 percent a year  earlier. Prices also have recovered dramatically from a year ago and are now 71  percent back to normal...

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Mortgage Rates Hold Steady, Demand Rises

According to  the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, the average  contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was unchanged last week  from the week before.

Mortgage rates held steady for loans with both conforming  and jumbo balances, while 15-year rates increased. Demand for loan applications,  on the other hand, was up – rising 2.6 percent from the previous week. The  Refinance Index spiked 5 percent – after falling 9 percent a week earlier – and  the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index fell 1 percent. The results were adjusted  to account for the New Year’s Day holiday. Also in the report, the refinance  share of total mortgage activity remained at 63 percent from the week before...

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Housing Market Improving Nationally

The number of Americans who have a positive perception of the  current housing market has improved significantly from a year earlier, according  to Fannie Mae’s December National Housing Survey. The year-over-year gains  reflect an increasingly strong recovery, despite a dip in sentiment during the  fall.

For example, the percentage of respondents who feel it’s a good time to  sell a house rose from 21 percent to 33 percent over the last year. The  percentage of participants who said they felt it would be easy to obtain a home  mortgage also increased over the past 12 months, from 45 percent last year to 50  percent in the most recent survey...

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Taos Real Estate Trends Point to Healthy Housing Market in 2014

In 2013, Taos Real Estate  prices and buyer demand both spiked as the housing recovery took hold in markets  across the country. Double-digit increases in home values brought prices to a  level last seen in 2004. But, according to Zillow’s November Real Estate Market  Report, annual and monthly price trends indicate the robust recovery seen  throughout 2013 is beginning to slow to more sustainable levels.

The slowing  price growth is partly driven by decreasing negative equity rates. As homeowners  recoup value lost during the recent recession, more of those homes are put up  for sale which increases inventory levels and normalizes price gains...

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