New home sales unexpectedly rise | Mt Kisco Real Estate


– New U.S. single-family home sales unexpectedly rose in September, pointing to sustained demand for housing even as data for August was revised sharply down.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday new home sales increased 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000 units last month, pulling them close to a nine-year high touched in July.

August’s sales pace was revised down to 575,000 units from the previously reported 609,000 units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast single-family home sales, which account for about 9.8 percent of overall home sales, falling to a rate of 600,000 units last month.

New home sales, which are derived from building permits, are volatile on a month-to-month basis and subject to large revisions.

Sales increased 29.8 percent from a year ago. They rose in the third quarter compared to the April-June period, indicating strong demand for housing.

Residential construction, however, likely remained a drag on gross domestic product in the third quarter.

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First-Time Buyers Step Up | South Salem Real Estate


 

Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased 3.2% in September and were up 0.6% from the same month a year ago, as first-time buyers seized a 34% share of sales. Total existing home sales in September increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.47 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, up from a downwardly adjusted 5.30 million units in August.

existing-home-sales-september-2016

September existing sales increased in all four regions, ranging from 5.7% in the Northeast to 0.9% in the South. Sales increased by 5.0% in the West in September, despite a 5.3% decrease in the August PHSI for that region. Year-over-year, September sales increased by 2.3% in the Midwest and 1.6% in the West, while falling 0.9% in the South. The Northeast remained unchanged year-over-year for September.

Total housing inventory increased by 1.5% in September, but remains 6.8% lower than its level a year ago. At the current sales rate, the September unsold inventory represents a 4.5-month supply, compared to a 4.6-month supply in August.

The August all-cash sales share was 21%, down from 22% in August and 24% during the same month a year ago. Individual investors purchased a 14% share in September, up from 13% in August and a year ago. The September first-time home buyer share of 34% was up from 31% in August, and 29% from the same month a year ago. Distressed sales, comprised of foreclosures and short sales, fell to 4%, the lowest rate since NAR launched that series in 2008.

The September median sales price of $234,200 was 5.6% above the same month a year ago, and represents the 55th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median condominium/co-op price of $222,100 in September was up 6.1% from the same month a year ago.

 

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http://www.robertpaulsells.com

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Relief from soaring home prices isn’t coming anytime soon | Bedford Real Estate


 

The US housing market is supply constrained, sending home prices in major US metros back to levels last seen in the winter of 2007.

Research out of JP Morgan published Thursday indicates that this situation appears unlikely to resolve itself anytime soon.

“Nationwide house price indexes have been pushing steadily higher—real house prices are now 25% above their 2012 trough and at the highest levels on record outside the pre-crisis boom years,” JP Morgan’s Jesse Edgerton writes.

“One might wonder if these high prices reflect growing demand that could soon elicit a wave of construction that would prove our forecasts wrong. We find, however, that high prices are concentrated in markets where supply is constrained by geography or regulation, suggesting there may be little room for additional construction.” (Emphasis added.)

In short, areas seeing home prices rise fastest — think San Francisco, San Jose, and Denver — are not in a position to meet the demand for housing implied by the rise in prices.

The problem here is two-fold.

As the chart below shows, high home prices haven’t influenced the aggressiveness with which homebuilders have added to the housing stock over time. This indicates the supply side of the market is content to accept elevated prices even if the volume of homes built and sold is below what the demand side alone might dictate.

View photos

Additionally, Edgerton’s work shows that markets equipped with both high home prices and an ability to meet the demand implied by these prices literally do not exist.

“Metro areas in the upper right quadrant of the chart would be the best candidates for a demand-driven construction boom,” Edgerton writes. “Unfortunately, sharp-eyed readers will note that there are no dots in the upper-right portion of the figure.”

View photos

Edgerton adds, “Thus, it is unclear how much we can expect high prices to drive construction in the coming years, as the data show that high prices are concentrated in areas where supply may be limited in its ability to respond to demand.”

http://www.robertpaulsells.com/bedford/relief-from-soaring-home-prices-isnt-coming-anytime-soon-bedford-real-estate/

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More First-timers Than Expected Are Now Buying Homes | Katonah Real Estate


 

First-time buyers may be entering the U.S. home market in greater numbers than industry watchers had assumed.

Nearly half of sales in the past year went to people who were buying their first home, according to a survey released Tuesday by the real estate firm Zillow. That’s a much higher proportion of the market than some other industry estimates had indicated.

Zillow’s survey results suggest that this year’s growth in home sales has come largely from a wave of couples in their 30s, who are the most common first-time buyers. If that trend were to hold, it could raise hopes that today’s vast generation of 18-to-34-year-old millennials will help support the housing market as more of them move into their 30s.

That’s among the findings in a 168-page report by Seattle-based Zillow. Its survey also found that home ownership is increasingly the domain of the college-educated. And it indicated that older Americans who are seeking to downsize are paying premiums for smaller houses.

Here’s a breakdown of Zillow’s findings:

— First-time buyers make up a larger chunk of the housing market than the real estate industry has generally thought. Forty-seven percent of purchases in the past year went to first-time buyers. Their median age was 33. By contrast, surveys from the National Association of Realtors have indicated that first-timers account for only about 30 percent of all buyers.

The difference between the two surveys may stem from their methodologies. The NAR has used a mail-based survey for its annual figures, while Zillow used an online survey that might have generated more responses from younger buyers.

— No college? Dwindling chance of homeownership

It’s become harder to realize the dream of home ownership without a college degree. Sixty-two percent of buyers have at least a four-year college degree. Census figures show that just 33 percent of the U.S. adults graduated from college. The gap between the education levels of homebuyers and the broader U.S. population indicates that workers with only a high school degree are becoming less likely to own a home.

This is a major shift for the middle class. Just 12 percent of homeowners in 1986 were college graduates, according to government figures. The trend is driven in part by falling incomes for people with only a high school degree.

— Millennial home buyers are increasingly Hispanic

Out of the 74 million U.S. households that own their homes, a sizable majority — 77 percent — are white. But these demographics are changing fast. Only 66 percent of millennial homeowners are white. The big gains have come from Latinos, who make up 17 percent of millennial homeowners but just 9 percent of all homeowners.

Asians also make up a greater share of millennials. This means that as today’s millennial generation ages, the housing market may look considerably more diverse than it does now.

— Older Americans aren’t just downsizing; they’re also upgrading.

The so-called “silent generation” — those ages 65 to 75— bought homes in the past year with a median size of just 1,800 square feet, about 220 square feet smaller than the homes they sold. But that smaller new home still cost more. These retirement-age buyers paid a median of $250,000, nearly $30,000 more than the home they sold. In some cases, the higher purchase price likely reflects the profits from the sale of their previous home, in other cases a desire by upscale buyers for luxury finishes and amenities.

— Starter homes are no longer popular.

When millennials buy, they’re leapfrogging past the traditional, smaller starter home. This younger generation paid a median of $217,000 for a 1,800-square-foot house. That median is nearly identical to what older generations buy.

 

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http://www.newsmax.com/Personal-Finance/zillow-housing-survey-homes-buyers/2016/10/18/id/753992/

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U.S. mortgage application activity falls to five-month low | Bedford Hills Real Estate


A measure of U.S. mortgage application activity decreased for a second week to a five-month low as 30-year mortgage rates rose to their highest since June, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released on Wednesday showed.

The Washington-based industry group’s mortgage market index fell 1.2 percent to 486.2 in the week ended Oct. 28, which was the lowest level since the week of May 27.

Interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, which are the most widely held type of U.S. home loans, averaged 3.75 percent in the latest week, matching the level last seen in June, MBA said.

Mortgage rates increased with higher U.S. Treasury yields with 10-year yields hitting their highest levels in about five month last week. US10YT=RR

U.S. bond yields climbed on speculation about whether overseas central banks may refrain from injecting more monetary stimulus to help their economies.

The group’s seasonally adjusted index on weekly applications to buy a home edged down 0.4 percent to 207.0 last week, which was the lowest since January.

The purchase activity gauge is seen as a proxy on home sales.

MBA’s weekly barometer on refinancing requests declined by 1.6 percent to 2,088.0, which was the weakest since June

 

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http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mortgages-idUSKBN12X1I0?il=0

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Housing #affordability at the worst level in seven years | South Salem Real Estate


Home affordability is at the worst level in seven years, with 24% of the U.S. county housing markets less affordable than their historic affordability averages in the third quarter, the most recent ATTOM Data Solutions Home Affordability Index for third quarter 2016 recorded.

This level is not only up from 22% of markets in the previous quarter, but it is up from 19% of markets a year ago.

The only other time affordability came in worse than this was in third quarter of 2009 when 47% of markets were less affordable than their historic affordability averages.

The affordability index is based on the percentage of average wages needed to make monthly house payments on a median-priced home with a 30-year fixed rate and a 3% down payment — including property taxes and insurance.

“The improving affordability trend we noted in our second quarter report reversed course in the third quarter as home price appreciation accelerated in the majority of markets and wage growth slowed in the majority of local markets as well as nationwide, where average weekly wages declined in the first quarter of this year following 13 consecutive quarters with year-over-year increases,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

“This unhealthy combination resulted in worsening affordability in 63% of markets despite mortgage rates that are down 45 basis points from a year ago.

According to the report, out of the 414 counties analyzed in the report, 101 counties (24%) had an affordability index below 100 in the third quarter of 2016, meaning that buying a median-priced home in that county was less affordable than the historic average for that county going back to the first quarter of 2005.

Key counties highlighted include: Harris County (Houston), Texas; Kings County (Brooklyn), New York; Dallas County, Texas; Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas; and Alameda County, California in the San Francisco metro area.

Despite the negative news, Blomquist did point out one positive area.

“Some silver lining in this report is that affordability actually improved in some of the highest-priced markets that have been bastions of bad affordability, mostly the result of annual home price appreciation slowing to low single-digit percentages in those markets,” Blomquist continued.

He explained that this is an indication that home prices are finally responding to affordability constraints — a modicum of good news for prospective buyers who have been priced out of those high-priced markets.

This infographic from ATTOM Data Solutions shows the U.S. home affordability affliction and some possible antidotes.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38158-housing-affordability-at-the-worst-level-in-seven-years?eid=311691494&bid=1542377

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New York requires maintenance of zombie homes | Bedford Hills Real Estate


The state of New York is taking its fight against zombies homes to the next level, as the state announced a series of new regulations for mortgage lenders and servicers that aim to hold the companies “accountable” for the maintenance of abandoned foreclosures.

Earlier this year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed what the state called “sweeping” legislation to reform the state’s foreclosure process and address the state’s issues with zombie homes.

The state’s new laws impose a pre-foreclosure duty on banks and servicers to maintain zombie homes, creates an electronic registry of abandoned properties, and expedites foreclosure for vacant and abandoned properties to get them back on the market, among other requirements.

Cuomo’s office announced Tuesday what lenders and servicers will be required to do under the new laws and what punishment the companies will face if they don’t comply.

According to Cuomo’s office, the New York Department of Financial Services proposed a new regulation that mandates lenders and mortgage services report vacant and abandoned properties, in accordance with the state’s new laws.

Under the state’s new laws, lenders and mortgage servicers must complete an inspection of a property subject to delinquency within 90 days and must secure and maintain the property where the bank or servicer has a reasonable basis to believe that the property is vacant and abandoned, the NYDFS said.

Additionally, lenders and mortgage servicers will now be required to report all vacant and abandoned properties to the NYDSFS and submit quarterly reports detailing their efforts to secure and maintain the properties and any foreclosure proceedings.

According to the announcement, if the NYDFS determines that an abandoned or vacant house not “properly maintained” by the lender or mortgage servicer, the NYDFS will “exercise its authority” to hold the bank or mortgage servicer “accountable.”

According to the NYDFS, that means that lenders and servicers will face a civil penalty of $500 per day per property for violations of the new regulations.

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York passed groundbreaking ‘zombie’ legislation that will provide real relief to communities all across the state,” NYDFS Superintendent Maria Vullo said. “DFS will take necessary and appropriate action to make sure this law is followed and those responsible are held accountable.”

These new laws and regulations aren’t the only steps undertaken recently by New York in its fight against zombie homes and neighborhood blight.

In July, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a new program that will help New York’s city governments track and address zombie homes in their respective cities.

According to Schneiderman’s office, the Zombie Remediation and Prevention Initiative will provide $13 million in grants to local governments to fight zombie homes.

And earlier in July, New York City announced plans to launch a “first of its kind” program to buy a number of delinquent loans from the Federal Housing Administration as part of an effort to keep struggling homeowners from losing their homes to foreclosure.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38149-new-york-announces-new-requirements-for-maintenance-of-zombie-homes?eid=311691494&bid=1541935

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