This Week in Real Estate, Feb. 9, 2015


Good Morning!

This Week in Real Estate….more jobs added than expected and mortgage rates back to 2013 levels….are you prepared to seize all the opportunities in front of you?

Below are a few of the highlights from the first week in February that influence our business:

* New Study Finds Price Premium for Solar Homes. A study conducted by a team of researchers, led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Berkeley Laboratory, found that homebuyers are willing to pay more for homes that have installed solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems. The research estimates a price premium of approximately $4 per watt of PV installed. For a typical PV system, the research team found that this translates into a price premium of $15,000. The research also examined the difference in price premium between newly built and existing homes. The estimates indicate a small, but statistically insignificant, difference between new and existing residences with PV systems. For new homes, the estimated premium was $3.58/watt, while for existing homes the premium was $4.51/watt. Full Story…

* Experts got a pleasant surprise Friday morning as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the U.S. economy added 257,000 jobs in January beating estimates. The strong start to 2015 in the labor market will be received as encouraging news at the Federal Reserve which has signaled that the economic recovery may be strong enough to begin raising interest rates as early as its scheduled June meeting. Below target inflation and economic developments overseas have opened the door to the possibility of a later liftoff but today’s employment report will be a positive note in the deliberations. Many experts believe this job report does not put enough pressure on Fed rates for it to raise them. “The Fed wants to see much more wage growth,” Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, told CNBC on Friday. “We’re still well below that…This keeps the Fed patient in terms of how they do lift off going forward.” Full Story…|news|&par=mnd

* Homebuilding: The Job Revival That Will Surprise in 2015. Housing-related employment got a jolt in January. The number of residential construction workers rose 12,500, a gain of 1.8 percent, the biggest one-month jump in percentage terms since 2002. Other trade categories related to housing jobs also showed strength. Specialty trade contractors, who’ve been in short supply, increased by 7,600 to the highest level since 2009. Wood products manufacturers added 4,100 employees, building materials stores another 3,700. Architectural and engineering employment, which includes home designers, increased by 7,800 to the highest level since 2008. Full Story…

* Falling Mortgage Rates Fuel Buying Activity. Mortgage interest rates rolled back to 2013 levels this week. The 30-year fixed-mortgage averaged 3.59% this week, down from 3.66% last week. A year ago this time, it was as high as 4.32%, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Mortgage applications for FHA loans spiked last week in the midst of lower FHA mortgage insurance premiums, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Both purchase and refinance activity are up, signaling a higher demand for housing. Buyers are refinancing, and they’re choosing FHA loans to do so. Refinance applications using FHA loans increased 76.5% after the drop in mortgage insurance premiums. FHA purchase applications increased 12.4%, according to the MBA. Full Story…​

Have a productive week!

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