This Week in Real Estate: May 18, 2015


Good Morning!

This Week in Real Estate, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun predicted existing home sales will reach their highest level since 2006. That years sales total was the second highest ever on record. ​Below are a few of the highlights from the second week of May that influence our business:

* ​​Existing Home Sales to Finish 2015 at Record Level. Existing home sales are expected to finish the year at their highest level since 2006, the National Association of Realtors’ economic forecast forum revealed at its 2015 Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. In the most recent existing-home sales report, sales surged to their highest annual rate in 18 months, showing a promising beginning to the spring homebuying season. Total existing home sales jumped 6.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in March from 4.89 million in February – the highest annual rate since September 2013 (also 5.19 million). “Sustained job growth and interest rates below 4% have been the catalyst behind the improvement in sales,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of NAR. “Housing supply needs to increase measurably to meet the pent-up demand for buying,” said Yun. “To put it in perspective, there were 37 million more people in the U.S. last year compared to 2000, yet existing-home sales that year were higher (5.2 million) than last year (4.9 million).”
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* Housing Affordability Posts Solid Gain in First Quarter. Lower interest rates and home prices contributed to a solid boost in nationwide affordability in the first quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released Thursday. “The past two quarters have seen an improvement in affordability as mortgage rates remain low,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Eighty-five percent of the metropolitan areas measured experienced an increase in affordability.” In all, 66.5 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800. This is up from the 62.8 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the fourth quarter.
Fully story…

* U.S. Residential Loan Originations Increase 17 Percent in Q1 From a Year Ago. According to RealtyTrac’s Q1 2015 U.S. Residential Loan Origination Report, which shows that 1,551,865 loans were originated on single family homes and condos in the first quarter, down 6 percent from the previous quarter but up 17 percent from a year ago. Total dollar volume of loans originated in the first quarter was $377 billion, up 32 percent from a year ago. Refinance originations represented nearly $256 billion in the first quarter, 67.8 percent of total loan origination dollar volume, and purchase loan originations represented $121 billion, 32.2 percent of total origination dollar volume. “A dip in interest rates early in the year combined with lowered mortgage insurance premiums for FHA loans breathed some life back into the refinancing market in the first quarter,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.  Full story…​

* Metro Home Prices Maintain Steady Growth in First Quarter 2015. Stronger demand amidst lagging inventory levels caused home prices to accelerate in many metro areas during the first quarter of 2015, and the number of areas experiencing double-digit price appreciation doubled compared to last quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors. The number of rising markets in the first quarter was mostly unchanged compared to the fourth quarter of last year, when price increases were recorded in 85 percent of metro areas. Fifty-one metro areas in the first quarter (29 percent) experienced double-digit increases, a sharp increase from 24 metro areas in the fourth quarter of 2014. Thirty-seven metro areas (21 percent) experienced double-digit increases in the first quarter of 2014.
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* More Millenials Renting, But Just as Many Want to Own. Those are the two findings of an Urban Land Institute commissioned survey of Americans age 19 to 36 discussing their housing preferences and finances. Millennials, loosely defined as people born in the 1980s and 1990s, are the largest customer segment since the Baby Boomers. At an estimated 75 million to 80 million, millenials account for a quarter of the U.S. population. The trouble for the housing industry is that millenials have abstained from buying a home for longer than previous generations did at their age. “The millenials are telling us they want to own a home eventually, no different from the aspirations of their parents or grandparents,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae. “But they’re not in a hurry. They still need some income rebuilding.”
Full story…

Have a productive week!


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