This Week in Real Estate: Oct. 3, 2016

Consumer confidence hits its highest level in nine years This Week in Real Estate while cash sales hit a nine year low. Below are a few highlights from the fourth week of September that influence our business:

* Consumer Confidence Hits Highest Level Since Recession. Consumer confidence hit its highest level in nine years according to the Consumer Confidence Survey conducted by The Conference Board by Nielsen. Consumer confidence increased in September to 104.1, up from 101.8 in August. The Present Situation Index increased from 125.3 to 128.5 and the Expectations Index both increased from 86.1 to 87.8. The value is adjusted monthly based on results of a household survey of consumers’ opinions on current conditions and future economic expectations. “Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions improved primarily the result of a more positive view of the labor market,” said Lynn Franco, The Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators.
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* New Home Sales: Solid August Follows Hot July. Sales of newly-built, single family homes fell 7.6% on a monthly basis in August to a 609,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate according to estimates from the Census Bureau and HUD. However, the monthly changes makes the fact that the August pace of new home sales was the second strongest since the end of the Great Recession. New home sales for August were almost 21% stronger than August of 2015, and on a year-to-date basis, sales of new single-family homes are 13.3% higher than this time last year. The trend is rising for new home sales, and NAHB expects continued growth in the year ahead given tight new and existing home inventories. The regional numbers reveal strong gains in the West, with sales up 35% from the pace recorded in August 2015. Inventory remains tight and continues to support our forecast of continuing single-family construction gains into 2017. Demand should continue to grow, and industry growth will be limited by supply-side concerns, most notably lack of labor and lots. The third “L” of the supply-side of the market (AD&C Lending), continues to expand, with residential construction loans up more than 16% over last year.
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* Cash Sales Hit Nine-Year Low. For the first time since 2007, cash sales for home purchases made up less than 30% of all residential property transactions. According to new data from CoreLogic, cash sales accounted for 29.3% of total home sales in June 2016, which is a 0.9% drop from May and a 2.5% decline from June 2015. Real estate-owned sales had the largest cash sales share at 56.2 percent, followed by resales at 28.9%, short sales at 27.7 percent and newly constructed homes at 15.2%. Prior to the housing crisis, the cash sales share of total home sales averaged approximately 25%; cash sales shares peaked in January 2011 at 46.6%. CoreLogic estimates that if the cash sales share continues to fall at the same rate it did in June, the share should hit 25% by mid-2018. The cash sales share of total sales for June in Washington was 22% and 26% in Oregon.
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* Pending Sales Decline. The Pending Home Sales Index decreased 2.4% in August, declining for the third time in four months, and falling 0.2% below its level for the same month a year ago. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), decreased to 108.5 in August from a downwardly revised 111.2 in July. The PHSI decreased 5.3% in the West in August and is down 0.6% year-over-year. NAR attributed the PHSI decline to a lack of inventory. However, builder confidence surged in September along with consumer confidence. Also, August new home sales recorded their second strongest month since the Great Recession. These reports suggest good news for new construction as the housing recovery continues to address demand among first-time buyers and broaden across a wider range of markets during the balance of 2016.
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Have a productive week!


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