According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, demand for loan applications was up 4.3 percent last week from the week before. The improvement was due to a 7 percent surge in refinance activity, which has been down in recent weeks. The Purchase Index was up 1 percent from the previous week. The spike in refinance activity was likely due to a decline in interest rates, which was seen across all loan categories, including 30-year fixed rate mortgages with both conforming and jumbo balances, FHA-backed loans, and 15-year fixed rate loans. The refinance share of total mortgage activity climbed to 52 percent, 1 percent higher than the previous week. The MBA’s survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.
Builders have an unique perspective on the housing market, demand, and where home sales are headed. And, according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, builders’ confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes is rising. In fact, the most recent reading shows the index up one point to 47 in April from March. The index – which measures confidence on a scale where any number above 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor – found that, though builders’ perception of current conditions and buyer traffic was unchanged from the month before, their expectations for future sales rose four points to 57. Kevin Kelly, NAHB’s chairman, said builder confidence has been in a holding pattern the past three months but, as the spring home buying season gets into full swing and demand increases, builders are expecting sales prospects to improve. Also, all four regions of the country are down, according to the index’s three month moving averages. The West and Midwest show the largest decreases, though both remain near 50. The South and Northeast, on the other hand, both slipped two points, falling to 33 and 47, respectively. More here.
Data from the National Association of Realtors’ Confidence Index Survey finds fewer first-time home buyers obtaining mortgages with a down payment of 6 percent or less. In fact, the number of first-time buyers who put down 6 percent or less had dropped to 61 percent by February, down from 74 percent in 2009. Though there are a number of factors causing buyers to put down more money when buying their home, the benefits of a higher down payment remain the same. The more money you put down when purchasing a house, the lower your monthly mortgage payment will be. According to the NAR, saving for a higher down payment also betters the odds that a prospective buyer can obtain a loan from their bank, in addition to increasing the likelihood of winning a bid for a particular property should there be multiple offers on a home. In short, the more money you’re able to put forth as a down payment, the more attractive you’ll be to mortgage lenders and home sellers. In a competitive market, where demand is still higher than supply, a higher down payment can help provide an edge over other potential buyers in your area. More here.
Despite more homes being put up for sale in anticipation of the spring home buying season, asking prices are up from last year in 97 of 100 metropolitan areas tracked by Trulia’s Price Monitor. Typically, more homes on the market keeps prices from increasing but, because this spring is expected to be a good one for housing, prices have continued to rise. In fact, asking prices are up 10 percent nationally over the past year and climbed 1.2 percent in March from February’s level. The report also found that price per square foot increased more in cities than in suburban neighborhoods. High-density, urban neighborhoods experienced price increases of 9.8 percent since last year, while homes in the suburbs saw prices rise 9.4 percent. Still, population growth in suburban neighborhoods was stronger than city neighborhoods over the past year. According to the report, this is true because – though more people moved to the suburbs – there is more room for new construction in suburban areas and the ability to create more inventory to meet buyer demand helps moderate price gains. More here.
It was the days that you were considered to be technically advanced if you had a 2400 bps modem (that was bigger than a shoebox) hooked up to a commodore. I created a department that was non-existent at the time in my bank to become the most profitable area in it. Later I spun out into my own Import-Export Business.
It was this Import-Export Business that brought me to South Florida back in 1986. Being close to everything, and with easy access to everything, it quickly became my home base. I never found a reason to leave, with its fantastic climate I believe this is the best place to live in the world, and everyone should own at least a Condo in our area.
I got hired by a major local company in 1988 in the Sales Department. I thought it would be a good thing to do for the summer of that year. Quickly, I realized that this job was a lot easier than owning your own business, and became very successful at it. I advanced into the position of Sales Manager, which I maintained for the next 20 years.
Getting into the Real Estate business was thanks to my wife who had become very successful at it, and was running her own Brokerage. She had realized early on, that the industry lacked experienced sales people. Most sales associates that applied were jaded individuals in look for something to fill in their time.
Getting into Real Estate has been the best decision I’ve made in my live. I love everything about it. The capability of working together with people to realize their most important goals has given me so many great experiences and satisfactions. There have been many “tear jerking” moments when I’ve been able to deliver on the dream, and this is unique to this industry. I compare it to a moment of triumph in sports.
At this point most Real Estate Agents will tell you how they will market your property worldwide, they will make the most beautiful brochures, etc., etc. But my message is simple: I’m a seasoned well accomplished Sales Manager with a huge technical and web marketing background. I’m up for the task!
My guarantee: You can expect my best every single time, no matter if you’re looking to buy or sell, and if we’re talking about a $100,000 or $10,000,000 home.
The National Association of Home Builders Leading Markets Index measures the number of metropolitan housing markets nationwide that have returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity based on current permit, price, and employment data. According to the most recent release, the overall housing market is now running at 88 percent of normal activity, with 83 percent of local markets having improved over the past year. In fact, just since last month’s report, nearly 28 percent of metro areas saw their score rise. Kevin Kelly, NAHB’s chairman, said things are getting better overall and, with the housing market now entering the spring buying season, the fact that the nation’s economy is headed in the right direction is a very promising sign. Though the improved markets are dominated by smaller metros in the middle of the country experiencing growth due to an energy boom, regions outside of the energy states are starting to post gains as well, with areas like Los Angeles and San Jose joining the list of major metros showing a recovery. David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist, said 2014 should be a strong year for housing and the overall economic rebound. More here.
Though the housing market’s momentum slowed over the winter, Americans’ attitudes about buying and selling homes continues to move in a positive direction. In fact, according to Fannie Mae’s March 2014 National Housing Survey, 69 percent of Americans say now is a good time to buy a house and the number who say it’s a good time to sell increased 4 percent from the month before. Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, said there are several positive signs going into this year’s spring home buying season. Compared to last year, consumers are less pessimistic about their personal finances and more optimistic about the current selling environment and their ability to get a mortgage, Duncan said. For example, in the most recent survey, 52 percent of respondents said they thought it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage, which is an all-time survey high. The share of participants who said they’d prefer to buy rather than rent was also up, reaching 68 percent. Still, there is lingering uncertainty about economic conditions and many Americans continue to believe the economy is on the wrong track. Fannie Mae, however, expects a pickup in economic growth this year, which may boost the confidence of those still pessimistic about economic conditions and the housing market. More here.
In 2013, home prices rose significantly but the number of homes on the market did not. This year, most industry analysts believe that home prices will continue to rise, but at a slower pace. The expected slowdown is due to the fact that as home prices increase, homeowners who have been reluctant to sell, will gain confidence in the housing market and begin putting their homes up for sale, boosting inventory and moderating the sharp price gains seen last year. This moderation will have a stabilizing effect on housing and will make for a much less volatile market this year. Until now, there hasn’t been data to support the predicted boost in for-sale inventory but new numbers from Realtor.com’s National Housing Trend Report show that the spring selling season is off to a promising start, with inventory up 10 percent over last year. This indicates that more homeowners have decided that now is the time to sell. Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move Inc., said seller confidence is the factor to watch and that these are very encouraging indicators. According to Berkowitz, these figures indicate a continued reinforcement of the gains and market stabilization that began late last summer. More here and here.
Is your local housing market affordable? Is it stable? Are the homeowners who live there current on their mortgage payments? Is the local employment picture fragile or strong? The Freddie Mac Multi-Indicator Market IndexSM (MiMiSM) helps answer these and other critical housing questions. MiMi uses the latest data to measure the stability of the housing market in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, the top 50 metros, and the nation.
MiMi offers new insight into today’s housing market every month. You will also gain a fresh perspective on how your market today compares to other markets, the recent past, and current trends. MiMi is housing data in context. It is released at 10 a.m. EDT monthly.
Try it out here
Freddie Mac’s new Multi-Indicator Market Index measures the stability of the nation’s housing market based on home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios, proportion of on-time mortgage payments, and the local employment picture. Based on these components, the Index determines how each market is trending and whether it’s becoming more or less stable. Overall, the housing market is in better shape than it has been at any point since the beginning of the Great Recession.
Since June 2009, for example, home sales are up 13 percent, housing starts are up 55 percent, serious delinquencies are down 32 percent, and the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.5 percent to 6.7 percent. Still, there is room for improvement. Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist, said – in many markets – a better employment picture, along with some income growth, makes it possible for people considering buying a home to stay within reasonable payment-to-income ratios.
But, according to Kiefer, some high-cost markets are starting to feel an affordability pinch. Of the 50 states included in the Index, 25 plus the District of Columbia are improving based on three-month trends. Among the 50 metropolitan areas included, 35 are improving. Freddie Mac expects more markets to move closer to their long-term stable range as we enter the spring home buying season. More here.