Monthly Archives: March 2011

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of March 28, 2011

The famously successful Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway made his observation a month ago in his annual letter to shareholders. The Oracle of Omaha is certainly aware of the state of the housing market and added: “A housing recovery will probably begin within a year or so.” These encouraging words play nicely against last week’s news that Existing Home Sales dipped 9% in February, to just under 5 million annually. But this follows three months of substantial increases in existing home sales and experts still expect us to get back to the long-term trend of 5.5 million units annually, despite monthly fluctuations. Continue reading

3 Ways to Prepare for a House Fire

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, a home fire is reported to a fire department once every minute. Each year, and average of 2,600 people lose their lives and 13,000 are injured in home fires. Continue reading

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of March 21, 2011

Well, journalists had plenty of their kind of news to write about with last week’s housing reports. The bad stuff began with February Housing Starts dropping 22.5% to a level close to the April 2009 low, which was the lowest on record. Most of the drop was from multi-family starts, which are volatile on a monthly basis. Single-family starts were down 11.8%. New Building Permits fell 8.2% for February. This gauges activity a few months out, indicating starts in the Spring ought to be up a bit from now. Continue reading

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of March 14, 2011

Last week there was no guessing involved in the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) report that applications for purchase mortgages hit their highest level of the year. The MBA credited this to the improving job market and mortgage rates remaining at super low levels. This demand for purchase mortgages was up 12.5% from the week before and at its highest level since last May. Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of conforming mortgages showed Texas mortgage rates pretty much unchanged, at historically low levels for the third week in a row. Continue reading

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of March 7, 2011

We should be especially careful to not erect barriers to our progress just because of a minor setback, like the one we had with last week’s Pending Home Sales. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) index of signed contracts on existing homes slipped in January for the second month in a row. But the drop wasn’t as bad as expected and, as the NAR’s chief economist said: “We should not expect the recovery to be in a straight upward path–it will zig-zag at times.” Continue reading