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Austin Mortgage Market

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of November 22, 2010

Last Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported that Housing Starts dropped 11.7% in October. This drop put Housing Starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 519,000, their lowest level in 18 months. But most of the fall off came from a 43.5% decline in multifamily construction, a volatile part of the market. Single-family building, accounting for more than 80% of all starts, was off just 1.1%, to 436,000 units. And September single-family starts were revised UP to a 2.1% gain. Meanwhile, Building Permits, which reflect builders' views of the future, were UP 0.5% to 550,000, another hopeful sign.

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of November 15, 2010

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that home prices stayed essentially flat in the third quarter compared to the same time frame a year ago. This price stabilization is encouraging, given that sales of existing homes in the period did drop compared to both the prior quarter this year and to the same quarter a year ago. Of course, both those time periods saw buyers rushing in to take advantage of the federal tax credits.

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of October 25, 2010

Last week saw September Housing Starts UP 0.3% to an annual rate of 610,000 units, well ahead of the expected 580,000 unit pace. Even better, starts are UP 4.1% over a year ago. Interestingly, the September gain was totally driven by a healthy 4.4% rise in single family starts, while multi-family starts dropped 9.7%. But multi-family starts are volatile month to month, and are actually up 100.0% compared to a year ago, while single family starts are off 10.8% during the same time frame.

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of October 4, 2010

Last week's housing market data centered on Standard & Poor's S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. This showed home prices UP in July for the fourth month in a row, but the pace of their gain had slowed from prior months. With the expiration of the government's home buyer tax incentives, some observers wonder if the S&P/Case-Shiller will keep moving up. The composite 20-city index, a broad measure of U.S. home prices, showed a 3.2% increase year over year, the sixth month in a row it posted an annual gain.

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of July 19, 2010

Some analysts feel the homebuyer tax credits artificially boosted the housing market by pushing forward home sales that would have happened later. Others feel most buyers would have bought anyway. In any case, there's now concern about a coming drop in sales. Well, June sales figures should still benefit from activity spurred on by the tax credits. And tax credit sales should even help monthly reports through September, now that buyers in contract on April 30 have been given until September 30 to close.

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of July 5, 2010

Last Thursday pending home sales, a measure of contracts signed for existing homes, were reported off 30% in May compared to the prior month. This of course was simply the result of the end of the homebuyer tax credit, which required a signed contract by April 30. Common sense tells us many of those April contracts would have happened in May or even later if it weren't for the pressure to qualify for the tax credit.

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of June 28, 2010

Last week May existing home sales came in UP 19.2% over a year ago. Nonetheless, after beating expectations three months in a row, monthly sales fell short of the gain expected, off 2.2%. But the months' supply of existing homes dropped from 8.4 to 8.3 months, as inventory slid to 3.89 million homes. And the median price is rebounding, UP 2.7% over last year. Finally, the April FHFA home price index was UP 0.8% for homes financed with conforming mortgages.