With all the conflicting opinions about the housing market, we found this recently published article in the Wall Street Journal to be quite helpful. It's title says it all, "10 Reasons to Buy a Home."
Fannie Mae released a housing survey showing 70% of those polled in June and July feel now is a good time to buy a home. This is up from a 64% reading in January. At the same time, 83% of those people surveyed think it's a bad time to sell, which isn't such a terrible thing, since there's still plenty of inventory for buyers to choose from.
Last Tuesday April Housing Starts were UP 5.8% at an annual rate of 672,000 units. This puts them UP 40.9% over a year ago, with single-family starts UP 10.2% for the month. April New Building Permits were off 11.5%, at an annual rate of 606,000. Some said these stats reflect builders' response to the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. Nevertheless, housing has turned the corner....
Last Tuesday the National Association of Realtors reported pending home sales were UP 5.3% in March over February, and UP 21.1% over March of last year. This gain in contracts on existing homes, following February's 8.3% rise, indicates a nice boost should be coming in existing home sales for April. Buyers who signed contracts before the end of March now have till the end of June to qualify for their homebuyer tax credit.
Last week, housing market news was thin on the ground. It was good to see that fixed-rate mortgage rates dropped again, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey of conforming mortgages, which came out Thursday. The report was accompanied by encouraging words from Freddie Mac's chief economist Frank Nothaft, who said: "The Federal Reserve recently reported positive news in both the housing market and the overall state of the economy in its January 13 regional economic report....Economic activity improved in 10 of its 12 districts. Home sales...increased due in part to the home-buyer tax credit and house prices appeared to have changed little since its last report." The bottom in home pricing appears to have formed in many areas of the country.
Although the home price numbers are good, uncertainty with the 8K stimulus plan and continued high unemployment will need to be monitored
Hey what do you know, a little green on the screen! Case Shiller Home Price Index painted the screen with an improvement of 1.2% while the year on year figure was down 11.3%. The number were a bit better than consensus, showing signs of stability creeping back into the housing market. 17 of the 20 market surveyed showed positive price improvement with Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Cleveland the only decliners. Although the numbers are good, uncertainty with the 8K stimulus plan and continued high unemployment will need to be monitored.
Austin Mortgage Market Update - At the end of September, the supply of homes for sale was reported down 1.8% from the previous month in 27 major metropolitan areas. We all know the factors. Home prices are very affordable, mortgage rates and very favorable and first-time homebuyers are taking advantage of the $8,000 tax credit set to expire at the end of November, now just seven weeks away. The Mortgage Bankers Association saw loan applications for home purchases rise 13.2% last week, as the MBA's Purchase Index hit its highest level since last January. The average rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgage slid to 4.89% with an average 1.13 points (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio loans to borrowers with good credit. Freddie Mac's weekly survey of conforming mortgage rates put the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 4.87% with an average 0.7 point for 80% loan-to-value ratio loans to borrowers with good credit.
Mortgage investors were more focused on this week's Treasury auctions [...]