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Tag Archives: Home Sales

Single Family Starts, Permits Gain in August

Led by the strongest gain for single-family construction this, year, the pace of housing starts edged up 0.9 percent in August, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Wednesday. Total housing permits though declined 4.8 percent despite a surge in filings for single-family homes.

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September Builder Confidence Falters

The Housing Market Index (HMI), a measure of builder confidence, stalled at 58 in September, unchanged from August’s downwardly revised reading, the National Association of Home Builders reported Tuesday. The August confidence reading had originally been 59. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the index to remain at that level. But a dip in one of the three index components--the outlook for new home sales six months out--pulled the reading down slightly.

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Consumers Respond to Housing Trends with Cautious Optimism

Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey for August shows more people are optimistic about price gains over the next year (55 percent, up from 53 percent), though the average expected gain has pulled back slightly to 3.4 percent (compared to July's high of 3.9 percent). The share of people expecting prices to fall bounced up to 7 percent from July's low of 6 percent. The company explained that consumers' attitudes have hit a plateau ""due to concerns regarding the potential tapering of the Federal Reserve's asset purchases.""

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Commentary: Truth… and Consequences

While August's employment situation report was less than robust (with a staggering reduction in July's revised payrolls), it wasn't the first set of data to suggest trouble on the horizon for the housing recovery. The Case-Shiller home price index for June--the most recent--showed continuing, albeit slower, house price gains, pushing affordable homeownership still further from low paid workers. That is, until the numbers change again.

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Study Finds 8.3M Homeowners on Verge of Positive Equity

Home prices have rebounded so rapidly that industry data show 8.3 million borrowers who've been underwater are on track to have enough equity to sell their home within the next 15 months--without resorting to a short sale. Metro markets that boast the highest percentage of homes with resurfacing equity include Omaha; Colorado Springs; Tulsa; Little Rock; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Rising Rates Prompt Cash Buyers to Act

While higher mortgage rates have been blamed for the slowdown in pending home sales, they may be contributing to an increase in cash purchases, RealtyTrac suggested in a recent report. In July, about 40 percent of residential property sales were all-cash transactions. The share presents an increase from 35 percent in June and 31 percent compared to July 2012. Short sales also accounted for a bigger share of sales in July, increasing to 14 percent, up from 13 percent in the prior month and 9 percent from a year ago.

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Trulia: Housing in Third Phase of Recovery, Awaiting Fourth

The first two phases of the recovery began in 2009 and 2012, respectively, according to Trulia's monthly Housing Barometer. The milestone marking the first phase was when sales and construction first started to pick up. The second phase began when home prices reached bottom and began to increase. The third phase began this spring after housing inventory bottomed out and both inventory and mortgage rates began to climb, according to Trulia. What we're waiting on now, according to Trulia, is the fourth phase, in which ""young adults finally start moving out of their parents' homes.""

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July Pending Home Sales in Steepest Drop So Far This Year

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) slipped 1.3 percent in July, the steepest decline this year, to 109.5, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. Economists had expected the index for July would drop to 109.8, which would have been a 1.0 percent decline from June's 110.9. The June index was unchanged. NAR economist Lawrence Yun cited higher prices as affecting new contracts. ""Higher mortgage interest rates and rising home prices are impacting monthly contract activity in the high-cost regions of the Northeast and the West,"" Yun offered as an explanation for the drop in the PHSI.

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Home Sales Stage a Comeback in July

According to Redfin, ""this July saw a healthy jump in homes sold throughout most of the 19 markets covered in this report,"" improving 3 percent month-over-month and 17.6 percent year-over-year from a rather disappointing July 2012. In fact, Redfin found July 2013 experienced the highest number of homes sold in the past four years, with the 19 markets together seeing about 94,000 sales. While sales numbers picked up, Redfin believes the gains won't last. At the same time, reports on home price growth and inventory were less positive in July.

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