Sunday, June 30, 2013

Near Record Rise in Home Sales

Pending home sales rose in May to the highest level since late 2006, implying a possible spark as mortgage interest rates began to rise, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

 The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 6.7 percent to 112.3 in May from a downwardly revised 105.2 in April, and is 12.1 percent above May 2012 when it was 100.2; the data reflect contracts but not closings.

Contract activity is at the strongest pace since December 2006 when it reached 112.8; pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 25 months.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Record Set for Home Values

US home prices have taken a major leap in April, setting a new monthly record for gains. From March to April, home price gained 2.6% and 2.5% for the top ten and top 20 US markets respectively, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Average prices rose 11.6% and 12.1% in April from a year ago.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Newest Data Suggests Buying Beats Renting

Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies released its annual State of the Nation’s Housing report for 2012. The report, which always does a good job laying out in plain language what’s happening with the market, points to the increasingly strong market fundamentals and says home sales really could see serious improvement this year.

The big beneficiary of the last several years has been the multifamily housing sector. It’s booming. As the report puts it, “the number of renters surged by 5.1 million in the 2000s, the largest decade-long increase in the postwar era.” More rental growth is expected. It’s in part because of this rental growth that home ownership is poised to improve.

The report includes an informative graph (see below) that shows how much more affordable mortgage payments have become relative to rental rates. At some point, renters are going to realize they’re losing money each month they continue to rent.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Newark's Water Wars

The Gateway Group of the Sierra Club is sponsoring "Newark's Water Wars", a free public forum, on Wednesday, June 12, from 7-9 pm, at St James Parish, 143 Madison St, Newark. All are welcome. Membership is not required. The panelists include Columbia Economics Professor Dan Flaherty, Dr Ana Baptista (Ironbound CC), Kim Gaddy (Newark Environmental Council Chair), Guy Sterling (retired Newark Star Ledger Reporter), and Lenny Thomas (Ironbound Super Group Chair). Dr Flaherty will be doing a Power Point presentation about the history of the Newark Watershed controversy. The part played by US Senate Candidate Mayor Cory Booker will be part of the discussion. The Panel intends to address other environmental challenges for Newark as well.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Mortgage Rates Approaching 4%

After bouncing along their all time lows for several month, residential mortgage rates seem to be on a steady upward climb.

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates climbing higher for the fifth consecutive week on concerns the Federal Reserve may slow its bond purchases amid a strengthening economy. This marks the first time the average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage has gone above 3 percent since the week of May 24th of last year.
30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.91 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending June 6, 2013, up from last week when it averaged 3.81 percent.
Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.67 percent.

15-year FRM this week averaged 3.03 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.98 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.94 percent.