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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Miami real estate market showing growth

Potential homebuyers looking to put down roots in a new location may want to set their sights on Miami. According to the Miami Association of Realtors, the city set its third consecutive record annual home sales.

A housing boom usually means higher prices, but according to the realtor group there are houses to be found for buyers with a large range of incomes.

Tips for potential home buyers

If you’ve been on the fence about buying a new home this year, now may be the time to enter the market. A recent Bankrate.com article detailed a few tips for mortgage seekers. We’ve highlighted a few below:

Study: Buyers and sellers more optimistic about the market

Americans are more committed to either buying or selling a home this year, according to Prudential Real Estate’s fourth quarter Consumer Outlook Survey. Of the 2,500 individuals polled, 78 percent looked favorably on the market, up 15 points from the previous year. Over 60 percent of the respondents said that they planned on entering the housing market either as a buyer or seller.

“Consumers understand that the U.S. economy and residential real estate continue moving in positive directions,” said Earl Lee, CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC, Prudential’s parent company, in a press release. “Accordingly, they’re feeling much better about their personal situations and want to take advantage of attractive home prices in many markets and interest rates that remain low by historical standards.”

The Trend Finally Ends

The run of lower lending rates has come to an end, at least for the time being.

Mortgage rates across most offerings and jurisdictions rose this past week. Bankrate.com's survey showed an average rate of 4.48% on the 30-year fixed-rate loan, five-basis points higher than the previous week.  As to be expected, Freddie Mac's survey also showed a rise. It's data show the 30-year loan averaged 4.28%, which is also a five-basis-point increase. (The surveys differ because of methodology and average discount and origination points.)

Zillow: Home buying will be easier this year

For potential home buyers who have previously been shut out of the market, 2014 may be the year that they become homeowners, according to the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey. The poll of 110 economists, real estate experts and market analysts found that real estate investors are expected to reduce their purchasing activity. This suggests that individual buyers will face less competition.

"Buyers entering the market in the next few months will not be competing with cash-rich investors like they were last year,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries in a press release. “[...] Real estate investors, both large and small, played a crucial role in helping to stabilize markets during the darkest days of the housing recession, but a decline in investor activity now isn't necessarily a bad thing, and could have real benefits for buyers.”

Clear Capital: 2006 home prices may not be back until 2021

Home prices are increasing, but slowly and at the rate of inflation, according to a new report from Clear Capital. The group’s latest Home Data Index indicates that at this current pace it will be the year 2021 before housing prices return to levels last seen in 2006.

The current rate of growth -  3 to 5 percent each year - is more in line with historical price increases, rather than the rapid rise then fall of the 2000s.

NAHB announces winners of 50+ Housing Awards

As they approach retirement age, many older Americans are looking to downsize but still want to have the same amenities and independence that they enjoyed at their previous homes. In recent years, many developers have made efforts to create exceptional living environments for retirees and, their efforts have been recognized.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 50+ Housing Council recently announced the winners of its 2014 Best of 50+ Housing Awards. The awards program was held during the International Builders’ Show and honors innovation in design and development in the mature housing industry.

When Prognostications Go Slightly Awry

At the beginning of the year, we predicted that mortgage rates would end the year higher. Specifically, we predicted the 30-year fixed-rate loan would be quoted above 5%.  To be sure, the year is still young. We're only into the first full week of February, but so far mortgage rates have been countering our opinion.

For the fifth-consecutive week, mortgage rates again drifted lower. On the national scene, Bankrate.com's survey shows the rate on the 30-year loan dropped seven basis points to 4.43%. Freddie Mac's survey shows the average rate on the same loan at 4.23%, nine basis lower from the previous week.

Fannie Mae: More Americans positive that they could get a mortgage

More consumers are confident that they can qualify for a mortgage, according to Fannie Mae’s January 2014 National Housing Survey. The percentage of Americans who think that they could obtain a home loan increased two percentage points to a high of 52 percent, while the proportion of individuals who said it would be more difficult dropped to 45 percent. The important takeaway from this survey is that more consumers are making the assumption that credit standards are becoming less strict.

“A majority of consumers now believe that it is getting easier to get a mortgage, said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, in a press release. “For the first time in the National Housing Survey’s three-and-a-half-year history, the share of respondents who said it is easy to get a mortgage surpassed the 50-percent mark, exceeding those who said it would be difficult by 7 percentage points.”

MBA: Mortgage applications increase slightly

Despite a drop in interest rates, mortgage applications increased only 0.4 percent for the week ending January 31, 2014, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly survey. Applications to refinance rose 3 percent, while the number of applications to buy a home fell 4 percent.

During the week surveyed, interest rates for 30-year fixed loans fell from 4.52 percent to 4.47 percent. This is the lowest it’s been since November, but according to Michael Fratantoni, the MBA’s chief economist, this may not be low enough for some potential borrowers.