Case Shiller: Home Prices Rise at Fastest Pace Since 2005

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 2nd, 2021

Case Shiller: Home Prices Rise at Fastest Pace Since 2005March readings for S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices rose to their highest level since 2005 in March. National home prices rose by 13.20 percent year-over-year as compared to February’s reading of 12.00 percent growth. The Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index reported average year-over-year home price gains of 13.30 percent in March. Phoenix, Arizona continued to lead the 20-City Index with a year-over-year home price growth of 20 percent. San Diego, California followed with home price growth of 19.10 percent; Seattle, Washington reported year-over-year home price growth of 18.30 percent.

How the Covid Pandemic Impacted  Home Prices

Real estate pros said that the Covid epidemic continued to impact housing markets as homeowners were more willing to list their homes as Covid cases decreased. Demand for single-family homes increased as homebuyers shopped for larger homes in less-congested metro areas. The pandemic opened more opportunities for working from home, which increased buyer interest in larger homes with amenities including home offices.

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, home prices for single-family homes owned or financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose by 12.60 percent from the first quarter of 2020 through the first quarter of 2021.

As Covid cases fall more Americans will either return to their workplaces or re-evaluate their employment and housing situations. Demand for homes will exceed the supply of available homes for the foreseeable future, but the current high demand for homes may soften as families return to work and school and covid-related fears ease.

Home Price Growth May Slow, but Prices Unlikely to Drop

Rapid home price growth is likely to slow as more home sellers and buyers enter the market in the aftermath of the pandemic. Analysts don’t see major dips in home prices as demand continues to exceed supplies of new and previously-owned homes. Homebuilders face ongoing obstacles including labor shortages and rapidly rising materials prices that impact their ability to provide enough homes to meet demand.

Affordable homes are in short supply as pre-owned homes are often subject to bidding wars and cash sales due to buyer competition for fewer available homes. First-time and moderate-income buyers are joined on the sidelines by buyers who depend on mortgages to buy homes; they typically can’t compete with cash sales. As real estate markets return to pre-pandemic conditions, home prices may gradually plateau, but there isn’t much relief in sight for homebuyers needing to finance their home purchases.

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NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Ticks Up in April

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 16th, 2021

NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Ticks Up in AprilThe national reading for home builder confidence rose one point to an index reading of 83 in April; the National Association of Home Builders predicted a reading of 84. Component readings for April’s national index readings were mixed.  Builder confidence in current market conditions for single-family homes rose one point to 88. Builder confidence in market conditions for single-family homes in the next six months fell two points to 81 but homebuilder confidence in buyer traffic in new home developments rose two points to an index reading of 75.

Readings over 50 indicate a majority of builders are positive about housing market conditions. Buyer traffic readings published before the pandemic rarely exceeded index readings of 50.

Regional Home Builder Confidence Varied

Regional readings for home builder confidence varied in April. The Northeast region reported an index reading of 84 in April, which was two points lower than in March. The Midwestern region’s April reading was three points lower at 75 than in March. Homebuilder confidence in the South rose two points to 84 and builder confidence in the West was unchanged with an index reading of 92.

NAHB’s Three-month moving average of regional homebuilder confidence in housing market conditions reported for the Northeast rose six points to 86; builder confidence in the Midwest fell two points to 78 and builder confidence in housing market conditions rose one point to 83. Builder confidence in housing market conditions in the West was unchanged at an index reading of 90.

High Demand for Homes Persists as Materials Costs Limit Affordability

Shortages of available pre-owned homes continued to boost new home sales, but rising materials costs and supply chain issues presented ongoing challenges to builders. NAHB Chair Fowkes said, “The supply chain for residential construction is tight, particularly regarding the cost and availability of lumber, appliances, and other building materials.”

Affordability is a substantial obstacle for first-time and moderate-income home buyers Prices of pre-owned homes are rising at their fastest pace in 15 years as mortgage rates move higher. NAHB Chair Fowkes also said, “Though builders are seeking to keep prices affordable…policymakers must find ways to increase the supply of building materials as the economy runs hot in 2021.”

Homebuilders and potential home buyers can expect ongoing challenges in 2021. As home prices rise, fewer families can enter the housing markets; other potential buyers may decide to postpone buying homes until home price growth eases.

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Case-Shiller: Phoenix Home Prices Hot, Hotter, and Hottest

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 1st, 2021

Case-Shiller: Phoenix Home Prices Hot, Hotter, and HottestThe S&P Case-Shiller National Home Price Index posted its highest gain in nearly 15 years with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 11.20 percent in January. The December 2020  National Home Price Index reported 10.40 percent home price growth. The S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index reported 11.10 percent year-over-year growth with 19 of 20 cities reporting higher home prices. Cleveland, Ohio was the only city reporting no home price growth in January. Detroit, Michigan reported home price growth data for the first time in nearly a year.

Phoenix, Seattle, and San Diego Home Prices are Hot, Hotter, and Hottest

Home prices in Phoenix, Arizona again topped Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index for January with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 15.80 percent. Seattle, Washington held its second-place position with home price growth of 14.30 percent, and San Diego, California held third position with year-over-year home price growth of 14.20 percent.

Rapidly rising home prices coupled with rising mortgage rates presented challenges for first-time and moderate-income buyers; some have revised their purchasing budgets downward while others have left the market. Analysts noted that buyers leaving the housing market could impact high demand and strong buyer competition which has fueled bidding wars and driven home prices ever higher in popular metro areas.

Craig Lazzara, managing director and head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said that January’s home price data supported the position that COVID encouraged buyers to leave congested urban areas for single-family homes in suburbia. He said that many of these households may have accelerated existing home-buying plans.

FHFA Posts 12 Percent Increase in Home Prices; Slowing Momentum

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported a 12 percent year-over-year growth in prices of single-family homes owned or financed by the two government-sponsored mortgage companies. According to Lynn Fisher, FHFA’s deputy director of the division of research and statistics, home price growth slowed to its slowest pace since June. She wrote, “While house prices experienced historic growth rates in 2020 and into the New Year, the monthly gains appear to be moderating.”

Home prices are expected to continue growing in popular metro areas, but at a slower pace due to higher mortgage rates and would-be buyers leaving the market. Demand for homes may ease as COVID-driven flight from urban areas slows but families working from home and homeschooling their children also create demand for larger homes.

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NAHB: Rising Demand for Homes Boosts Builder Confidence

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 18th, 2020

NAHB: Rising Demand for Homes Boosts Builder ConfidenceBuilder confidence in housing market conditions reached a new record high in November according to the National Association of Home Builders. November’s index reading of 90 was five points higher than in October. Index readings over 50 indicate positive builder sentiment toward market conditions. Readings for the Housing Market Index fell below 50 in April and May as the COVID-19 pandemic grew.

Component readings for the Housing Market Index rose six points to 96 for current housing market conditions and one point to 89 for builder confidence in home sales in the next six months. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments rose three points to 77. Readings for buyer traffic typically didn’t exceed 50 until recently. High demand for homes is associated with record-low mortgage rates and changing priorities created by the pandemic.

While demand for homes usually slows in the colder months, the pandemic has caused families to re-evaluate their housing needs as more people work from home and children attend school online or are homeschooled. Larger homes cost more, which contributes to home sellers moving to suburban or rural areas to accommodate the additional expenses of buying and maintaining larger homes.

Regional Housing Market Conditions Mixed in November

The NAHB reported gains in builder confidence in three of four regions. The Midwest led with a nine-point increase in builder confidence. The South and West also showed rising builder confidence, but builders in the Northeast reported a five-point drop in builder confidence.

Robert Dietz, chief economist for the NAHB said, “In the short run, the shift of housing demand to lower density markets such as suburbs and exurbs along with ongoing low resale inventory levels is supporting demand for home building.”  Rising demand for homes as compared to low numbers of pre-owned homes available is creating additional demand for new homes. 

Analysts said that the demand for new homes will last for quarters or years as it will take time for builders to catch up with the unusually high demand for single-family homes.

A seasonal slow-down in home sales coupled with a new and severe wave of COVID-19 cases may cause challenges for home builders in the coming months, but the current demand for homes could rise if city-dwellers continue to move to less congested areas. Recent positive news about COVID-19 vaccines could impact flight from cities to suburbs, but government approval, manufacture, and distribution of vaccines can’t happen immediately.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 20, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 20th, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 20, 2020Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of  Home Builders on housing markets along with Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and unemployment claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Housing Markets Increases in July

Homebuilders gained confidence in housing market conditions as home buyers sought homes in less-congested suburban areas. Builder confidence rose 14 points to an index reading of 72 in July. NAHB Chair Chuck Fowke said, “Builders are seeing strong traffic and lots of interest in new construction as existing home inventory remains lean.”

Homebuyers sought larger homes to accommodate work-at-home needs and also fled from urban congestion posing hazards due to Covid-19. Robert Dietz, chief economist for NAHB said, “Flight to the suburbs is real.” This trend benefits home builders, who must meet buyer demand.

Inventories of pre-owned homes remained low and improved builder outlook on current sales of single-family homes by 16 points to an index reading of 79.

Builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose seven points to 75 and builder confidence in buyer traffic rose 15 points to 58. Index readings over 50 indicate positive market conditions.

Commerce Department readings for June housing starts and building permits issued were higher than in May. 1.19 million housing starts were reported on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to May’s reading of 1.01 million housing starts. 1.24 million building permits were issued in June on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to May’s reading of 1.22 million permits issued.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported the lowest mortgage rates in 50 years last week;  the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell five basis points to 2.98 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell three basis points to 2.48 percent; rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose four basis points to 3.06 percent on average Analysts said that as low mortgage rates encouraged would-be buyers to enter the market, increasing cases of COVID-19 in some areas could cause markets to cool as fears of layoffs and unemployment impact real estate markets.

New and continuing jobless claims fell last week but remained much higher than pre-COVID-19 readings. 1.30 million initial jobless claims were filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.31 million new claims. Continuing jobless claims fell to 17.30 million claims as compared to the previous weekly reading of 18.10 million ongoing jobless claims.

What’s Ahead

Readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes will be released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and unemployment claims.

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NAHB Housing Market Index Unchanged in September

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 20th, 2018

NAHB Housing Market Index Unchanged in SeptemberHome builder confidence in housing market conditions stayed flat in September. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index reported an index reading of 67, which matched expectations and NAHB’s housing market reading for August. Analysts cited recent tariffs on building materials as a significant cause of easing builder confidence.

While NAHB called September’s reading “solid” at 67, the reading was one full point lower than the average reading for 2017 and equaled the lowest builder confidence reading in 2018 to date. Readings over 50 in the Housing Market Index indicate that more builders than fewer are confident in housing market conditions.  

Components of the Housing Market Index were mixed as builder confidence in current market conditions rose one point to 74. Builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose two points to a reading of 74. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments was unchanged with a reading of 49.

Buyer traffic readings frequently fall below the benchmark reading of 50, so a reading of 49 indicates builders aren’t concerned about buyer interest in new homes.

Home Building Viewed As Cure For Housing Shortages, But Buyers Face Challenges

Housing industry leaders, real estate pros and mortgage lenders continued to look to builders for a solution to severe housing shortages in some areas. Rapidly rising home prices driven by high demand, few choices for buyers and aren’t likely to ease until inventories of available homes increase. Recently rising mortgage rates added to pressures on first-time and moderate-income home buyers.

NAHB Chief Economist Rob Dietz said that trade skirmishes and “burdensome regulations” also contributed to rising home prices. Real estate pros said that local market conditions affected market areas affected by natural disasters including severe red tide algae blooms in Florida and wildfires in Oregon and California. Home sales typically slow in August, but the combination of low inventories of homes coupled with rising prices and natural disasters resulted in lower than expected home sales in August.

Buyer fatigue was cited as a driving factor in slowing home sales as rapidly rising prices and few available homes took a toll on buyer interest. As the school year approached buyers were backing off instead of continuing to compete with cash buyers and bidding wars.

It is commonplace for markets to shift and for trends to change. Your best bet for success in buying a new home or selling your current home to rely on your trusted real estate professional.

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Big Second Quarter GDP Numbers Impact Housing Market

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 10th, 2018

Big Second Quarter GDP Numbers Impact Housing MarketPositive economic growth numbers are always cause for celebration and the second quarter GDP just went vertical. After nearly four years of sub-par growth, the real GDP hit 4.1 percent in the second quarter.

While that economic news has everyday Americans excited that we may be entering a new age of prosperity, drawing a concrete link to the real estate market may be difficult. But by looking long and hard at this uptick and its potential impact on housing, you may get a better idea about buying, selling or standing pat on residential and commercial property.

GDP Report Points To Demand

Among the positive measures from the recent economic report, consumption enjoyed a positive increase. The first quarter numbers were disappointingly sluggish in this area at a modest 0.5 percent. The second quarter took off like a rocket, by comparison, at 2.25 percent.  

Although that figure shows an upwardly mobile economy, some experts are calling it discouraging given the extraordinary consumer confidence that has risen to record highs of more than 101.0 since November 2017. This opinion begs the question: why are economy gurus disappointed?

The first part of that answer has to do with the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that is putting more money in American paychecks and rolled back income tax liability. Many economists forecast that this personal wealth growth would turn into solid consumption. While working families have enjoyed a breather in terms of scratching from paycheck to paycheck, home purchases have not gone through the roof.

Home availability remains relatively low. With Millennials scooping up many of the starter-home listings and Baby Boomers downsizing, a significant housing shortfall exists. If you have ever heard the term “seller’s market,” this is it.

Inventory Shortage Means Buy Quickly

There are always naysayers that point to lower than expected consumption and claim the economy is weak. The facts in the GDP report clearly dispute any such ideas.

Business investment spiked to a powerful 11.5 percent and then 7.3 percent in the first two quarters. Fixed business investment is on fire based on deregulation, soaring profits and confidence.

That’s why real estate resources are saying that the only thing holding the market back is inventory. Home sale data is not keeping pace with other sectors of the economy because there simply is not enough inventory to keep up with demand. For first-time buyers, this means get prequalified and act swiftly if you find a dream home. It won’t stay on the market long.

Prospective homebuyers may be relieved to know that positive construction indicators are trending. New homes are expected to improve the inventory shortage heading into 2019. Still, demand is likely to stay ahead of inventory.

Whether you are buying or selling, your trusted real estate professional can be one of your very best assets in this fast-paced market.

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NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Drops in January

Posted in Housing Market by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 24th, 2018

Homebuilder confidence in housing market conditions dipped two points in January; ongoing challenges including labor shortages and materials costs were cited by the National Association of Home Builders, which provides monthly readings on home builder sentiment. Three component readings of the Housing Market Index declined by one point each. Readings for current sales conditions, housing market conditions for the next six months and for buyer traffic within new single-family housing developments were 79, 78 and 54 respectively.

Readings over 50 indicate positive builder sentiment. The reading for buyer traffic seldom exceeds 50. Current readings support continued builder confidence in current and future housing market conditions. NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said housing demand should continue to grow in 2018 based on the gauge of future market conditions remaining in the 70s range. Real estate pros have repeatedly cited slim inventories of homes for sale as driving rapidly rising home prices.

NAHB estimated 1.125 million housing starts for 2018, which was 2.70 percent higher than for2017. The Commerce Department released its annual rate of housing starts in December at 1.192 million starts; Building permits were issued at the annual rate of 1.302 million permits issued in December, based on November’s annualized reading of 1.303 million permits issued.

Regional Builder Confidence Readings Rise

Regional readings for builder confidence were higher in all four regions tracked by NAHB. Calculated on a three-month rolling average, the Northeast gained five points for an index reading of 59; The Midwest posted a one-point gain for a January reading of 70. The South posted a one-point gain for an index reading of 73 and the West reported a two-point gain for a reading of 81.

Analysts said throughout 2017 that building more homes would be the only way to solve the housing shortage and resulting challenges including rapidly rising home prices that eliminate first-time and moderate-income home buyers out of affordable home prices and home financing options.  

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Case-Shiller: Home Prices Rise in October

Posted in Housing Market by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 28th, 2017

According to Case-Shiller national and 20-city home price indices for October, home prices continued to rise.  National home prices rose 0.70 percent for the three months ending in October. Year-over-year, national home prices increased by 6.20 percent. The 20-City Home Price Index also rose by 0.70 percent in October and reported a year-over-year increase of 6.40 percent.

The top three metro areas in the 20-City Index were Seattle, Washington with a year-over-year increase of 6.40 percent; Las Vegas Nevada followed with year-over-year home price growth of 10.20 percent. San Diego, California had the third highest home price growth rate at 8.10 percent year-over-year.

The year-over-year percentage increase was 1.30 percent below the all-time high reading for the 20-City Index.

Home Price Growth, Sales Could Face Headwinds in 2018

David M. Blitzer, CEO of the S&P Indices Committee, said that 2018 may bring challenges to home price growth. Mr. Blitzer said that while strong labor markets, economic growth, and low mortgage rates were major factors driving home price growth, higher mortgage rates are expected next year. Rising rates would make buying a home less affordable for some. Home price growth continued to outstrip inflation and income growth.

Mr. Blitzer cited an Urban Institute report that indicated that high-priced metro areas may compel would-be home buyers to consider renting. High-demand metro areas are subject to high rates of buyer competition and bidding wars can drive affordable home prices beyond the reach of first-time and moderate-income buyers.  Significant numbers of buyers turning to rentals could drop the demand for homes and possible ease the rate of home price growth.

Analysts expected home prices to continue increasing due to low supplies and high demand. Millennials are entering their home-buying years and relatively low mortgage rates have supported affordability, but higher mortgage rates and continued competition from investors and cash buyers could stifle demand for homes in the new year.

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NAHB: Builder Confidence Outstrips Pre-Bubble Highs

Posted in Housing Market by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 20th, 2017

Home builders surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders expressed their highest level of confidence in housing markets since 1999. The index reading for housing market conditions in December hit 74, which exceeded November’s reading of 70. Analysts expected a flat reading of 70 for December. Readings over 50 indicate improvement in housing market conditions.

The three component readings used to comprise the Housing Market Index also rose in December. Builder confidence in current market conditions rose four points for a reading of 81; builder confidence in housing market conditions over the next six months rose three points to 79. Most surprising was the jump in builder confidence in buyer traffic levels in new housing developments. Traditionally, this reading rarely exceeded 50, but in November, it achieved the benchmark reading. December’s reading for buyer traffic gained eight points to 58. December’s reading for builder confidence in buyer traffic reached its highest level since 1999.

Home Builder Confidence Reflects Strong Economic Conditions

Strength in jobs markets and overall economic conditions drove builder confidence; home builders also cited potential tax breaks associated with pending tax legislation. Tariffs on Canadian lumber were cited as an obstacle to builder profits and increased prices.

High demand for homes caused by slim supplies of homes for sale continues to boost home prices. Real estate pros have said that increasing construction of single-family homes is the only way to correct the current imbalance between rapidly increasing home prices and challenges for first-time and moderate-income home buyers who cannot compete with cash buyers or afford rapidly rising home prices.

Builder Confidence Expands in All Regions

Builder confidence also rose according to the three-month rolling average for builder confidence in the four regions tracked by NAHB. The Northeastern region reported a one-point increase for a regional reading of 54.  Home builder confidence gained six points in the Midwestern region for a reading of 69. Home builders in the South reported a confidence reading of 72, which was three points higher than in November. Builders in the Western region reported a two-point gain in confidence with a reading of 79 in December.

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