Archives for September 2011

Mortgage application volume increases, reports MBA

Mortgage application volume was up again due in part to more refinancing activity.The Mortgage Bankers Association's most recent Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey showed a significant increase in home loan submissions, as more borrowers attempted to refinance their loans.The Market Composite Index, which gauges the volume of home loan submissions, was up 9.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. Unadjusted, the index grew 9.2 percent. The Refinance Index, which measures how many borrowers applied to adjust their current loan, increased 11.2 percent, while the Purchase Index was up 2.6 percent on an adjusted basis from the previous week.”With lower rates, refinance application volume increased to its highest level since August 19, 2011,” said MBA vice president of Research and Economics Michael Fratantoni. “Purchase application volume also increased. However, the increase was in conventional purchase applications, which were up by 4.9 percent.”The four-week averages for the Market and Refinance Indices were up, growing 1.96 percent and 2.60 percent, respectively. The average for the Purchase Index declined 0.18 percent.With more mortgage applications being submitted during the week, more sales of Houston properties may take place soon and further improve the region's real estate market.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

FHFA: Average mortgage rate declines during August

The FHFA reported that the average mortgage rates during August were down.According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the average interest rate of mortgages sold to government-sponsored enterprises fell during August, representing the fifth-straight month of declines.Overall, the interest rate averaged 4.56 percent during the month, down 1 basis point from July. In March, the rate averaged 4.84 percent, and has declined each month since.Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist and vice president, explained that the efforts of the Federal Reserve have helped pushed rates to lows not seen in a half-century. However, the Fed has offered to help even more, planning to purchase up to $400 billion in long-term Treasurys and new agency mortgage-backed securities beginning October 1. The Reserve believes doing so will allow rates to main at these historic lows.According to the FHFA report, the average rate for a 30-year fixed loan was 4.63 percent during August, down 6 basis points from July. For all fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, mortgages sold to GSEs was 4.52 percent, which fell 3 basis points from the previous months.With home loan rates remaining historically low, more Houston properties may be purchased in upcoming months, continuing the region's recent successful real estate run.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

Texas continues to lead country in job creation

According to a report, Texas leads the country in job creation.According to a recent report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, the state continues to lead the nation in terms of job creation, more than doubling the country's pace during the last year.The report explained that the state added 271,400 nonfarms jobs between August 2010 and 2011, which represents an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent, well ahead of the nation's average of 1 percent. In fact, the number of nonfarm jobs added in Texas accounted for 21.1 percent of the country's total during this period.According to the report, the state's private sector increased by 284,200 jobs, representing a 3.3 percent incline, compared to the country's 1.6 percent jump. Unemployment in the state reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 8.5 percent during August 2011, up from 8.3 percent the year before. Nationally, the jobless rate was down during August, falling from 9.5 percent to 9.1 percent.Outside of the information industry and the state's government sector, every other industry in Texas added jobs during the previous year, with the mining and logging sector creating the most jobs.With more jobs available, a greater number of consumers may now be interested in purchasing properties in the Dallas and Houston real estate sectors.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

Fixed-rate mortgages remain at or near historic lows

Mortgage rates continued to remain historically low recently.Freddie Mac's most recent Primary Mortgage Market Survey revealed that mortgage rates continued to remain close to historic lows for the second-straight week, which may prompt more potential homeowners into action.For the week ending September 22, the average rate was 4.09 percent for a 30-year fixed loan, the second-straight period the average remained at this record-low level. Compared to the same week the year before, the average is down from 4.37 percent. The rate for 15-year loans averaged 3.29 percent, falling from 3.30 percent the previous week and 3.82 percent the year before.”A sluggish economy and investor concerns over the European debt markets left mortgage rates largely unchanged this week,” said Freddie Mac chief economist and vice president Frank Nothaft. “The Federal Reserve Board reported that households lost nearly $150 billion in net worth in the second quarter, representing the first quarterly decline in a year.”Average rates for adjustable-rate mortgages grew during the week, as the rate for a five-year ARM was up from 2.99 percent the week before to 3.02 percent. Meanwhile, the rate for a one-year ARM averaged 2.82 percent, up from 2.81 percent the week before. Both rates were down from the year before.With mortgage rates continuing to decline, more consumers may look to purchase homes, which could signal even more sales for the Houston real estate market following a successful August.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

MBA: Mortgage application volume up as refinancings increase

Mortgage volumes increased during the most recent week.The Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 16 revealed the volume of home loan submissions increased as more homeowners attempted to refinance their mortgages.The Market Composite Index, which measures mortgage loan application volume, increased 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week. Unadjusted, the index was up 25.2 percent. The Refinance Index also grew, jumping 2.2 percent from the week before, while the Purchase Index was down 4.7 percent on an adjusted basis. Unadjusted the index increased 17.1 percent.The four-week averages for each of the indices decreased during the week, according to the report. The Market and Refinance Indices' four-week averages were down 3.15 percent and 0.54 percent, respectively, while the Purchase Index average fell 3.91 percent on an adjusted basis.Overall, refinance applications accounted for 78.3 percent of submissions, which is up from 76.8 percent the week before.With more mortgage applications being submitted, the Houston real estate market may conduct even more sales in September after sales increased in August.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

Mortgage delinquencies down, foreclosures steady in August

Mortgage delinquencies were down in August, while foreclosures held steady.A recent report from Lender Processing Services may serve as a point of optimism for the national real estate market, which has been marred by distressed properties and late mortgage payments in recent months.Overall, the report showed tha 8.13 percent of the nation's home loans were delinquent during August, representing a 2.5 percent decrease from July and an 11.8 percent decline from the previous year.In addition, the country's foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate remained relatively unchanged during the month, rising only 0.1 percent from July to 4.11 percent of all properties. This total is up 8.2 percent from August 2010, however.In all, the nation's foreclosure pre-sale inventory totaled 2.15 million properties during August. Factoring in properties that are 30 or more days delinquent, the total increased to 6.40 million units.Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois had the highest percentage of non-current loans during August, while Montana, Wyoming, Arkansas and North and South Dakota had the lowest percentage.In the Houston real estate market, distressed property sales accounted for 19.8 percent of all transactions during August, the Houston Association of Realtors recently reported.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

Homeownership still part of the American Dream for many

Owning a home remains part of the American Dream for many.According to a recent survey conducted by an online real estate company, owning a home remains a priority for many consumers who still consider it part of the American Dream.More than 2,000 adults over the age of 18 responded to the company's survey, 70 percent of whom claim homeownership is part of achieving their personal dream. This percentage is unchanged from a similar poll taken in January, despite the continued overall struggles of the national real estate market and economic strife experienced so far in 2011.The survey also discovered that 57 percent of current homeowners claim owning a property is the best long-term investment they could have made, ahead of contributing money to retirement accounts and 401(k) plans.Furthermore, 80 percent of respondents relayed their plans to purchase another home in the future, 69 percent of whom were adults over the age of 55.The lowest percentage of optimism regarding homeownership was among adults between ages 18 and 34, with 24 percent stating their American Dream does not include owning a property.Consumers in the South may regard homeownership as a priority, as the Houston real estate market recorded another stellar month in terms of sales and price increases during August, the Houston Association of Realtors recently reported.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

Housing starts, completions down on monthly basis

Residential construction figures showed various trends during August.According to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the pace of residential construction during August showed fluctuations in all areas.During August, the rate of building permits issued for privately owned homes increased by 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted pace of 620,000, surpassing July's revised rate of 601,000. In addition, the monthly pace was 7.8 percent better than the pace of 575,000 recorded in August 2010.Single-family authorizations during August also increased during August, growing 2.5 percent to an adjusted pace of 413,000. However, the pace for both starts and completions were lower.During August, privately owned home starts dropped 5 percent from July to an adjusted rate of 571,000. The total is also down 5.8 percent from the pace of 606,000 recorded in August 2010. Single-family starts fell 1.4 percent from July to an adjusted pace of 417,000.Private home completions settled at an adjusted pace of 623,000, which is 2.7 percent below July's rate and 2.6 percent behind the pace set in August 2010 of 607,000.In addition to slowed rates, home builder confidence declined slightly during August amid economic strife. However, in the Houston real estate market, sales may hold steady, as the local job market has continued to remain strong.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

More consumers opting for 15-year loans to refinance

For a variety of reasons, more consumers are choosing to refinance with 15-year mortgages.According to recent data, an increasing number of consumers have begun applying for 15-year home loans in place of the normal 30-year terms to refinance their mortgages.During August, according to figures accumulated by a mortgage website, the number of refinancing loan applications for 15-year mortgages increased 29 percent from the previous year. By comparison, 30-year home loan refinancing applications were up 12 percent.”It's all the trend right now,” Kristine Marr, a senior loan officer, told the Contra Costa Times. “Most borrowers are asking about switching to a 15-year-loan. Everybody's in a mood now to get those mortgages paid off. They want to see an end to those payments, and that's what's driving it.”While 15-year mortgages require larger monthly payments than 30-year terms, they can provide more savings in terms of interest payments.Another mortgage experts believes consumers have an eye on retirement when opting for 15-year terms, as many hope to build equity faster. Obtaining a 30-year loan when consumers are planning to retire in 20 years isn't a good investment, the expert told the news source.With interest rates for mortgages falling to record lows recently, and the local job market continuing to improve, more Houston properties may be sold soon.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

NAHB: Builder confidence unchanged during September

Confidence among home builders has not improved for a prolonged period of time.According to data recorded by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for September, confidence among builders in the new single-family market remained virtually unchanged during the month.Overall, confidence in the sector declined a single point to 14, which represents the sixth consecutive month the index has registered a reading between 13 and 16.”Very little has changed in terms of housing market conditions so far this year,” said NAHB chairman Bob Nielsen. “Builders continue to confront the same challenges in accessing construction credit, obtaining accurate appraisal values for new homes, and competing against foreclosed properties that they have seen for some time.”Nielsen referred to the recent Standard & Poor's credit downgrade and congressional gridlock on the budget deficit as reasons for lower builder and consumer confidence, as the economic strife continues.In the Houston real market, home sales and prices have held strong in recent months, as the region has continued to maintain a healthy job sector, prompting more interest in local properties.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

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