Archives for February 2013

Loan application volume slips in February’s final full week

Home loan application activity dipped 4 percent for the week ending February 22.Mortgage activity wasn't quite as robust as it's been in the past on a national level, as a new report indicates that fewer applications were submitted recently.According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, the total?loan volume fell 3.8 percent for the week ending February 22.Among those who were making home payment related decisions, many of them were refinancing to today's record-low rates. MBA notes that roughly 77 percent of total applications were refinance-related, on par with where the percentage was in the previous week.Whether it's among individuals refinancing their Houston homes or at some other location, it's hard to find fault with people adjusting their interest rates. For the same week, 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.5 percent with an average 0.8, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey. That's four-tenths of a percent lower than at the same time last year.Fifteen-year amortization periods tend to be popular with homeowners refinancing. Rates remained in bottom-dwelling territory, averaging 2.7 percent from 3.1 percent through the corresponding seven-day period in 2012.
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MBA: Foreclosures hit four-year low

Mortgage delinquencies hit their lowest level since 2008 in the fourth quarter.Fewer people experienced foreclosure in the final three months of 2012, according to a new report from one of the foremost real estate industry sources.According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage delinquencies in the fourth quarter dipped more than 7 percent from the previous three-month period, which runs counter to what typically happens in the third and fourth quarters. In fact, the dip was so significant, it's the lowest delinquency rate seen since 2008, dropping 31 basis points from the third quarter and nearly 50 from the October to December of the previous year.In addition, the serious delinquency rate – which?includes?loans that are three months or more past their payment due dates – also fell, down 25 points from 2012's penultimate quarter and 95 basis points from the same period in 2011.”We are seeing large improvements in mortgage performance nationally and in almost every state,” said Jay Brinkmann, chief economist and senior vice president of research at MBA.One of these states is Texas, specifically the Houston real estate scene. In its January report, the Houston Association of Realtors notes there were fewer foreclosure property sales in the month, down 12 percent from the same time last year.
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U.S. government makes millions of dollars available to low-income, disabled homeowners

Federal grant may help millions of low-income or disabled Americans avoid foreclosure.In an effort to ensure that people with severe disabilities don't lose their homes to foreclosure due to an inability to work, the federal government has made $98 million of funding available to more than a dozen housing agencies throughout the country.According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as the Department of Health and Human Services, 13 state housing agencies have been bestowed grants, which are to be made available to people who qualify for assistance due to disability or extremely limited income.Individuals who earn less than 30 percent of the national median income – which is approximately $52,000 – may be eligible for the assistance if they need it.Shaun Donovan, HUD secretary, noted these services are a lifeline to many people in the U.S. who are struggling.”By working together, HUD and HHS are helping states to offer permanent housing and critically needed supportive services to offer real and lasting assistance to persons who might otherwise be institutionalized or living on our streets.”A substantial amount of this funding will go toward Houston homes. Approximately $12 million of the federal grant was given to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Tim Irvine, executive director of the TDHCA, said the funding will go to good in use in helping to lower the rate of homelessness in the city.
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Survey: Homeowners place high priority on energy efficiency

Energy concerns are apparent for many homeowners based on buying preferences.A new report indicates that many homeowners are trading in lavish amenities for features that they'll put to better use, particularly as they relate to conserving energy.According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, it appears that the rocky economic climate may be having an effect on what homeowners want to add to their properties. For example, NAHB found that more consumers are interested in Energy Star appliances, which can shave hundreds of dollars off of utility bills in the average year. They're also out to improve?the efficiency of their laundry rooms, a portion of the house that requires a lot of energy to power the washing machine and dryer.Meanwhile, they're largely spurning additions that tend to be found only in luxury-style homes. NAHB says that golf course homes and elevators have lost favor among many homeowners.More than anything else, the study found that today's residential property owners want to heighten their home's efficiency by utilizing appliances that require less electricity.According to efficiency management and software provider EnergySavvy, more than half of residences in Texas, which includes Houston homes, were built before 1980. Since then, builders have used materials in home construction projects that help homeowners better conserve energy.
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National home value measures all in the black for 2012, S&P reveals

Atlanta was one of several cities that witnessed strong home price gains in 2012.The leading measure of U.S. home prices corroborates the fact that the housing market in 2012 closed out the year with flying colors.According to Standard and Poor's/Case-Schiller Home Price Indices, all three of its measurements – the national composite, as well as the 10- and 20-city composites – finished in positive territory, each of which was up more than 5 percent in year-over-year gains.David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones, indicated that much of the improvements made in the national economic picture in 2012 derived from the nation's housing climate, particularly in the year's closing months.”Housing and residential construction lead the economy in the 2012 fourth quarter,” said Blitzer. “In December's report all three headline composites and 19 of the 20 cities gained over their levels of a year ago. Month-over-month, nine cities and both composites posted positive monthly gains.”Some of the most significant increases were in metro areas like Atlanta and Detroit, posting annual home price increases of 13.6 and 10 percent, respectively.Houston homes know something about flourishing. Sales of Houston properties “never let up” in 2012, as the Houston Association of Realtors notes, with home values increasing throughout the 12-month period.
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‘Best Jobs’ report loaded with Texas representation

Lots of good jobs opportunities to be had in Texas, Forbes Magazine says.As Americans look for a new job or try to find alternative employment, they may want to try their hand in the Lone Star State, as many Texas?metro areas made Forbes Magazine's “Best Cities for Good Jobs” list.Recently, the business news magazine released its annual report detailing which parts of the country are the most ideal for employment seekers. Of the top 10, half are in Texas, with Dallas first overall, immediately followed by Houston. The city of Austin finished in the third position, with Fort Worth and San Antonio in fourth and sixth, respectively.The report notes that one of the main reasons the employment market is so beneficial in Houston has to do with its booming oil sector, which has brought more demand for workers who are involved in energy.The strong Houston real estate climate has also contributed to Texas' strong economy. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the unemployment rate in the Lone Star State is 6.1 percent and 6 percent in the Bayou City specifically.
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New-home sales jump as inventory levels dwindle

New-homes sales jump nearly 16 percent in January.On the heels of a report showing that existing-home sales improved in January, another analysis shows that new-home sales grew last month as well.According to a joint release issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, newly constructed single-family home purchases increased nearly 16 percent in January,?to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000 in the first month of the year. It's believed to be the fastest rate of home sales since the summer of 2008.Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, noted that this is yet another sign that the market is back from the brink.”The surge in demand for new homes this January is an excellent sign that the housing recovery is gaining steam and helping put more people back to work,” said Judson.He added that tight credit restrictions are preventing the housing market from mounting a more significant recovery.David Crowe, chief economist at NAHB, indicated that the nation's low housing supply may have an effect as well, as supply has had trouble keeping up with demand. Inventory levels amount to approximately four months worth.Demand has been even heavier in the Houston real estate sector. Recent data from the Houston Association of Realtors shows that based on the current sales pace, the city has an inventory level of 3.6 months – the lowest level in more than 13 years.
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Country’s largest residence resumes construction

Florida has what is believed to be the largest home in the country.For Houston residents with deep pockets, a housing project in Florida may give them an idea of the type of property they'd like to have built for them in the Lone Star State.According to NBC News, developers have recommenced construction on what is believed to be the largest home in the U.S. – a 90,000-square-foot mansion located in Windermere, which boasts a 30-car garage, 10 bathrooms, a roller skating rink, three pools, two tennis courts and a bowling alley.The news source notes that the economic crisis and foreclosure fallout of the housing collapse forced the homeowner, business magnate David Siegel, to put a pause on its construction. But an improved marketplace has allowed?production to continue.”We never set out to build the biggest house in America,” Jackie Siegel, the Miami mogul's wife, told NBC News' “Today.” “It just kinda happened.”Once they move into the new residence, it will be a step-up from their previous digs that weren't quite as spacious at 26,000-square-feet, NBC reports.The Houston real estate scene already has its fair share of luxury homes. Recent data from the Census Bureau shows that Texas' largest city has the fifth-largest concentration of upper-income homeowners in the U.S.
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Permit issuance peaks in Houston

Construction activity was robust in Houston last year.A new Houston real estate report gives fuel to the notion that everything really is bigger in Texas.According to real estate statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and a Texas-based real estate consulting firm, more single-family housing permits were produced in Houston than in any other market in 2012, totaling nearly 28,600 overall. The second-highest was Dallas in a distant second at 12,623.In fact, of all the metro areas that were tracked, roughly one-fourth of them were in the Lone Star State, as Austin and Fort Worth also made the list.Phoenix, Atlanta and Washington rounded out the top five metro areas where the most permits for construction companies were produced.At the national level, housing permit issuance picked up in the first month of the year. According to the Commerce Department, permits increased nearly 2 percent for single-family units, totaling 584,000 on a seasonally adjusted annual basis and by 925,000 when including multi-family. That's the highest number of permits issued in one month since 2008.Housing starts, however, dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 890,000 for the first month of the year.Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

January existing-home sales tick higher nationwide

Existing-home sales fared positively in January.While January is typically a slow period for real estate transactions, they were fairly common place this year, a new report suggests.According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales grew in January, totaling 4.9 million properties?- a 9 percent increase when contrasted with the same period last year.Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, illustrated just how ahead of the pace home sales are this year versus 2012.”Buyer traffic is 40 percent above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand,” said Yun.?He added that what hasn't been moving at the same pace is inventory, which suggests that the market has transitioned to one that favors sellers as well as buyers.As for the national median existing-home prices for all housing types, values stood at $173,600 in January, up more than 12 percent from one year ago.Houston homes are faring better price wise, with average values jumping 3.4 percent in the first month of the year from 2012 to nearly $200,300 – that's the highest number ever recorded in Houston for January.
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