Archives for July 2013

Houston area home prices likely increased in May

Rising home prices could benefit Houston homeowners.Homeowners in the Houston real estate market likely saw the value of their homes rise in May, with prices rising by the most since 2006.The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices revealed increases for the 10- and 20-city composites of 2.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Dallas and Denver?surpassed?pre-recession highs.?”Home prices continue to strengthen,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at?S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Two cities set new highs, surpassing their pre-crisis levels and five cities -?Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle – posted monthly gains of over three percent,?also a first time event.”Price gains aren't expected to stop in May. Anika Khan, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities, told Bloomberg upward momentum should continue with historically low inventory levels.?Home price appreciation could help solve the inventory problem, as higher home values could push more homeowners to list their properties as they regain equity lost during and after the financial crisis.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Rising mortgage rates hurt pending home sales in June

Pending sales dropped in June.The near two months of mortgage rate increases finally caught up to the housing market in June, as pending home sales dipped slightly.?The Pending Home Sales Index dropped 0.4 percent to 110.9 from 111.3?the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors. When compared to a year ago, the PHSI was up 10.9 percent.?Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said rising mortgage rates and the lack of inventory impacted sales levels.?”Mortgage interest rates began to rise in May, taking some of the momentum out of contract activity in June,” he said. “The persistent lack of inventory also is contributing to lower contract signings.”With the Midwest experiencing a 1 percent drop in pending sales, the Houston real estate market was likely impacted. The West was the only region with growth in June, posting a 3.3 percent improvement.?However, July could prove to be a different story, with mortgage rates falling. Freddie Mac reported fixed rates dropped for the second consecutive week in the seven-day period ending July 25.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

High consumer confidence levels could boost housing activity in Houston

Home sales may rise with confidence levels high.The Houston real estate market has been strong for the past couple of years, and higher levels of consumer confidence could help boost home sales activity in the area.?The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index on consumer sentiment hit 85.1 in July, from 84.1 in the previous month. This level was higher than expected as economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a reading of 84.?”The labor market's better, you're seeing home prices rise, you're seeing equity prices rise, so there are a lot of things out there to be positive about,” Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale, told Bloomberg. “If you think about the things that drive consumer confidence, they should be rising as well through the end of the year.”June was a strong month for the Houston real estate market, and July could end up being even better with confidence levels high. According to the Houston Association of Realtors, home sales jumped 13.4 percent year-over-year in June, which is the third highest one-month volume of all-time.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

New homes purchased at a higher rate in June

New homes sales increased significantly in June.With limited existing inventory, new home sales might have picked up in the Houston real estate market during June.Nationally, sales levels reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 497,000, an 8.3 percent bump from the previous month and 38.1 percent year-over-year increase, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. New sales came in higher than expected, as economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a gain to 484,000.”It's a builders market,” Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, told Bloomberg. “The housing market is poised for further gains and is a key component of the U.S. recovery overall.”With mortgage rates on the rise for much of the past couple of months, it wouldn't have been a surprise to see sales fall slightly, but that wasn't the case. In fact, higher interest rates actually pushed sales up, as buyers attempted to enter the market before affordability takes a major hit.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Rising prices could aid homeowners in Houston real estate market

Home prices continued to rise in May.With home prices on the rise, property owners in the Houston real estate market might be regaining positive equity.?U.S. home price appreciation showed no signs of slowing down in May, with a 0.7 percent bump from the previous month and 7.3 percent year-over-year increase, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index.?In addition to allowing homeowners to regain equity?on their mortgages, rising home prices could lead to more properties?going on the market. In fact, total housing inventory in June increased 1.9 percent to 2.9 million existing homes, the National Association of Realtors reported.?However, inventory levels were still well below that seen a year ago. Current levels represent a 5.2-month supply, while June 2012 had a 6.4-month supply.?”Inventory conditions will continue to broadly favor sellers and contribute to above-normal price growth,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR vice president and chief economist.?Despite the fact that inventory remains below that seen a year ago, Houston's real estate market could benefit greatly from rising prices and more homes available for sale.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Houston home sales surge in June

Houston continues to see a housing recovery.June proved to be another strong month for the Houston real estate market, with home sales increasing markedly.?A total of 7,220 single-family homes were sold in June, a 13.4 percent year-over-year improvement and the third highest one month volume of all-time, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.?However, inventory levels didn't improve?as they were unchanged from the previous month at a 3.3-months supply, down from 5.5-months a year ago and 3.6-months at the beginning of the year.?”The Houston housing market plowed full-steam ahead through another month and most Realtors I know have never been busier,” said HAR chairman Danny Frank with Prudential Anderson Properties. “The fact that inventory has leveled off month-over-month suggests that we may finally be starting to see enough homes listed for sale to keep up with demand.”More new homes could penetrate the Houston real estate market in the near future, and help boost inventory levels and sales, as builder confidence jumped six points in July, the National Association of Home Builders noted.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Mortgage rates edge higher once again, potentially impacting the Houston real estate market

Mortgage rates could hurt Houston real estate.After months of hitting all-time lows, fixed mortgage rates have been soaring higher, and that trend continued in early July, which could have an impact on activity in the Houston real estate market.?The average 15- and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased in the week ending July 11 as a result of market speculation that the Federal Reserve will reduce future bond purchases, according to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey.?Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's vice president and chief economist, said June's strong employment report had a major impact on the Fed's decision.?”June's strong employment led to more market speculation that the Federal Reserve will reduce future bond purchases causing bond yields to rise and mortgage rates followed,” Nothaft said. “The economy gained 195,000 jobs in June, above the market consensus forecast, while revisions to the prior two months added 70,000 on top of that.”With fixed rates moving higher, applications for new home purchases dropped in June, the Mortgage Bankers Association Builder Application Survey revealed. Should rates continue to rise, buyer activity in Houston could decline.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

High confidence levels could lead to elevated housing activity

Home buying levels could pick up in the coming months.With consumer confidence levels remaining high in July, more homes could be purchased in the Houston real estate market.?The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary reading on the overall index of consumer sentiment dipped slightly in July to 83.9, lower than the forecast of 85. The index measuring current conditions jumped to a six-year high, with stock prices nearing record highs.?Gennadiy Goldberg, strategist at TD Securities Inc, told Bloomberg the drop in sentiment levels shouldn't be of concern.?”It's a slip in confidence from recent highs rather than the start of a new downward,” Goldberg said. “As we get later in the year and the economy improves, consumers will start to see better numbers and they'll notice that.”Another measure of confidence was more optimistic, as the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index increased to minus-27.3 in the week ending July 7 – the highest level in more than give years.?Though mortgage rates have been on the rise for the past couple of months, elevated confidence levels could push home sales levels up in Houston as affordability remains high.Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Mortgage application volume declines to begin July

Mortgage application volume declined in the first week of July.Activity in the Houston real estate market likely slowed to start July, as mortgage application volume dropped.?Both requests for purchases and refinancing declined in the week ending July 5, which led to a 4 percent decrease in the Market Composite Index, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.?The Refinance Index dipped 4 percent from the previous week, bringing down the refi share of all activity to 64 percent. Meanwhile, the Purchase Index was down 3 percent in the same period, as mortgage rates have been rising.?Despite fewer purchase applications, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft?said affordability remains high, so buying activity could pick up in the near future.?”Fixed mortgage rates fell over the holiday week as market concerns over the timing of the Federal Reserve's pullback in bond purchases eased somewhat.,” Nothaft?said. “Rates are still low by historical standards and should continue to aid in housing affordability and the ongoing recovery of the housing market.”Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Foreclosure inventory declines markedly in May

Foreclosures are down across the country in May.Homeowners in the Houston real estate market likely have become better at making on-time mortgage payments, with the national foreclosure inventory showing a marked decline in May.?The U.S. foreclosure inventory stood at 1 million homes at the end of May, down from 1.4 million a year ago at this time, which represents a 29 percent year-over-year decline, according to CoreLogic's National Foreclosure Report. The number of seriously delinquent homes decreased as well, to fewer than 2.3 million – the lowest level since December 2008.?”The stock of seriously delinquent homes, which is the main driver of shadow inventory, is at the lowest level since December 2008,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Over the last year it has decreased in 42 states by double-digit figures, resulting in rapid declines in shadow inventory for the first quarter of 2013.”Home value appreciation has been one of the driving factors behind the easing foreclosure problem, as more homeowners have been able to regain positive equity as a result. May proved to be another strong month for values, as they jumped 5.4 percent year-over-year.?Overall, fewer foreclosures and higher home values leads to a healthier Houston real estate market.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

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