Archives for August 2013

Houston home development rapid, but still faces obstacles

Relaxed zoning laws allows local real estate developers to break ground at a rapid pace.In the wake of the national real estate market collapse, Houston homes escaped relatively unscathed. This allowed many residents to make the transition to homeownership by capitalizing on rock-bottom mortgage rates, while developers continued to break ground on new projects.According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, much of this success was the result of an ample amount of land ready for development throughout the greater metropolitan area. In addition, relaxed zoning laws?allowed builders to keep up with demand throughout the Houston real es​tate market with relative ease.”The reason housing was so cheap in Houston was the abundance of land,” Stephen Klineberg, co-director of Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research, told the newspaper. “It's flat. We are 50 miles from any natural barrier in any direction. There are no trees. It's a developer's dream.”However, this doesn't mean there aren't a few obstacles to deal with.?For example, although there is a sizable amount of land ready for projects, many of these lots have yet to be fitted with sewers, utilities and even roads for construction vehicles to get to the work sites. Luckily, according to the Houston Association of Realtors, buyers in the city currently have a 3.3-month property supply to work with as developers work to alleviate these issues.Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Existing-home sales surge nationally

Home sales picked up as mortgage rates moved higherThe Houston real estate market wasn't the only one to post a strong July, as national existing sales had the strongest month since 2009.With rising mortgage rates drawing buyers into the market, total existing-home sales increased 6.5 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors.?”If you look at housing affordability it's still very attractive,” Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies LLC, told Bloomberg. “I do think we'll see improvement continue but at a little bit of a slower pace as the year progresses, and frankly that's probably a healthy sign.”In addition to higher interest rates, an increasing inventory of homes available for sale likely aided the sales increase. Total housing inventory jumped 5.6 percent in July, representing a 5.1-month supply at the current sales rate.?More for sale homes can lead to additional purchases as buyers have more options available and are able to avoid serious bidding wars.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Houston real estate market remains hot in July

Houston housing market continues strong recovery.The Houston real estate market has been one of the strongest in the country, and it continued to move forward in July.?Contracts closed on 7,704 single-family homes, up 23.3 percent year-over-year and the highest one-month sales volume of all-time, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.?More homes are being listed as well, which could help further boost sales activity in the coming months. July saw inventory levels reach a 3.4-month supply, up from a 3.3-month supply in?June.?”July was another off-the-chart month for home sales, and it really comes as no surprise given the additional job growth and other strong economic conditions that continue to draw more people to the greater Houston area,” said HAR chairman Danny Frank.?Part of the reason home sales may have surged was rising mortgage rates, which forced many buyers off the sidelines out of fear rate would move too high. The week ending August 15 saw rates settle, according to Freddie Mac, which could draw even more people into the marketReal Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

High consumer confidence could fuel homebuying in Houston

Homebuying may pick up across the countryWith consumers feeling confident in the economy, and mortgage rates settling from recent surges, homebuying activity in Houston could pick up in the coming months.?Despite a drop from a six-year high, consumer confidence remained at a high level in early August. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary reading on overall consumer sentiment was 80, down from 85.1 in the previous month.?Survey director Richard Curtin said the majority of consumers continue to believe economic expansion is in the future, and rising home values will aid confidence.?Coupled with higher confidence levels, mortgage rates that have settled from severe spikes in the past couple of months may also fuel homebuying, as consumers attempt to take advantage of affordable rates before they start rising again.?The week ending August 15 saw the average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage edge up slightly to 3.44 percent, while 30-year FRMs were unchanged at 4.4 percent, according to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

New home construction may pick up in Houston

Houston could see higher home sales with construction picking up.The Houston real estate market may experience increased levels of new home construction, as builders were more confident in August.?Confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes jumped three points to 59 in August, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. This was the fourth straight?monthly?increase, and the?highest level reached?in close to eight years.?”Builders are seeing more motivated buyers walk through their doors than they have in quite some time,” said NAHB chairman Rick Judson. “What's more, firming home prices and thinning inventories of homes for sale are contributing to an increased sense of urgency among those who are in the market.”It appears as though the shortage of existing homes has already pushed the level of new home construction up, as housing completions edged up 1.8 percent in July when compared to the previous month and 15 percent year-over-year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development noted.?As more homes hit the market, inventory levels should balance out, which can lead to heightened buying activity in Houston – and the rest of the country.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Housing affordability slips in Q2

Affordability in the housing market is down.Home buyers in the Houston real estate market may have experienced higher costs when purchasing a property, as national affordability dropped in the second quarter.?The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index revealed 69.3 percent of new and existing homes sold between April and June were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $64,400, down from 73.7 percent in the previous quarter.?”Rising home prices signal the improving health in housing markets, and the median price of all new and existing U.S. homes sold in this year's second quarter, at $202,000, was well ahead of the second quarter 2012 median price of $185,000,” said?NAHB?chief economist David Crowe. “Together with rising mortgage rates, this contributed to affordability slipping to the lowest level in more than four years.”Despite lower affordability, buyers may still be jumping into the market to secure a mortgage before rates rise too high. The past couple of months have seen steep increases, but recent speculation that the Federal Reserve will taper in its upcoming monetary policy meeting has kept rates in check in early August, Freddie Mac reported.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Mortgage activity falls to begin August

Application volume declined to begin August.Activity in the Houston real estate market likely declined?at the beginning of August, as mortgage application dropped.?The total number of applications submitted decreased 4.7 percent in the week ending August 9 from the previous seven-day period, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. This dip was fueled by fewer purchase and refinance applications, dropping 4 percent and 5 percent, respectively.?With mortgage rates settling after a few months of increases, activity could begin to pick up again in the coming weeks and months.?Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft?said rates were relatively unchanged in the week ending August 8, following the poor July job's report.?”Mortgage rates were relatively unchanged following a mixed employment report for July,” Nothaft said. “Even though the unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent in July, which was the lowest since December 2008, the economy added only 161,000 jobs, short of the market consensus forecast.”The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged up to 4.4 percent, while 15-year FRMs didn't move from the previous weeks average of 2.84 percent.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

HAMP continues to aid homeowners

Foreclosures are less of an issue with federal program providing aid to homeowners.Homeowners in the Houston real estate market likely continued to receive aid from the Home Affordable Modification Program in July, which may have helped prevent additional foreclosures.?More than 1.2 million permanent modifications have taken place through HAMP, saving borrowers around $547 each month, according to the latest Obama Administration?Housing Scorecard released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.”The Administration's HAMP program has provided direct assistance to more than one million homeowners while creating standards that have helped millions more,” said Treasury assistant secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad.Massad added that the foreclosure problem would be much worse without the assistance provided by HAMP and other federal housing programs.?It appears as though these programs have worked, as foreclosure filings totaled just higher than 800,000 in the first half of the year, a 19 percent drop from the previous six months, RealtyTrac's Midyear U.S. Foreclosure Market Report revealed.?With fewer foreclosures, the Houston, and national, real estate markets will be much?healthier moving forward.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Home value appreciation to close year strong

Inventory levels may rise with home prices jumping.Homeowners in the Houston (http://www NULL.zillow NULL.com/houston-tx/home-values/) real estate market are likely to see the values of their homes rise in 2013, with appreciation expected to end the year high.?More than 100 forecasters who responded to the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey said appreciation, on average, will reach 6.7 percent by year’s end, up from the previous projection of 5.4 percent.?”Short-term expectations for home value appreciation through the end of this year are consistent with a nationwide housing market recovery that is both strengthening and widening, but still coping with high levels of negative equity, high demand and low inventory,” said Zillow senior economist Svenja Gudell.?As home values rise, more homeowners may be willing to list their properties, which could help relieve the inventory shortage. At the end of June, total housing inventory was at 2.19 million existing homes available for sale, up 1.9 percent from the previous month, but down 7.6 percent year-over-year.?With the potential for more homes on the market, sales activity could pick up in the coming months.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Home prices rise nationally in June

Houston real estate market likely saw prices rise.Homeowners in the Houston real estate market likely saw the value of their?properties rise in June, with prices jumping markedly across the country.?CoreLogic's June Home Price Index revealed a 1.9 percent bump from the previous month and an 11.9 percent year-over-year increase, marking the 16th consecutive month of gains.?”The U.S. housing market experienced robust price appreciation during the first half of 2013 and our forecast calls for double-digit growth through July,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Despite their rebound of late, home prices remain reasonable in a historical context, with most states near peak affordability levels.”Moving forward, prices are projected to rise 1.3 percent on a monthly basis in July and 12.5 percent when compared to the same time a year ago.?Part of the reason prices are on the rise is the fact that there is a limited number of homes available for sale. According to the National Association of Realtors, inventory was 7.6 percent below the same time a year ago in June.?With few homes available for sale, bidding wars can occur, which pushes sales prices higher.?Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

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