Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mortgage rates down after 8 weeks

Bankrate.com reports that as of May 24, 2006, "For the first time in two months, Bankrate.com's benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell. It went down 4 basis points to 6.69 percent".

And, their prediction for interest rates? "Many economists and mortgage bankers expect rates to generally rise the rest of this year, with the usual spikes and dips."

To read more: Bankrate.com May 24, 2006 interest rate report

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Home Buying in a Golf Community

Think high flying golf balls are your only consideration when buying in a golf community? Not so! Learn what you need to consider here: buying in a golf community

Thursday, May 25, 2006

On the road again ...

Traveling, in North Carolina. What a beautiful part of the country!

And, talking real estate! I'm told that there are more homes on the market this year than last year, but that good homes in desirable neighborhoods are still selling.

Getting the local perspective, the charm and the ambiance of the older construction is preferred over the newer developments. Updated older homes are even better. In many cases, the newer developments have replaced what was once farm land.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

National Association of Realtors® presents housing forecast

The National Association of Realtors® is predicting that 2006 will be the third best year on record for the housing market. Also being predicted for 2006 is a 30-year fixed rate mortgage level of 7% by summer, and a decline in the number of existing-home sales, new-home sales and housing starts.

To read more: May 2006 housing forecast

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Remodeling on the rise

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that their Remodeling Market Index (RMI) shows a growth in remodeling activity for the first quarter of 2006. "The current market conditions index increased from 46.6 to 48.1 and future expectations moved from 47.5 to 48.9." Further, Baby Boomers (ages 46 to 64) are doing most of the remodeling.

And, how were the results all around the country?
"Regionally, there was strong growth throughout the country except the West, though that area still remains well within the positive range. The Northeast’s current conditions increased by nearly 10 points from 41.6 to 51.1 and the future index jumped from 41.0 to 47.3. Current conditions increased in the Midwest from 41.1 to 44.3 with the future expectations increasing by .4 to 46.6."

To read more: NAHB remodeling report

Thursday, May 18, 2006

California foreclosures on the rise

Yet another sign of a changing/changed real estate market? DataQuick reports that "First-quarter foreclosure activity in California increased to the highest level in more than two years, the result of slower home price increases".

Having kept statistics since 1992, DataQuick notes that
* The lowest number of default notices were recorded in the third quarter of 2004
* The hightest number of default notices were recorded in the first quarter of 1996

To read more: California foreclosures

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Housing Starts

First on the subject of housing starts, the U.S. Census Bureau has released numbers showing privately-owned housing starts for April 2006 were down approximately 11% from the same time last year. The Census Bureau has additional April 2006 statistics available.

To read the press release: April 2006 residential construction U.S. Census Bureau. (Note that this is a pdf document and you will need Adobe Acrobat to open.)

Second, the National Association of Home Builders is forecasting a decline in housing starts for 2006.

To read more: NAHB housing starts

Sunday, May 14, 2006

California Housing Starts up in March

The California Building Industry Association reports that "single-family housing starts statewide climbed 15.3 percent in March compared to February's totals."

In a related statistic, it is reported that "builders pulled permits for 16,119 homes and apartments, up 0.6 percent from February and down 19.5 percent from March 2005."

To read more: California Building Industry Association March housing starts

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mortgage rates on hold

Bankrate.com reports that as of their May 10 survey, "For the first time since March 22, the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage did not rise. Instead, it held steady at 6.67 percent...One year ago the mortgage index was 5.84 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.56 percent."

Does this mean mortgage rates will not be affected by the recent action of the Federal Reserve? Bankrate.com states "The Fed's decision Wednesday afternoon doubtless will affect mortgage rates, but is not reflected in this week's Bankrate.com national survey. The poll of large lenders is conducted every Wednesday, starting in the morning and continuing until early afternoon. Most of this week's data were collected before the Fed announced its decision at 2:20 p.m. Eastern."

To read more: Bankrate.com

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Feds raise rates

For the 16th consecutive time, the Federal Reserve has raised rates. In their press release, the Federal Reserve states "The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to raise its target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 5 percent...The Committee sees growth as likely to moderate to a more sustainable pace, partly reflecting a gradual cooling of the housing market and the lagged effects of increases in interest rates and energy prices."

This move was widely expected. We will be closely watching mortgage interest rates in the coming weeks.

To read more: press release of the FRB

Monday, May 08, 2006

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) predicts "soft landing"

Citing "rising interest rates, affordability issues and a reduced role for investors/speculators", the NAHB is predicting a softening in the demand for housing.

As you may know, Wednesday is the day that the Federal Reserve meeting. The NAHB is predicting "Economists agreed that the Fed will raise its benchmark short-term rate to 5 percent at its May 10 meeting, which would be the 16th consecutive quarter-percentage point increase since the Fed started lifting it from 1 percent in June of 2004."

To read more: NAHB predicts soft landing

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mortgage Rates Increase Slightly

Bankrate.com reports that for the sixth consecutive week "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 3 basis points to 6.67 percent...One year ago, the mortgage index was 5.81 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.51 percent."

To read more: Bankrate.com

Friday, May 05, 2006

Pending Home Sales Down

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reports that "The Pending Home Sales Index,* based on contracts signed in March, eased 1.2 percent to a level of 116.2 from an index of 117.6 in February, and is 6.0 percent below March 2005."

The chief economist for the NAR attributes the decline to rising mortgage interest rates.

To read more: March 2006 Pending Home Sales

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mortgage Application Volume Declines

The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that for the week ending April 21, "The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 548.6, a decrease of 3.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 569.6 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 3.2 percent compared with the previous week and was down 22.4 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

"The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 36.7 percent of total applications from 36.4 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 28.2 percent of total applications from 28.9 percent the previous week."

To read more: Mortgage Application Volume week ending April 21, 2006