Low inventory is blamed for the pullback04/28/2017 | ConsumerAffairs
After surging to the highest level in nearly a year during February, pending home sales have slackened a bit.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports its Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) dipped 0.8% in March, with only the South registering an increase in contract signings.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun blames sparse inventories for the decline in the forward-looking indicator based on contract signings.
"Home shoppers are coming out in droves this spring and ...
Contract interest rates were headed lower last week04/26/2017 | ConsumerAffairs
A rebound in mortgage applications from the previous week's decline.
The Mortgage Bankers Association reports applications were up 2.7 percent in the week ending April 21, following a 1.8% dip a week earlier.
The Refinance Index shot up 7% taking the refinance share of mortgage activity to 44.0% of total applications from 42.4% the previous week. The average loan size for refinance applications increased to its highest level since September 2016, $266,900.
More are trying to buy homes but still face challenges10/19/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Since the housing crash eight years ago, it has been widely assumed that Millennials, who were just coming of age at that time, would be a generation of renters.
After all, lenders wanted sterling credit scores and ample down payments before agreeing to a mortgage. Many young people did well just to find a job.
But today, it's Millennials who are driving the housing market. A report by real estate marketplace Zillow shows first-time home buyers, overwhelmingly Millennials...
After already steep climbs, Seattle renters could face another 7% rise10/07/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Home prices have risen the fastest in the major Western U.S. markets, so it shouldn't come as a shock that rents in these metros are rising as well. The latest report from real estate marketplace Zillow suggests there's no relief in sight for some of these Western renters.
Rents are up generally because more consumers are renting instead of buying. That increases competition for apartments and condos and single-family homes on the rental market.
In the West, there's anoth...
Have an open house but don't hang around for it05/15/2015 | ConsumerAffairs
Lettiann Southerland is a Kansas City area real estate agent and a foodie. Despite the fact those two things have little in common, she has combined them in a new book, "Homes that Cook: Best Kept Secrets for Buying, Selling and Creating a Home."
The book offers tips for selling your home but also includes more than 100 pages of recipes and cooking tips.
"I have taken two very happy areas of my life and combined them in a book of real estate buying and selling tips along ...
Zillow survey finds savvy consumers are keeping their options open11/02/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
If you are planning to rent a home, expect some extra competition. A new survey from real estate marketplace Zillow shows more potential homebuyers, perhaps growing frustrated at the lack of available homes, are considering renting instead.
That means consumers who have no alternative but to rent will go head to head with consumers who have the means to buy a home but have decided to keep their options open and rent a place for a while longer.
Zillow has broken down the i...
The future also shows promise11/17/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
It's almost as if you could hear the hammering and earth-moving without let-up last month.
Figures released by the Commerce Department show construction of privately-owned housing shot up 25.5% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,323,000. That rate is also 23.3% higher than October 2015.
The increase was broad-based, with the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West rising 44.8%, 44.1%, 17.9%, and 23.2%, respectively.
Groundbreaking for single-family housing ju...
Zillow reports rents rose 1.7% compared to 5% for home prices09/23/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Many Millennials have been caught in a housing squeeze. Unable to buy a home, they've been forced to remain renters. But in the wake of the housing crisis, when demand for rental property skyrocketed, so did rents. And as rents rose year after year, it was harder to get ahead.
However, there's finally some good news. Real estate marketplace Zillow reports rents are still rising, but not as fast as home values are.
In August 2015, rents were up an average of 6% over 2014 l...
Rising rents and tighter inventory are big factors07/29/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Since the housing bubble burst, fewer Americans have been buying homes.
First it was because it was so much harder to qualify for a mortgage and so many people were out of work. Then it was because there were fewer homes for sale.
Now, the U.S. Census Bureau reports homeownership in the U.S. is at its lowest level since 1965, when the median priced U.S. home was $21,000.
The Census Bureau tracks the percentage, not the actual number. In the second quarter of this year, the...
Deduction for middle class homeowners would be capped at $5,000 per year05/04/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Suburban areas across America are dotted with one subdivision after another, where residents are required to belong to a homeowner association (HOA). Residents pay a fee and, in return, receive some level of services.
It might be something as simple as maintenance of common areas. In some communities, the fee might take care of amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts. In some developments, the HOA has responsibility for repairing and maintaining roads.
In other wo...
Portland, Seattle, and Denver led the way10/25/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Home prices continued their gains in August on both an annual and month-to-month basis.
According to the S&P; CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, was up 5.3% from the same time a year ago.
The 10-City Composite showed a 4.3% annual gain, while the 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year advance of 5.1%.
Portland, Seattle, and Denver reported the highest year-over-year increases among the 20 cities ...
Contract interest rates were the highest in several months10/19/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
The Mortgage Bankers Association is reporting a slight uptick of 0.6% in new mortgage applications in the week ending October 14. The tally includes an adjustment for the Columbus Day holiday.
The Refinance Index, on the other hand, dipped 1% from the previous week, with the refinance share of mortgage activity dropping to 61.5% of total applications from 62.4% a week earlier.
The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity was unchanged at 4.1% of total applications...
Contract interest rates were mixed10/26/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Following a move -- albeit small -- to higher ground the previous week, mortgage applications posted a decline of 4.1% in the week ending October 21.
The Mortgage Bankers Association also reports the Refinance Index dropped 2% from the previous week, although the refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 62.7% of total applications from 61.5% a week earlier.
The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity came in at 4.2% of total applications, the FHA share i...
Prices of all homes continued climbing10/26/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
New home sales have rebounded from the sharp decline they posted in August.
Figures released by the Commerce Department show sales jumped 3.1% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000. The increase also puts sales 29.8% above the rate of 457,000 chalked up a year earlier.
The median sales price -- the point at which half cost more and half less -- was $313,500, up $19,700 from August and $5,900 from September 2015. The average sales price was $377,700, ...
Sales are now at their fifth highest level over the past year10/27/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Following a drop of 2.5% in August, pending home sales have climbed to their their fifth highest level over the past year.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that increases in the South and West helped push its Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, up 1.5% in September to 110.0.
The index has now risen year-over-year for 22 of the last 25 months and is up 2.4% from the same time a year ago.
“Buyer demand is ...
The market has grown for the last ten quarters11/08/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
The market for 55+ housing continued to perk along in the third quarter.
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), its 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI) rose two points in the July-September period for a reading of 59. That marks the 10th consecutive quarter with a reading above 50, which indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.
"The 55+ housing market continues on a steady path toward recovery, much like the overall housing market...
The number of initial jobless claims is lower12/15/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes wrapped up 2016 on a high note.
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), the level of confidence shot up seven points to a level of 70 in December -- the highest reading since July 2005.
“This notable rise in builder sentiment is largely attributable to a post-election bounce, as builders are hopeful that President-elect Trump will follow throug...