Posts Tagged ‘National Association of Realtors’

Home sales fall, despite uptick in 1st-time buyers

First-time homebuyers rise but not enough to lift the weak housing market

ap

Derek Kravitz, AP Real Estate Writer, On Thursday May 19, 2011, 3:56 pm EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people purchased previously occupied homes in April, a troubling sign that the weak housing market remains a drag on the economy.

Sales fell 0.8 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million units, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That’s far below the 6 million homes a year that economists say represents a healthy market.

Purchases made by first-time homebuyers did increase but not nearly enough to signal a housing recovery is on the way. First-time buyers are critical because they typically improve their properties and invest in their communities, a combination that helps home values rise.

Foreclosures, on the other hand, force prices down. They represented more than a third of all sales in April and more are expected in the months ahead.

Since the housing boom went bust, sales have fallen in four of the past five years and hit a 13-year low last year. Declining home prices and low mortgage rates haven’t been enough to boost sales this year.

Some who want to buy can’t, mostly because banks have tightened lending requirements and are insisting on larger down payments. Many buyers who can qualify for loans are holding off. They are worried that home prices have yet to bottom out.

Economists say it could be years before the housing market fully recovers.

A growing problem is that some sales that are under contract are falling apart. A separate survey from the trade group found 11 percent of Realtors said a contract was canceled because an appraisal came in below the negotiated price. And 14 percent said a contract was renegotiated to a lower price because of a low appraisal.

The median sales price in April was $163,700. That’s down 5 percent from the same month one year ago. The median price of a new home is now nearly 31 percent higher than the median price for a previously occupied home — or twice the normal markup.

The gap is largely because of the flood of foreclosures or short sales — when the lender accepts less than what is owed on the mortgage. Those sales are forcing down prices.

Sales of homes at risk of foreclosure fell in April. But they still made up 37 percent of all purchases. And a large number of pending foreclosures are backlogged in the courts or held up by state and federal probes into troubled foreclosure practices by lenders.

A record 1 million homes were lost to foreclosures last year and foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac Inc. expects 1.2 million more will be lost this year.

Another problem for the housing market is the glut of unsold homes. In April, the supply rose to nearly 3.9 million. At last month’s sales pace, it would take more than 9 months to clear those homes. Analysts say a healthy supply can be cleared in six months.

The increase in unsold inventory “should continue to weigh on prices,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak + Co.

The situation is much worse when taking into account the “shadow inventory” of homes, economists say. These are homes that are in the early stages of the foreclosure process but, because of backlogged courts or the government probes, have not hit the market for re-sale.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said Monday that about 8.3 percent of homeowners missed at least one mortgage payment in the January-March quarter when adjusted for seasonal factors. That’s up 0.7 percent from the previous quarter.

Sales fell across most regions of the country. In April, sales declined 7.5 percent in the Northeast, 1.6 percent in the West and 1 percent in the South. But they rose 5.7 percent in the Midwest.

Article found at: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Home-sales-fall-despite-apf-1672163469.html?x=0

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Mortgage rates: Average on 30-year fixed loans rises to 4.86%

By Janna Herron

Associated Press

Posted: 03/31/2011 08:08:04 AM PDT

Updated: 03/31/2011 09:07:11 AM PDT

 

NEW YORK — Fixed mortgage rates rose slightly this week, but the average rate on the 30-year loan remained below 5 percent.

Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 4.86 percent from 4.81 percent the previous week. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage increased to 4.09 percent from 4.04 percent. It reached 3.57 percent in November, the lowest level on records dating back to 1991.

Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which rose this week. Investors sold off Treasurys on fears the Federal Reserve might end its bond-buying program sooner than expected.

Low rates have done little to jumpstart the weak housing market. Home sales remain sluggish and prices are falling in most major markets. Most analysts expect prices to decline through midyear.

More Americans did sign contracts to buy homes last month, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. But there was “a measurable level of contract cancellations” in February, meaning many pending sales might not translate into closed sales.

In another dismal sign, Lennar said Tuesday that new orders dropped 12 percent from December through February, while home deliveries slipped 3 percent.

High unemployment and strict lending requirements have kept many people from buying homes. And a record number of foreclosures are forcing down home prices, leaving many would-be buyers worried that the market has yet to bottom out.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 3.70 percent from 3.62 percent. The five-year hit 3.25 percent last month, the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005.

The average rate on one-year adjustable-rate home loans increased to 3.26 percent from 3.21 percent. Two weeks ago, the rate hit 3.17 percent, the lowest level in records dating starting in 1984.

The rates do not include add-on fees, known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount. The average fee for the 30-year fixed loan, 15-year fixed loan and the five-year ARM in Freddie Mac’s survey was 0.7 point. The average fee for the 1-year ARM was 0.6 point.
 

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Fast Facts

Calif. median home price: October 2010: $304,220 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. highest median home price by C.A.R. region October 2010: Santa Barbara So. Coast $864,000 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. lowest median home price by C.A.R. region October 2010: High Desert $125,060 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. First-time Buyer Affordability Index – Third quarter 2010: 64 percent (Source: C.A.R.)
Mortgage rates: Week ending 11/24/2010 30-yr. fixed: 4.40 Fees/points: 0.8% 15-yr. fixed: 3.77% Fees/points: 0.7% 1-yr. adjustable: 3.23% Fees/points: 0.6% (Source: Freddie Mac)  

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California home sales decline from previous month, year

California home sales declined in October, from both the previous month and previous year, according to data from C.A.R. 

Statewide home resale activity declined 3.5 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 450,360, down from September’s revised pace of 466,930, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide.  The October pace was down 19.6 percent from the revised 560,390 sales pace recorded in October 2009.

“October’s home sales figures reflect the seasonal decline in sales that typically occurs this time of year.  Additionally, persistent worries about the economy and job security are affecting home sales, despite low mortgage rates and strong affordability,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce.

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California during October was $304,220, down 1.8 percent from September’s $309,720 revised median price.  October’s median price was up 2.3 percent from the $297,500 median price recorded for the same period a year ago, marking 12 consecutive months of year-over-year price gains.

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