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Carlos J Higareda | jones Blog

Friday, June 19, 2020   /   by Carlos J Higareda

More Homes Are Being Built as Buyers Rush Back

June 18, 2020

Single-family permits, a gauge of future housing production, posted a double-digit gain in May as the new-home market showed an increase in activity. The pandemic in March and April brought the sector to mostly a standstill as economies shut down in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But as states reopen, home buyers are coming back and builders are ramping up production to meet demand.

Permits to construct new houses in May rose 14.4% to a 1.22 million annual pace.

Total housing starts, which includes single-family and multifamily construction, rose 4.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000 units, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Broken out, single-family starts moved just 0.1% last month, but builders were quick to point to the increase in permits as a positive sign that more activity is coming. Housing starts in the multifamily sector, including apartment and condo buildings, jumped 15% in May to a 299,000 pace. ...

Friday, May 29, 2020   /   by Carlos J Higareda

NAR: Contract Signings Likely Won’t Go Any Lower

May 28, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic hampered home sales contracts in April, but that will likely mark the low point in pending home sales for the year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report released on Thursday. April was the second consecutive month of declining pending home sales, as social distancing measures and widespread business closures mounted due to the igniting coronavirus outbreak. Every major region of the country saw a drop in month-over-month contract activity in April.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index—a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings—fell 21.8% in April. Contract signings were 33.8% down for the year. April’s decline also marked the greatest decrease in pending home sales since NAR began tracking such data in January 2001.

“With nearly all states under stay-at-home in April, it is no surprise to see the markedly reduced activity in signing ...

Thursday, May 28, 2020   /   by Carlos J Higareda

Most Consumers Aren’t Afraid to Return to the Market

May 26, 2020


Fifty-six percent of consumers say that despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they would attend an open house or take a home tour without hesitation, according to the Back To Normal Barometer from research company Engagious. Additionally, nearly half of respondents to the survey say they would return to activities such as taking a cruise, attending a live sporting event, or staying at a hotel. However, an even greater number—61%—are concerned about the overall public health crisis and the U.S. economy, a sign that consumers are more hopeful about their personal circumstances than they are about the country in general. “People are concerned about societal impacts rather than how [COVID-19] affects them personally,” said Jon Last, president of Sports & Leisure Research Group, a marketing research consultancy based in White Plains, N.Y., and a co-creator of the barometer. “And they feel the same about the economy. ...

Wednesday, May 27, 2020   /   by Carlos J Higareda

More First-Time Home Buyers Are Entering the Market

May 26, 2020

A shift in the mix of home buyers has been occurring since the pandemic began. Investor numbers are shrinking, while the number of home shoppers purchasing their first home ever is on the rise. These buyers are freed from having to sell a home prior to purchasing, and they are valuing homeownership in a pandemic.

The share of first-time buyers rose to 36% in April 2020, up from 32% a year ago, the National Association of REALTORS®’’ April 2020 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey shows.

“Home buyers are facing less competition from investors, and they are also benefiting from low mortgage rates,” notes Scholastica “Gay” Cororaton, an NAR researcher, on Economists’ Outlook blog. With fewer investors, cash sales dropped to 15% of existing-home sales in April, which is down from 20% a year prior.

Record low mortgage rates are enticing some first-time buyers. The estimated monthly mortgage payment on a home p ...

Saturday, May 23, 2020   /   by Carlos J Higareda

Mortgage Rates Hover Near Record Lows, Could Decline Further

May 22, 2020

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continued to near its lowest average on record. The lowest average on Freddie Mac records dating back to 1971 is 3.23%, which was set the week ending April 30. This week, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged close to that, at 3.24%.

“For the fourth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 3.30 percent, giving potential buyers a good reason to continue shopping even amid the pandemic,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “As states reopen, we’re seeing purchase demand improve remarkably fast, now essentially flat relative to a year ago. Going forward, mortgage rates have room to decline as mortgage spreads remain elevated.”

For Some, 30-Year Rates at 2.5% Are Possible

Mortgage Applications Continue Surprising Rebound

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending May 21:

30-year fixed-rate mortg ...
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