Lumber Prices Are Toppling, But Will Home Prices Come Down With Them?

By CHUCK GREEN With lumber prices toppling, it might be the ideal time to knock on wood. Gently, though. It just might be a bit fragile at the moment. Year to date, prices have sagged around 50%, according to 7seasgroupusa.com. They recently sunk to their lowest point in nine months as they traded under the $600-per-thousand-board-feet mark. Conversely, a year ago, prices, fueled by pent-up demand for construction and home upgrades in the aftermath of COVID on the heels of a frenzy of speculation, reached $1,733, which was unprecedented.But as the housing market backed down in light of escalating interest rates, lumber prices have borne the brunt, receding more than 60% from their March highs, according to Business Insider. In May,…

Homebuyer Demand Falls In Its Largest Annual Decline Since The Pandemic Began

Soaring interest rates pushed homebuyer demand down in its largest annual decline in more than two years, Redfin reported. Redfin’s Homebuyer Demand Index was down 16% YOY, its largest drop since April 2020, in response to lagging inventory and skyrocketing mortgage rates. Last week, rates jumped a full half-point in the largest one-week increase in the history of Freddie Mac’s weekly rate survey, which dates back to 1987. This week they’re up to 5.81%. At the same time, pending home sales were down 10% YOY, the largest decline since May 2020. Home prices are moderating slightly, but still elevated. The average size of a purchase loan application was $420,000, down from a peak of $460,000. In 2019, the average loan…

Interest Rates Tick Up Again

Mortgage rates increased again this week, averaging 5.81%, Freddie Mac reported Thursday.  Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.81%, up from last week’s 5.78%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.02%. “Fixed mortgage rates have increased by more than two full percentage points since the beginning of the year,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The combination of rising rates and high home prices is the likely driver of recent declines in existing home sales. However, in reality many potential homebuyers are still interested in purchasing a home, keeping the market competitive but leveling off the last two years of red-hot activity.” Rising rates have priced some…

Payments Surpass Cost-Burdened Threshold As Affordability Sinks To Lowest Point In 35 Years

Housing payments have surpassed the dreaded 30% cost-burdened threshold thanks to the 30-year fixed rate’s recent half-point jump. Black Knight reports that it now costs $2,103 to make the principal and interest (P&I) payment on an average-priced home with a 20% downpayment. That equates to 36.2% of the median household income and sinks affordability to its lowest level in more than 35 years. Payments as a percentage of income are now higher than the previous record of 34.1% in July 2006, and significantly up from the long-term average of 25.1%. The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines cost-burdened families as those “who pay more than 30% of their income for housing” and “may have difficulty affording necessities such as…

Multifamily Investment Opportunities Slipping As Property Prices, Rates Rise

Investment opportunities in multifamily housing slipped in Q1 2022, with the Freddie Mac Multifamily Apartment Investment Market Index (AIMI) falling by 4.8% from Q4 2021 and 2.4% year-over-year. AIMI analyzes multifamily rental income growth, property price growth, and mortgage rates to measure multifamily market investment conditions. A decline such as this indicates that attractive investment opportunities are becoming more difficult to find. For the second quarter in a row, increases in net operating income (NOI) were overwhelmed by property price growth and rising interest rates.  AIMI fell nationally and in 18 of the 25 individual markets analyzed by Freddie Mac. Only seven markets experienced growth. Quarter-over-quarter NOI grew 2.5% and was up in every metro. Miami saw the fastest increase…

Application Volume Rises Despite Rate Surge

Mortgage loan application volume rose by 4.2% last week despite rates surging to their highest point since November 2008, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly survey shows. The adjusted Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased by 4.2%. The adjusted purchase index rose 8%, while the unadjusted purchase index was up by 6% and was 10% lower YOY. The refinance index dropped by 3% and made up 29.7% of total applications. Refi volume is down 77% in the last year. ARM activity rose to 10.6% of total applications.  Mortgage rates increased by 33 basis points to 5.98%, their highest since 2008 and the largest single-week increase since 2009. MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry…

Existing-Home Sales Slip For 3rd Month Straight

April’s existing-home sales slipped for the third consecutive month, falling 2.4% from March to a seasonally adjusted rate of  5.61 million, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported. Sales were down 5.9% year-over-year, with each of the four major regions seeing declines. The median price for existing homes of all types was $391,200, up 14.8% YOY. This is the 122nd consecutive month of YOY price growth, the longest-running streak on record. “Higher home prices and sharply higher mortgage rates have reduced buyer activity. It looks like more declines are imminent in the upcoming months, and we’ll likely return to the pre-pandemic home sales activity after the remarkable surge over the past two years,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Housing…

Affordability Hits 15-Year Low

Affordability is at a 15-year low, with mortgage payments up in 45 of the 50 largest U.S. metros, according to Zillow’s latest market report. Buying a typical U.S. home with interest rates of 5.78% would result in monthly payments of $2,127. That’s up 36% year to date, and 51% YOY. Those monthly payments would account for 28% of homeowners’ monthly income, inching closer to the 30% benchmark that means homeowners are cost-burdened. The report noted that since rates have risen above the April data it references, homeowners may already be at that 30% threshold. Rising interest rates and soaring home prices have pushed mortgages out of reach for many Americans, leading to diminishing demand that has economists worried that recession…

Bidding Wars Fall To Lowest Level Since Feb 2021

Bidding wars dropped to their lowest level since February 2021 as the housing market begins to cool, with only 57.8% of home offers facing competition in May, according to Redfin. Though more than half of prospective buyers are still facing competition when bidding on a home, that number is down from 60.9% the month prior and a pandemic peak of 68.8% a year earlier. A typical home received 5.3 offers in May, down from 6.8 in April and 7.4 in YOY. This is the fourth straight month of declines. The unadjusted bidding war rate was 60.8%, down from 67.8% month-over-month and 71.8% YOY. “Homes are now getting one to three offers, compared with five to 10 two months ago and…

Rates Surge In Largest One-Week Increase On Record

Mortgage rates exploded this week, rising from an average of 5.23% to 5.78%, Freddie Mac reported Thursday.  It is the largest one-week increase in the history of the GSE’s survey, which dates back to 1987. Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.78%, up from last week’s 5.23%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.93%. “These higher rates are the result of a shift in expectations about inflation and the course of monetary policy,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Higher mortgage rates will lead to moderation from the blistering pace of housing activity that we have experienced coming out of the pandemic, ultimately resulting in a more…