Morning Roundup (8/16/2022) – Housing Starts Drop Sharply

Good Morning! Today is Tuesday, August 16. The Justice Department objected to the news media’s request to make public the affidavit for the Mar-a-Lago search warrant because they said releasing it could deter witnesses. Scotland is the first country to make period products free. Oil prices hit their lowest level in months.

The Mortgage Note Reports

Popular Portsmouth: This quaint city which attracts tourists from all over the world is growing as people escape the rat race of Boston and New York City. Writer Chuck Green explains.

Housing Starts Plummet: Homebuilding dropped sharply below expected levels in July as both buyers and sellers continue to lose confidence in the market.

Competition Heats Up: In a reversal of a pandemic trend, competition for low-priced homes has surpassed that for mid- and high-priced homes.

And in other mortgage and housing news…

Hottest Zips: The hottest zip codes of 2022 offer homes at lower-than-average prices, largely dominated by cooler Northern climates where pandemic competition stayed low.

Buyers Backing Out: Roughly 16.1% of home-purchase agreements fell through in July, the highest percentage on record with the exception of March and April 2020.

“A Troubling Sign”: Builder confidence fell for the eighth straight month in August as interest rates, supply chain problems, and housing affordability challenges persist.

Forbearances Improve: The number of loans in forbearance fell by 7 basis points to 0.74% of servicers’ portfolio volume, while GSE loans may have “reached a floor.”

Rent Burden: Nearly 60% of renters say their rents rose in the past 12 months while only 38% of renters saw their wages go up, and a third say it won’t cover their higher rent.

Pricey And Empty: Across America’s 50 most expensive towns, 23.42% of homes are vacant, translating to 320,346 empty houses, according to a new LendingTree analysis.

Gains Despite *Gestures Broadly*: As all three major averages gained ground yesterday, it seems the stock market isn’t bothered by a cratering housing market.

Looming Threat: Compass CEO Robert Reffkin said the company will start focusing on cost-cutting after posting big losses, adding, “We’re preparing for the real estate market this year to be nearly 25% below where industry experts believed it would be just six months ago.”