Housing Starts Beat Expectations In August

Housing starts surprised the industry with a boost in August, though building permits lagged at their slowest pace the last two years. Starts increased 12.2% month-over-month to an annualized rate of 1.575 million units in August, exceeding market expectations of 1.445 million. This is the largest jump since March last year. But while the data may be positive, housing still faces pressure from inflated material costs and rising interest rates. Single-family starts increased by only 3.4%. The unexpected jump was propelled by a 28.6% surge in demand for buildings with five or more units, suggesting builders are betting on the hot rental market to stay. That prospect doesn’t bode well for the homebuilders. Builder sentiment dropped three points in September,…

Home Sales Fall Nearly 20% YOY

Buyers are still fleeing the market in droves despite signs of cooling, driven out by rising mortgage rates and economic uncertainty. Home sales fell by 19.3% YOY in July, hitting their lowest level since the pandemic started, Redfin reported. It’s the biggest annual decline in U.S. home sales in more than a year. Sales also fell 4.1% from June. Redfin noted that while affordability challenges pushed some buyers out, others were concerned about the potential for home-value declines. Home price appreciation rose at its slowest pace since June 2020, up only 7.7%, and talk of price correction is everywhere. Fewer homeowners put their homes on the market, too. New listings fell 13.5% YOY, the biggest decline in more than a…

Eight Of The Ten Most Expensive Metros For Rent Are In California And Florida

California and Florida metros collectively account for 80% of the top 10 highest average rents across the country, forcing Americans to look to the middle of the country for affordable rentals. That’s according to HouseCanary’s first National Rental Report, which compares listings volumes, new listings, and median listing price information on single-family detached listings from H1 2021 and H1 2022. National rent prices saw a double-digit increase, up 13.4% YOY in the first half of 2022. At the end of H1 2022, the average rent was $2,495. Property demand remained strong, with the number of days on the market staying basically the same from last year. At the end of H1, rentals were on the market for an average of…

Loan App Volume Dips To Lowest Level Since February 2000

Mortgage loan application volume fell by another 1.8%, the fourth straight week of declines and the lowest level of activity since February 2000, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey shows. The adjusted Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased by 1.8%. The adjusted purchase index dropped 1%, while the unadjusted purchase index decreased by 0.4%% and was 18% lower YOY. The refinance index fell by 4% and made up 30.7% of total applications, down 83% from the same time last year.  ARM activity dropped to 9.1% of total applications.  As affordability challenges continue and potential buyers decide to hold off searching for a home, purchase activity is now inching closer to pre-pandemic levels. “Weakening purchase applications…

Applications Reverse Downward Spiral, Up 6.6%

Mortgage loan application volume reversed course after five straight weeks of decreases, rising 6.6% last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly survey shows. The adjusted Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased by 6.6%. The adjusted purchase index rose 8%, while the unadjusted purchase index was up by 18% and was 16% lower YOY. The refinance index rose 4% and was down 76% YOY and made up 31.7% of total applications. ARM activity fell to 8.1% of total applications.  Joel Kan, MBA Association Vice President of Economic and Industry, noted that applications rose despite an interest rate explosion last week. The 30-year fixed-rate hit 5.65% last week, up 25 basis points and the highest level…

Bidding Wars For Rentals Seen As Prices Rise

By KIMBERLEY HAAS As prices for rental housing continue to climb in many parts of the country, bidding wars are becoming more common. According to a report released last week by Joel Berner and Danielle Hale for Realtor.com, rent has reached another high in the company’s data history, averaging $1,827 in the 50 largest US metropolitan areas. Rental increases are most pronounced in Sun Belt metros, Berner and Hale wrote. That is because as more people have the opportunity to work remotely they are choosing warmer climates to live in. Three Florida metros are particularly affected. They include Miami, where rent was up 51.6% from April 2021; Orlando, 32.9%; and Tampa, 27.8%. Overall median rent in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale,…

Inventory Rebound May Be On The Horizon

Active listings were down only 12.2% in April, its smallest YOY decline since December 2019, according to Realtor.com’s Monthly Housing Trends Report. This suggests that inventory may be about to bounce back up after the crippling shortage of the last year. Though new listings declined, the number of homes under contract saw a YOY decrease as well, closing some of the distance between supply and demand. Pending listings were down 9.5% YOY. Improvements were seen in the share of mid-sized homes, adding to listings for families upgrading from starter homes and possibly easing the way for first-time homebuyers who have struggled to find affordable entry homes during the pandemic. “April data suggests a positive turn of events is on the…

Pricier, More Populated Metros Making a Comeback

Big cities could be making a comeback, with more expensive, populated housing markets appearing on the quarterly Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com® Emerging Housing Markets Index. The top 20 emerging markets listed averaged 500,000 residents this quarter, more than 100,000 people more than last quarter. It is a mix of coastal, Southern, and Midwestern markets. Six of the 100 largest U.S. metros made the list: Raleigh, NC; Colorado Springs; North Port, Fla; San Jose, CA.; Cape Coral-Ft. Myers, Fla; and Oxnard-Thousand Oaks, CA. “It could signal a reorientation of the real estate market,” says Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. The rankings and their median list price are as follows: Naples, FL ($667,000)North Port, FL ($445,000)Kahului, HI ($937,000)San Luis Obispo, CA ($899,000)San Jose, CA…

Credit Availability Ticked Up In December

Mortgage credit availability grew slightly in December 2021, increasing by 0.8% to 125.9, according to the Mortgage Banker Association’s (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). The Conventional MCAI rose by 0.8%% while the Government MCAI rose by 0.7%. Within the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI rose by 0.6% and the Conforming MCAI rose by 1.1%. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while an increase indicates loosening credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012. The overall credit index rose to its highest point since May 2021. However, it remains 30% below its pre-pandemic level. The increase puts mortgage credit availability back on a positive trajectory after a November decline that interrupted a four-month…

MBA: Average Loan Size Reaches Its Second-Highest Amount Ever

Mortgage loan application volume dropped 0.6% last week, though the average purchase loan reached its second-highest amount ever, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly survey reported. The seasonally adjusted Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, fell 0.6%. The seasonally adjusted purchase index fell 3%, while the unadjusted purchase index fell 6% and was 9% lower YOY. The refinance index rose 2% and was down 42% YOY. Refinances made up 65.2% of total applications, driven by a rate decrease to 3.27%, its lowest in four weeks. Though applications fell, purchase loan size increased to an average of $416,200, the second-highest average amount on record. “The elevated loan size is an indication that activity is more on the…