Mortgage Roundup (7/19/21) – Supporting Veterans, New Rules for Refi Relief

Good morning! Today is Monday, July 19. Concerns about the Delta variant of the Coronavirus are putting downward pressure on stock and commodity futures. At least one U.S. gymnast has tested positive for COVID-19. Europe is reeling from a series of landslides. The Biden administration is blaming China for a hack of Microsoft Exchange email server software that compromised tens of thousands of computers around the world earlier this year. And in mortgage and housing news… Mortgage refinances spike: Low interest rates drove a 20% spike in mortgage refinance rates last week, with a declining 30-year fixed rate spurring heavy refi activity. Supply prices down: Wood futures are declining from their dizzying highs earlier this year, signalling potential relief for homebuilders, though…

Pending Home Sales Fall Slightly In October

Pending home sales dipped slightly in the United States last month, though were significantly higher than in October 2019, according to a new report released Monday by the National Association of Realtors. The Pending Home Sales Index fell 1.1 percent in October, the second straight month it dropped from summer highs. Compared to last year, however, pending home sales climbed 20.2 percent. “Pending home transactions saw a small drop off from the prior month but still easily outperformed last year’s numbers for October,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The housing market is still hot, but we may be starting to see rising home prices hurting affordability.” Regionally, results were mixed. The index dipped 5.9 percent for the month in…

New Home Sales Jump In May

Sales of newly built single-family homes jumped 16.6 percent in May – another sign the housing market is recovering from the devastating economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 676,000, which was 12.7 percent above the May 2019 levels, the Census Bureau said. “The May sales numbers are in line with rising builder sentiment,” said Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a custom home builder from Tampa, Fla. “With home building considered an essential business, this solid sales report is another indicator that housing is leading the economic recovery.” The report also found: The median sales…

April Pending Home Sales: Largest Drop This Century

By Jim Perskie Stay-at-home orders, curtailed real estate activities and an economic shutdown sent pending home sales into the dumps in April, according to a new report released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors. The Pending Home Sales Index dropped 21.8 percent from March – and was 33.8 percent lower than April 2019, the largest decline since NAR began tracking pending sales in 2001. Every major region experienced a drop in month-over-month contract activity and a decline in year-over-year pending home sales. “With nearly all states under stay-at-home orders in April, it is no surprise to see the markedly reduced activity in signing contracts for home purchases,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Here is how each region fared:…

Home Sales Increasing In US

The housing market continues to inch back from the coronavirus pandemic. New for-sale listings were up 12.5 percent month over month as of the seven days ending May 10 after a steep drop in April, but they remain down 27.6 percent from last year at the same period, according to Zillow’s April Real Estate Market Report released Tuesday. “The for-sale market continues to improve and seemingly has the bottom in the rearview mirror, but rent growth has slowed significantly,” said Skylar Olsen, senior principal economist at Zillow. “Housing was in a generally strong position before the pandemic, with low inventory and high prices shutting many would-be buyers out and creating unusually high demand for rentals.” The report also found: Newly pending sales…

Home Sales, Listings Plummet In April

The coronavirus pandemic slammed the brakes on a once-roaring housing market. A new report released Monday by Redfin found that sales and listings experienced historic declines from a year ago – with home sales dropping 22.5 percent in April from a year ago, while the number of homes newly listed for sale plunged 42.4 percent. “The supply of homes for sale declined even more dramatically than homebuyer demand in April,” Redfin lead economist Taylor Marr said. “While home sales fell the most in more expensive markets, in more affordable areas prices continued to increase. Even during the depths of the slowdown last month, the market was still faster and more competitive than it was a year earlier.” The report also found:…

Home Prices Jumped In March Ahead Of Shutdown

After a surge in sales the first two months of the year, home prices jumped in March before the coronavirus took hold in the United States. An analysis released Tuesday by analytics firm CoreLogic found that home prices nationally increased 4.5 percent over March 2019 and 1.3 percent over the month before. The increase, however, is expected to slow considerably. The firm’s Home Price Index calls for annual price growth of 0.5 percent between March 2020 and March 2021 – and a 0.6 percent increase in April over March levels. “Home prices for March reflect transactions negotiated primarily in the previous two months, prior to the implementation of the shelter-in-place policies. Rapid decline of purchase activity starting in the middle…

Zillow: Home Sales To Plummet While Prices Dip A Bit

Home sales will drop as much as 60 percent this spring, though home prices should not drop more than 3 percent due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, according to a housing forecast released Monday by Zillow. Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell said the recovery is expected to look like a checkmark, with transactions building at a pace of about 10 percent each month through the end of next year. “Much uncertainty still exists, particularly with some states beginning to reopen and experts warning of a possible second wave of the coronavirus in the fall. However, housing fundamentals are strong – much more so than they were leading into the Great Recession – and that bodes well for…

Home Sales Battered In March

Pending home sales fell precipitously in March after the coronavirus pandemic fully took hold in the middle of the month, a new analysis released Wednesday by the National of Association of Realtors shows. The Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on contract signings, decreased 20.8 percent to 88.2 in March. Year over year, contract signings declined 16.3 percent. “The housing market is temporarily grappling with the coronavirus-induced shutdown, which pulled down new listings and new contracts,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said. “As consumers become more accustomed to social distancing protocols, and with the economy slowly and safely reopening, listings and buying activity will resume, especially given the record low mortgage rates.” All four regions experienced declines: Northeast: Down 14.5…

Existing Home Sales Fall In March

By Jim Perskie Existing home sales fell in March amid the coronavirus outbreak, though overall sales were up slightly from a year ago, the National Association of Realtors announced Tuesday. “Unfortunately, we knew home sales would wane in March due to the coronavirus outbreak,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said. “More temporary interruptions to home sales should be expected in the next couple of months, though home prices will still likely rise.” Total existing home sales dropped 8.5 percent from February, while climbing 0.8 percent from March 2019. Each of the four regions of the country suffered a decrease in sales from a month earlier, the report found. Northeast: Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 7.1 percent for the month and…