“Higher For Longer” Rates Keeping Buyers Sidelined Even As Inventory Rises

Just as inventory is picking up, “higher for longer” decisions by the Feds are keeping buyers sidelined with 7% interest rates. That’s according to First American, which has released its April 2024 Home Price Index report. The data suggests that a recent uptick in inventory will boost sales activity as the spring buying season peaks but won’t result in a full turn-around of demand. Homebuyers and sellers are often the same – sellers have to buy a new home in order to move – and have a financial disincentive to do either. Nearly 90% of mortgaged homes have a rate below 6%.  At the same time, home prices are up 53% compared to pre-pandemic levels and keep rising month-over-month. Some…

Cooling Rates Spark “Cautious Optimism” In Housing Pros

Cooling interest rates have opened a path for potential buyers heading into 2024, sparking “cautious optimism” for housing professionals. First American’s Potential Home Sales Model for November 2023 saw its biggest monthly increase since December 2022, up 1.3%. That translates to 5.30 million potential existing home sales at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate. The Potential Home Sales Model measures what the healthy level of home sales should be based on economic, demographic, and housing market fundamentals. First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming says mortgage rate declines in November fueled the data. Mortgage rates dipped below 7% for the first time since August last week after the Federal Reserve set the stage for rate cuts in the coming year. That decline,…

Affordability FIopped In 2023, But Redfin Predicts A Brighter New Year

This year was one of the worst on record for affordability. But with the market at an all-time low, the only move now is up, according to a new analysis by Redfin. A homebuyer with the median U.S. income needed to spend 41% of their earnings on monthly home costs in 2023, a record high in Redfin’s data (dating to 2012) and fully 10% more than just two years ago.  In some hot markets, like California’s Anaheim and San Francisco, that number jumps to more than 80%. But Redfin expects mortgage rates and home prices to both cool in 2024, paving the way for more Americans to buy their dream home. “A perfect storm of inflation, high prices, soaring mortgage…

Will The Housing Market Recover In 2024? Probably Not.

As 2023 nears its end, with mortgage rates slowing to the mid-7%s but home prices at record highs, the question on housing analysts’ minds is: Will 2024 be any better? For the most part, experts see a mixed bag coming next year, predicting the beginning of a turnaround that won’t fully flower until 2025. Realtor.com’s 2024 Housing Forcast suggests mortgage rates will moderate and ultimately average 6.8%, hitting 6.5% at year-end, while home prices ease slightly by 1.7%. But the company also predicts worsening inventory shortages as homebuyers cling to their current homes to keep their sub-5% rates. Still, Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, emphasizes the bright sides of softening unaffordability. “Our 2024 housing forecast reveals the green shoots…

Affordability Hits Lowest Point In Three Decades

As home prices spike and interest rates stay elevated, affordability has fallen to its lowest point in more than three decades. First American Financial’s Real House Price Index soared by 16.9% YOY in July, the latest available data, and was up 2% from the month prior. But consumer buying power sank, down 1% month-over-month and 11% YOY. The RHPI is controlled for house-buying power, measuring the impact of income and interest rate changes, and therefore acts as a measure of housing affordability as well as price changes. The increase was driven by house prices and the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate rising 4% and 1.4% YOY, respectively. The median existing-home sale price was $345,000, while the median house-buying power was just…

Real House Prices Up 10.5% In September, But Many Markets Are Cooling

Real house prices jumped 10.5% in September and logged a 60.6% YOY increase, according to First American’s Real House Price Index. As a result, consumer buying power, or how much a person can buy based on changes in income and interest rates, fell by 8.9% month-over-month and 29.3% YOY. The significant dip in affordability measured here results from skyrocketing home prices and rapidly increasing mortgage rates. “Even though household income increased 3.1% since September 2021 and boosted consumer house-buying power, it was not enough to offset the affordability loss from higher mortgage rates and fast-rising nominal prices,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American. Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Alabama saw the largest annual increases in real house…

Loan Apps Hit Lowest Point Since 1997

Mortgage loan application volume has now seen four months of decline and fallen to its lowest level since 1997, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey. Interest rates rose to 6.94%, their highest point since 2002. The adjusted Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, dropped by 4.5%. The adjusted purchase index fell 4%, while the unadjusted purchase index decreased 3% and was 38% lower YOY. The refinance index dropped by 7% and was 86% lower than at the same time last year. Refis made up 28.3% of total applications. “The speed and level to which rates have climbed this year have greatly reduced refinance activity and exacerbated existing affordability challenges in the purchase market. Residential…

Housing Market Cooling In Some Parts Of The Country After A Wild Pandemic Ride

By TYRONE TOWNSEND As the spring selling season continues, those in the industry are noticing that the housing market in parts of the country is beginning to cool after a wild ride during the pandemic. Bidding wars and all-cash bids were prevalent due to rising housing prices and low availability. As more investors invaded the market, millions of average Americans were left on the sidelines, unable to compete. The housing market is already beginning to cool but despite this fact, respite for homeowners – particularly first-time purchasers – is unlikely as the Federal Reserve continues to boost interest rates to battle inflation, driving up mortgage rates. According to Realtor.com’s Monthly Home Trends Report, housing inventory in the United States was…

Will The Housing Market Boom Or Bust In 2022?

By KIMBERLEY HAAS As the spring selling season begins, people in the mortgage and real estate industries are speculating on whether 2022 will be a year of growth or the start of the end for a red-hot market that has favored sellers and forced up the price of housing in many parts of the country. Numbers from the start of the year look promising for growth. On Tuesday, S&P Dow Jones Indices released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices. A 19.2% annual gain was reported in January, up from 18.9% in December. The 10-City Composite annual increase was 17.5%, up from 17.1% in December. The 20-City Composite posted a 19.1% year-over-year gain, up from 18.6% in the previous…

Home Prices Are Up But Remain Far Below April 2006 Peak

Homes are less affordable than they were a year ago, but they largely remain more affordable than at the peak of the 2006 housing boom, according to First American Financial Corporation’s Real House Price Index. In January, the RHPI rose 27% from the year prior, making it the fastest-growing RHPI – and fastest YOY decline in affordability – since 2004. This was driven by a 21.7% increase in home prices and a 0.7% rise in rates. The RHPI measures price changes for single-family properties adjusted for the impact of income and interest rate changes on consumer house-buying power. As such, it also serves as a measure of affordability. Household income was up 5% from January 2021, but that gain was…