Balance needed between regulation and opportunity
A meeting held this week by the National Association of Realtors brought together industry experts and economists to discuss the state of the housing market. Looking both at historic trends and to the future, the various keynote speakers and attendees considered the effects of regulatory and economic conditions on the market.
Respected economist Dr Robert Shiller offered his view of homeownership, currently below the norm: “Although the homeownership rate is down, renters still have a desire to own a home. But, there needs to be something done to improve mobility so people can be closer to where they work.”
Dr David Blitzer of S&P Dow Jones commented on a major issue for the industry: Home prices are rising roughly twice as fast as wages, putting pressure on potential homebuyers and heightening the risk that any uptick in interest rates could be a setback. Home building and new home sales are soft and residential construction is still below its pre-crisis peak.”
National Association of Homebuilder’s chief economist Dr David Crowe was optimistic: “We can have reasonable confidence that the housing market is healthy and will continue to expand as the overall economy grows,” he said. “The fundamental housing indicators are in good shape, and we’re seeing low interest rates, affordable prices and plenty of pent-up demand.”
Mortgage rates down says Zillow
Rates quoted by mortgage lenders on Zillow fell in the week to Tuesday. The lowest 30-year fixed rate loan was down 5 basis points to 3.53 per cent. The best rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 2.81 per cent while 5/1 ARMs were quoted at 2.73 per cent. With little in the way of economic data due this week the site is not expecting any changes in the rate for the rest of this week.
Groovy pad listed by Mike Myers
Actor Mike Myers has listed his SoHo penthouse for $17 million according to the New York Daily News. The Austin Powers star bought the 4,200 square foot home ten years ago for $7.9 million and stands to pocket near $10 million profit if it sells for the listing price of $17 million. The home, which is across two floors at 72 Mercer Street has 3 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, library and a landscaped terrace with private dining area.
Seattle considers rent control
Washington State legislature is to be asked to remove its restriction on cities introducing rent control following a meeting due to be held Thursday. The “Affordable Housing Town Hall” event will be held by two members of Seattle City Council and will invite members of the public to have their say on affordability before unveiling their resolution. Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata support a group that released a report urging the city’s mayor to support affordability solutions including rent control. The pair is aware that there will be opposition to their resolution which will be particularly unpopular with developers.