Morning Briefing: Mortgage applications down again says MBA

by MPA28 May 2015
Mortgage applications down again says MBA
The latest data on mortgage applications from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows a seasonally-adjusted drop of 1.6 per cent for the week ending May 22. The association’s Market Composite Index was down 2 per cent on an unadjusted basis. The refinancing index was down 4 per cent while the purchase index was up by a seasonally adjusted 1 per cent with unadjusted figures essentially flat; however it was 14 per cent above the same week in 2014. Refinancing accounted for 51 per cent of applications (down from 52 per cent in the previous week) while ARMs made up 6.4 per cent of all home loan applications.
 
Freddie Mac: 80 per cent of top housing markets are improving
Freddie Mac says that housing affordability driven by low mortgage rates means the spring buying season is off to a strong start. The data shows that 80 of the 100 top markets are showing improvement although its Multi-Indicator Market Index stands at 75.4 which means a weak market overall nationally, but it is improving.

Of the 50 states and DC 17 are ranked as stable with North Dakota, DC, Hawaii, Montana and Wyoming in the top 5. The most improved states month-over month are Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Tennessee and Michigan. On a year-over-year basis, the most improving states were Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, Florida and Michigan.

A quarter of the top 100 metros are also stable with the top 5 comprising Honolulu, Fresno, Austin, Los Angeles and McAllen, TX. The most improving metro areas month-over-month were Portland, Riverside, San Jose, Nashville and Baton Rouge. On a year-over-year basis, the most improving metro areas were Stockton, Detroit, Denver, Las Vegas and Palm Bay, FL.

Freddie Mac deputy chief economist Len Kiefer said: "The nation's housing markets are getting back on track. Better employment prospects, rising home values and increased purchase activity are all driving improvements in housing markets across the country. We're likely to see bouts of affordability shock with mortgage rate swings for the remainder of this year as market participants try to anticipate Fed timing around rising short term interest rates and expectations for global growth wax and wane."
 
Serena Williams nets Palm Beach home
Tennis star Serena Williams has fallen in ‘love’ with a new home in Palm Beach, Florida. The Grand Slam ace paid $2.5 million for the 1.25 acre lot at 7703 Bold Lad Road with a canal running behind. Bizjournals.com reports that Williams and her sister Venus own a property at Grand Key Terrace and Serena also owns a lot in the Bear’s Club in Jupiter.
 
Toll Brothers earnings up, revenue down
Luxury home builder Toll Brothers reported its quarterly earnings Wednesday showing a drop in revenue of 1 per cent but earnings per share of 37 cents, 2 cents more than a year ago. The average price of new home orders was up 12.5 per cent to $826,000 and contracts for new homes increased 25 per cent. California was Toll Bros. best region accounting for 30 per cent of signed contracts. 

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