Morning Briefing: 90 per cent of housing markets have improved in past year

by Steve Randall26 Feb 2016
90 per cent of housing markets have improved in past year
There has been a strong rebound of the housing market across the US in the last year with 90 per cent of markets showing an improvement. The National Association of Home Builders/ First American Leading Markets Index hit .94 in the fourth quarter of 2015, showing that 94 per cent of the 340 markets studied were running at normal or above normal economic and housing activity.

“Housing markets are strengthening gradually as the economy firms and job creation continues,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. “While some areas are recovering at a faster rate than others, the large majority of metros are moving in the right direction.”

Baton Rouge, La., continues to top the list of major metros on the LMI, with a score of 1.52 – or 52 percent better than its last normal market level. Other major metros leading the list include Austin, Texas; Honolulu; Houston; and San Jose, Calif. Rounding out the top 10 are Oklahoma City; Los Angeles; Nashville, Tenn.; Salt Lake City and Charleston, S.C.
 
Mortgage rates help affordability amid low inventory
While low inventory levels are pressuring prices upward, mortgage rates declined again this week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that that 30-year FRM’s averaged 3.62 per cent for the week ending Feb. 25 compared to 3.65 per cent a week earlier. 15-year FRM’s averaged 2.93 per cent, down from 2.95 per cent; and 5-year ARM’s averaged 2.79 per cent, down from 2.85 per cent.
 
Virginia, California realtors report slower sales in January
Sales of homes in the state of Virginia were chilled by Winter Storm Jonas in January but despite the extreme weather figures were down by less than 1 per cent compared to the previous January. Virginia Association of Realtors report that the value of all transactions increased to more than $1.74 billion as the median sales price gained 3.26 per cent from a year earlier to $245,500. Days on the market decreased to 85 from 91 a year earlier.

Meanwhile the California Association of Realtors reports that statewide pending sales were down 2.9 per cent largely due to a lack of homes on the market and rising prices. The largest drop year-over-year was in Santa Clara County followed by Orange, LA, Sacramento, SF Bay Area and Southern California and Central Valley areas. There were increases for Monterey and San Francisco.

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