Morning Briefing: Available homes are becoming rarer says RealtyTrac

by Steve Randall11 Feb 2016
Available homes are becoming rarer says RealtyTrac
There are fewer homes vacant in this quarter compared with the third quarter of 2015. RealtyTrac data shows that out of nearly 85 million residential properties (1 to 4 units) nationwide, more than 1.3 million (1.6 per cent) were vacant at the beginning of February 2016, down 9.3 per cent from the last residential property vacancy analysis in the third quarter of 2015.

“With several notable exceptions, the challenge facing most U.S. real estate markets is not too many vacant homes but too few,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “The razor-thin vacancy rates in many markets are placing upward pressure on home prices and rents.”
Those looking for a home stand the best chance in Flint, Michigan (7.5 per cent), Detroit (5.3), Youngstown, Ohio (4.4), Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas (3.8), and Atlantic City, New Jersey (3.7).
 
Metro home prices continue to rise despite slower sales
Home prices in the major metros saw some slowing of sales in the fourth quarter of 2015 but prices continued to accelerate according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors. Out of the 179 metros monitored media prices for single-family homes increased year-over-year in 81 per cent and declined in 19 per cent. There were 30 metro areas (17 per cent) which saw double-digit increases.

The national median existing single-family home price in the fourth quarter was $222,700, up 6.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2014. Sales were down 5.4 per cent from the third quarter but were 2.4 per cent higher than quarter-four in 2014.
 
Refi’s pushed mortgage applications higher last week
A surge in demand for refinance mortgages helped push the overall level of loan applications higher in the week ending February 5th according to the Mortgage Bankers’ Association. Its Market Composite Index was up 9.3 per cent from a week earlier on an adjusted basis, up 12 per cent on an unadjusted basis.

The Refinance Index increased 16 percent from the previous week.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 7 percent compared with the previous week and was 25 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 61.2 per cent of total applications from 59.2 per cent the previous week; ARM share increased to 6.4 per cent; FHA share decreased to 12.3 per cent from 12.9 per cent ; VA share  remained unchanged from 11.1 per cent; USDA share decreased to 0.6 per cent from 0.7 per cent the week prior.

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