Morning Briefing: Consumers’ optimism in housing market falls

by Steve Randall10 Aug 2015
Consumers’ optimism in housing market falls
Fewer Americans think that now is a good time for a real estate transaction according to the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey. The data for July shows a 7 per cent dip in the proportion of sellers who think now is the right time to market their home; down to 45 per cent. The buyers’ index slipped to an all-time low of 61 per cent.

Personal finances and uncertainty in the economy are the reasons for the caution. Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan commented:  “Deteriorating consumer assessments of income growth over the past year as well as increased caution around the direction of the economy and personal financial expectations may be contributing to the pullback in sentiment.” However he noted that the latest poll was taken while there was considerable global economic turmoil including the Greek debt issue.

Other highlights of the poll include; the share of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months rose to 49 per cent, while the share who say home prices will go down rose to 8 per cent; The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months rose 1 percentage point to 51 per cent; and those who think it would be easy to get a mortgage fell to 48 per cent, while those who think it would be difficult rose to 49 per cent, the first time that more think it would be difficult since October.
Neil Young among Hawaiian owners cashing-out
Wealthy Californian tech-execs are driving a demand for luxury homes in Hawaii and owners are choosing to take the cash. Singer-songwriter Neil Young is among those deciding to sell their homes while demand is high; he’s listed his $24 million estate. There has been a surge in listings of $20 million-plus properties with 23 such homes on the market at the same time according to local realtor Matt Beall of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers. The boom in the Silicon Valley tech sector has led more executives to choose Hawaii which is becoming a west-coast alternative to the Hamptons.
Is New York about to get a new Empire State Building?
Developers want to construct a new tower in New York City which they say will rival the iconic Empire State Building. Manhattan’s Michael Stern and Joe Chetrit aim to build a residential tower of at least 1,000 feet tall according to the New York Post. The location is Brooklyn; the pair have bought the Dime Savings Bank building for $90 million. The building comes with air rights allowing the duo to develop what would easily become Brooklyn’s tallest building, dwarfing the 590-foot tower near the Barclays Center.