Morning Briefing: Builders confidence in single-family homes market at 12-year high

by Steve Randall16 Mar 2017

Builders confidence in single-family homes market at 12-year high

Builders are showing a level of confidence in the market for new single-family homes not seen since the housing peak.

The National Association of Home Builders / Wells Fargo Housing Market Index has risen 6 points to 71, the highest since June 2015 with strong gains for its components including current conditions, expectations for the next 6 months, and buyer traffic.

However, labor shortages and costs along with higher construction costs remain key challenges for homebuilders along with the likely rise in mortgage rates.


Purchase mortgages up to 57 per cent as close times drop

The proportion of new mortgage originations that were for home purchases increased to 57 per cent in February from 53 per cent a month earlier.

The time taken to close all loans dropped to 46 days from 51 days with the average to close a purchase loan down to 45 days and the average for a refinance loan dropping to 47 days.

“The purchase market led the way in February, representing 57 percent of total closed loans,” said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae. “Along with the growing purchase market, we’re seeing the time to close all loans decrease and FICO scores decline, trends that we will continue to watch in the coming months.”

FICO scores across all loan types averaged 720 in February while closing rates dipped to 70.6 per cent from 72.2 per cent in January.


New York real estate brokers break 2-year run of pessimism

Real estate brokers in New York City are regaining confidence in the market after two years of challenging conditions.

The Real Estate Board of New York reports that its confidence index has increased for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2014 with gains for confidence in both the current and future markets.

“Confidence among our brokers is on the rise after being strained with uncertainty throughout the last election cycle,” said John Banks, REBNY President. “Stronger prospects for the future were expressed by both residential and commercial brokers despite their continued unease over financing, interest rates, and other shifting market conditions.”

However there remains concern over the oversupply in the apartment sector along with rising mortgage rates.

Commercial brokers are hoping that leasing activity will pick up once businesses have assessed the impact of the new White House administration.