Morning Briefing: Improving housing markets sustained by low mortgage rates

Improving housing markets sustained by low mortgage rates… Ohio sales slip but remain strong say Realtors… Mortgage applications edge lower…

Improving housing markets sustained by low mortgage rates
The continuing low mortgage rates are helping to sustain improving housing markets according to a report from Freddie Mac.

Its latest Multi-Indicator Market Index shows that Indianapolis and Columbus have now entered their historic benchmark levels of housing activity taking the overall level to 79 of the 100 metros surveyed.

Los Angeles; Salt Lake City; Provo, UT; Honolulu; and Nashville are the top performing metros while Utah, Hawaii, Montana, Colorado and Oregon are the best performing states.

“Nationally, MiMi in July was largely unchanged for the third consecutive month at 85.1, yet marking a 4.7 percent year-over-year increase,” commented deputy chief economist Len Kiefer.

“Despite rising house prices, the majority of housing markets have sustained their momentum due in large part to low mortgage rates. For example, purchase applications, as measured by MiMi, were up more than 17 per cent year over year in July and remaining at their highest level since December 2007," Kiefer explained.
Ohio sales slip but remain strong say Realtors
Sales of homes in Ohio slipped 1.4 per cent in August compared to a year earlier and was down 2.6 per cent from July 2016. However, real estate agents remain confident in the market with underlying trends showing strength for the state’s housing market.  

“Home sales activity throughout Ohio remains strong, as the August marketplace attained the third best rate of sales since we began recording data in 1998,” said OAR President Sara Calo. “It’s apparent that we’ve have built a solid foundation for Ohio’s housing sector, one that is able to withstand the normal ebbs and flows that occur in the marketplace.” 

Ohio Association of Realtors data shows that the average sales price was up 4.5 per cent in the year to August 2016 at $168,212.
Mortgage applications edge lower
There was a slight decline in mortgage applications last week with the Mortgage Bankers Association showing a (seasonally adjusted) 0.7 per cent decrease in its Market Composite Index in the week ending September 23.

On an unadjusted basis the index was down 1 per cent with refinance applications dragging 2 per cent while purchase applications advanced 1 per cent.

The share of refinance mortgage applications was down to 62.7 per cent from 63.1 per cent in the previous week.