Morning Briefing: Refinance loans edged higher last month

Refinance loans edged higher last month… First-time buyers in Florida constrained by lack of choice… US cities urged to draw up sustainability plans says report…

Morning Briefing: Refinance loans edged higher last month
Refinance loans edged higher last month
The proportion of closed loans that were refinances increased in September, rising to 45 per cent of all mortgage originations from 43 per cent in August.

Mortgage data firm Ellie Mae shows that the time to close a loan was 48 days last month, up from 46 days in August; but for refinances it was 50 days.

“We believe that given the volume of refinances during the month, it is not surprising that the average time to close would increase slightly from the month prior,” said Ellie Mae president and CEO Jonathan Corr.

The average FICO score held steady at 731.
First-time buyers in Florida constrained by lack of choice
Tight inventory continues to impact home sales in Florida as improving economic conditions boost demand from potential first-time buyers.

Sales in September slipped 0.5 per cent from a year earlier with Florida Association of Realtors reporting 22,704 closed sales of single-family homes while townhomes and condos saw a 3.9 per cent decline year-over-year to 8,818. Inventory remained at 4.2 months of supply.

The association’s 2016 president Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami said that despite a stronger labor market and wages encouraging would-be new entrants to the market, “The latest data shows that a continued lack of inventory – especially in the mid-$200,000 and under range – is affecting those potential homebuyers, leaving them with limited choices and higher prices as a result.”

The statewide median price for existing single-family homes was up 11.3 per cent year-over-year to $222,500 last month; town-condo properties increased value by 6.7 per cent to $160,000.

The composition of single-family home sales saw a positive shift compared to a year ago as the chief economist of Florida Realtors, Brad O’Connor explained:

“Distressed sales made up only 10 per cent of single family home sales this September, compared to over 19 per cent in September 2015. And only 28 per cent of sales were all-cash deals this time around, compared to 34 percent last year.
US cities urged to draw up sustainability plans says report
Every US city should have its own unique sustainability plan according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Having analyzed the efforts of eight US cities together with Vancouver, the report recommends that each city’s plan draws on experiences of similar cities but also incorporate local differences.
"Given than 80 percent of the U.S. population now lives in urban areas, cities are pivotal in efforts to improve sustainability," said Linda Katehi, chair of the committee that wrote the report, and chancellor emerita of the University of California, Davis. "While there is no cookie-cutter approach, the innovative methods now being developed in some cities should be helpful to others."

The report calls on city planners to ensure that sustainability is considered from the perspective of block-by-block through to national requirements. It also says that factors that impact sustainability – including climate change and economic shifts – should be considered.