Fantastic turnout in Asheville at the AARC Annual conference and a big thanks to all attendees! Extraordinary speakers and take-a-ways such as: How Well Do You Know Your Communities Buyers, How to Maximize Exposure, Reasons Why Tourism Has A Role in Retiree Attraction, and evening a few kooky ghost stories!
The AARC prides itself on providing our members formative resources to help reach that potential retiree and visitors with as much information to make a decision on their next step in life. If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at our Seal of Approval listings, please feel free to do so and see how the AARC can be that valuable resource for your community!
Andre’ Nabors Chair, The AARC
U.S. Home Prices Have Climbed To Record Highs, Says S&P/Case-Shiller
Lauren Gensler, Forbes / November 29, 2016
On a national basis, single-family home prices increased by 5.5%, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions. That’s up sharply from 5.1% the month before.
“The new peak…will be seen as marking a shift from the housing recovery to the hoped-for start of a new advance,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in prepared remarks on Tuesday.
Home prices have risen particularly fast out West, with the highest year-over-year price increases in Seattle (11%), Portland (10.9%) and Denver (8.7%). Meanwhile, in cities like Miami, Tampa, Phoenix and Las Vegas, home prices have risen but remain significantly below their record highs.
The price of homes across the nation has climbed as the labor market continues to improve and ultra-low interest rates make it attractive to become an owner.
However, amid tight inventory and intense demand, it’s been a tough time to be a buyer. This has forced many people, especially first-time homeowners, to continue renting longer than they would like to.
“It isn’t smart to confuse this full recovery in housing prices with a full recovery in the housing market overall,” said Svengja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Big imbalances still exist between renters and homeowners, and home buyers and home sellers.”
Mortgage rates, which had been hovering around 3.3% for a 30-year fixed mortgage, have since jumped to over 4% in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. They are expected to rise gradually as the Fed plots more interest rate hikes.
An index measuring 20 cities shows that home prices increased an annual 5.1% in September, while a separate 10-city index shows that home prices gained 4.3%.
Seasonally adjusted, the national index rose 1% in September from the month before, while the 20-city index and 10-city index both rose 0.8%.
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2016
The federal government is increasing the limit for conforming mortgages from $417,000 to $424,100 in most regions of the United States starting Jan. 1, 2017, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Wednesday—the first such increase since 2006.
The approximately 1.7 percent bump in the baseline conforming loan limit follows the FHFA’s announcement that the average U.S. home price has returned to its pre-decline peak, which it hit in the third quarter of 2007. The FHFA bases the loan cap on its quarterly Housing Price Index, which gauges average single-family home prices. The index rose 1.5 percent during the third quarter of 2016 and is up 6.1 percent over the past year, enough to push it above its previous high point.
Conforming loan limits are significant because they apply to home loans that meet the underwriting guidelines of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored entities that acquire mortgages from lenders and ensure a steady flow of money to the mortgage market. Interest rates for nonconforming, or jumbo mortgages, are generally higher than rates for loans that fall under the cap, and these types of mortgages can be more difficult to obtain.
“Today’s conforming loan limit increase is a much-needed recognition of rising home prices in high-cost markets, and a help to first-time and lower-income borrowers looking to utilize an FHA mortgage,” said NAR President William E. Brown. “Credit remains tight, but this decision will help more qualified buyers address the hurdles and high costs standing between them and the dream of homeownership.”
Conforming loan limits are higher than the baseline cap in parts of the country where home prices are especially high, but cannot be more than 150 percent of the baseline limit—$636,150 for 2017—for the contiguous U.S. Exceptions are established for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where loan limits in specific locations may exceed that amount.
Maximum loan limits for 2017 are up in all but 87 counties or county-equivalents in the U.S., according to the FHFA.
A county-by-county list of conforming mortgage limits for 2017 is available on the FHFA’s website.
Oct. home-start surge largest amount in 34 years
Home construction soared 25.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted 1.3 million in October, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That is the biggest gain since July 1982. New construction is also at the highest level since August 2007, months before the Great Recession began.
Americans are clamoring to buy homes, but there are few properties on the market. That has driven up prices. Mortgage rates remain low, however, making more homes affordable.
Steady hiring and some signs that pay gains are picking up have bolstered demand for housing. Younger Americans, buoyed by higher pay, are moving out on their own, renting apartments or seeking to buy houses. Sales of new and existing homes have picked up in recent months.
“With improved employment and income prospects, millennials are an expanding portion of housing demand, as they move out of their parents’ homes,” David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide, said.
The increase was driven by a 75 percent jump in apartment construction, a notoriously volatile category. That was the biggest gain in five years. Single-family home construction rose 10.7 percent.
Still, the future is a bit cloudy for housing. Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election has led to higher interest rates on 10-year bonds, a sign investors expect higher inflation in the coming years. Those increases should lift mortgage rates from their current very low levels. The average rate nationwide on a 30-year fixed mortgage last week was just 3.57 percent.
Trump’s policies could affect housing in different ways. Restrictions on immigration could limit the supply of available workers for construction firms, which have already complained for years of labor shortages.
Yet Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at data provider Trulia, points out that Trump could loosen regulations on banks and reform mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, potentially increasing the flow of credit.
Sales of new homes climbed 13 percent in September from a year earlier. Yet the supply of new properties was equivalent to just 4.8 months of sales, down from 5.8 months a year ago.
And sales of existing homes bumped up 3.2 percent in September from the previous month. But supply is tight there as well: The number of existing homes for sale was barely above 2 million – 6.8 percent lower than a year earlier.
Those shortages are likely fueling more construction. Homebuilding rose strongly last month in the Northeast, where new construction has lagged for months and is up just 2.2 percent in the past year. The increase was also strong in the Midwest, followed by the West and South.
Applications for building permits, a good sign of future activity, barely rose to 1.23 million, the highest in a year. Still, that followed a much larger 6.3 percent gain in the previous month.
Employers are adding an average of about 175,000 jobs a month, and the unemployment rate fell to a low 4.9 percent in October. Average hourly pay rose in the past year by the fastest pace since before the recession began, boosting the confidence of would-be buyers.