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Home builder confidence held firm this month, according to the National Association of Home Builders' monthly Housing Market Index. September's reading of 13 equaled a 17-month low. The HMI is on a 1-100 scale. A value of 50 or better indicates "favorable conditions" for home builders. Broken down, the Housing Market Index is actually a weighted composite of 3 separate surveys which measures current single-family sales; projected single-family sales; and foot traffic of prospective buyers. None of the 3 September surveys improved from August: Single-Family Sales : 13 (unchanged from August) Projected Single-Family Sales : 18 (unchanged from August) Buyer (1 comments)
For the 17th straight month, the Case-Shiller Index reports that home values are rising across the United States. As compared to June, July's prices were up by 4 percent. However, despite the improvement, July's Case-Shiller Index showed weaker as compared to prior months. In June, just 3 cities posted year-to-year reductions in home value. In July, 10 of 20 did. In June, just 1 city posted a month-to-month reduction in home value. In July, 7 of 20 did. As a spokesperson for Case-Shiller said, values "crept forward" in July. But not that it matters - the Case-Shiller Index is a (0 comments)
New Home Sales Unchanged In August; Market Stabilizing - 09/30/10 12:19 PM
Existing Home Sales rebounded last month after a lackluster July. New Home Sales data, by contrast, did not. After an upward revision to July's data, New Home Sales remained unchanged at 288,000 units in August. It marks the second-lowest number of units sold in a month since 1963, the year government started its record-keeping. At the current pace of sales, the newly-built home inventory would be depleted in 8.6 months. The August New Home Sales was weaker-than-expected, but both Wall Street investors and Main Street economists are shrugging it off. The numbers were foreshadowed by weakening housing figures from earlier this (0 comments)
What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 27th, 2010 - 09/30/10 12:13 PM
Mortgage markets improved last week as markets digested a bevy of data from the housing sector, plus the scheduled Federal Open Market Committee meeting. In back-and-forth trading, conforming mortgage rates in Minnesota bottomed out Wednesday before rising through Friday's afternoon close. Rates still managed to eke out improvement on the week overall. According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates remain near their lowest levels of all time. Despite low rates, however, rate shoppers are finding it a challenge to lock the "best price". This is because Wall Street is conflicted about the future of the U.S. economy and, as a result, mortgage (0 comments)
Existing Home Sales Rebound In August, Give Hope For Autumn - 09/28/10 12:30 PM
Sales of existing homes in recovered in August, perhaps the result of a post-tax credit normalization. As compared to July, Existing Home Sales rose 8 percent in August, buoyed by falling interest rates and slow-to-rise home prices. There's lot of "good deals" out there and home buyers in Minneapolis are taking advantage. The housing gains are relative, however. August's total units sold barely crossed 4 million and still trails the average figures of the last few years by close to 1 million units. Despite that, the August Existing Home Sales report can be considered a strong one. This is for several (1 comments)
Housing Starts Rise In August, But By Less Than The Headlines Report - 09/23/10 05:48 PM
The number of single-family Housing Starts rebounded in August, climbing 4 percent from July's 14-month low. A "Housing Start" is defined as a home on which construction has started and the August increase represents 18,000 single-family units nationwide. If you only read the headlines, however, you would think the data was stronger. This is because the Housing Starts data is actually a composite of 3 types of homes - single-family, multi-family, and apartments - but the press tends to lump them all three together. As a sampling, here are a some headlines on the story: US Stock Futures Rise After Housing (0 comments)
A Simple Explanation Of The Federal Reserve Statement (September 21st, 2010) - 09/21/10 08:42 PM
Today, in its 7th meeting of the year, the Federal Open Market Committee voted 9-to-1 to leave the Fed Funds Rate unchanged. The Fed Funds Rate remains at a historical low, within a Fed's target range of 0.000-0.250 percent. In its press release, the FOMC said that the pace of economic recovery "has slowed" in recent months. Household spending is increasing but remains restrained by high levels of unemployment, falling home values, and restrictive credit. For the second straight month, the Federal Reserve showed less economic optimism as compared to the prior year's worth of FOMC statements dating back to June (0 comments)
The Federal Reserve Meets Today. Should You Lock Your Rate Before It Adjourns? - 09/21/10 08:38 PM
The Federal Open Market Committee adjourns from its 6th scheduled meeting of the year today, and 7th overall. Upon adjournment, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will release a formal statement to the market. In it, the Fed is expected to announce "no change" to the Fed Funds Rate. Currently, the Fed Funds Rate is within a target range of 0.000-0.250 percent. It's been at this same level since December 2008. Note that the Feds Funds Rate is not "a mortgage rate" - nor is it a a consumer rate of any kind. The Fed Funds Rate is a rate that defines (0 comments)
What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 20th, 2010 - 09/21/10 08:33 PM
Mortgage markets were highly volatile, yet relatively unchanged last week in back-and-forth trading on Wall Street. Global investors are grappling with the state of U.S. economy and unable to discern whether it's growing, or slowing. As an real-world illustration, the government's August Retail Sales report showed strong growth nationwide. However, in looking at a subset of that same data that accounted for rising gas prices, and excluded automotive-related sales, the results were far more tame. In other words, despite the winning headlines, there was no clear conclusion in August's Retail Sales. As another example, consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level (0 comments)
Rent A Home Or Buy A Home : The Case For Both Sides - 09/21/10 08:28 PM
Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy Is it better to rent a Minneapolis home, or to buy one? The answer may not be as clear-cut as you think. In this balanced, 3-minute joint interview from NBC's The Today Show, you'll hear the case for both sides. From the pro-renting part of the talk, there's valid points about the economic impact of low credit scores and/or no cash for downpayment, and the ongoing, annual cost of home maintenance - estimated at 2% of a home's value. Plus, renters have the ability to "follow a job" to (0 comments)
According to foreclosure-tracking firm RealtyTrac, the number of foreclosure filings climbed 4 percent in August from the month prior. A foreclosure filing is defined as default notice, scheduled auction, or bank repossession. Despite the number of filings surpassing 300,000 for the 18th straight month, RealtyTrac's report shows some bright spots for housing. The number of default notices served per month fell for the 7th time this year. Foreclosure activity in Nevada, the nation's leading foreclosure state, is down 25% from last August. Foreclosure activity has not materially increased since early-2009, pointing to a stabilization. In addition, each of the 10 (0 comments)
Home Affordability Gets A Boost From Weak Back-to-School Retail Receipts - 09/15/10 12:56 PM
The recent rise in mortgage rates was slowed this week after the government released its Retail Sales report for August. Prior to Tuesday, mortgage rates had been spiking across Wisconsin on the resurgent hope for U.S. economic recovery. The sentiment shift was rooted in reports including the Pending Home Sales Index and Initial Jobless Claims, both of which showed surprising strength last week. August's Retail Sales, though, after removing motor vehicles, auto parts and gasoline sales, failed to maintain the momentum. Its figures were actually in-line with expectations - it's just that expectations weren't all that high. Wall Street now wonders whether (0 comments)
The Math Of Choosing A Great Closing Date - 09/15/10 12:49 PM
Want a lower mortgage rate on your upcoming Plymouth home buy? Think about moving up the closing date. The reason is rooted in "rate locks", a bank's guarantee to honor a specific mortgage rate for a specific, finite period of time. Rate locks allow home buyers to reserve mortgage rates today even though their respective closings may be scheduled as far as a year into the future. A rate lock is a contract. No matter what the "current market rate" is at the time of closing, the bank will honor the terms of the original rate lock. It would be like (0 comments)
What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 13th, 2010 - 09/13/10 12:26 PM
A shift in Wall Street sentiment caused mortgage markets to worsen last week. There wasn't much in the way of new data, but the numbers that did hit the street helped quell fears of a double-dip recession. Conforming mortgage rates rose between Monday-Friday for the first time since June, and mortgage-backed securities have now lost ground on six of the last 7 trading days. During this period, conforming mortgage rates in Minnesota have risen by as much as 0.375 percent. Mortgage rates for FHA-insured home loans are higher, too. Remember, concern for the future of the U.S. economy was a major (0 comments)
When adjustable-rate mortgages are on the verge of adjusting, a common concern among homeowners is that their mortgage rates will adjust higher. Well, this year, because of the math of how ARMs adjust, homeowners in Plymouth and around the country are seeing that mortgage rates on ARMs can sometimes adjust lower, too. Adjusting conforming mortgages are adjusting to as low as 3 percent. As a quick review, here's the timeline for most conforming adjustable-rate mortgages: There's a "starter period" in which the interest rate remains fixed. This can range from 1-10 years. There's a rate change after the starter period. (0 comments)
The private-sector Case-Shiller Index reported home values up 5 percent nationwide in June. The government's own Home Price Index, however, reached a different conclusion. According to the Federal Home Finance Agency, month-to-month home values fell 0.3 percent in June, and values are down by 1.7 percent from June 2009. So, as a home buyer and/or homeowner in Plymouth , by which valuation model should you make your bets? Perhaps neither. This is because both the Case-Shiller Index and the Home Price have inherent methodology flaws, the most glaring of which is their respective sample sets. The Case-Shiller sample set, for (0 comments)
Home Sales Are Back On The Rise After A 2-Month Pullback - 09/08/10 03:05 PM
Just one week after reports of Existing Home Sales and New Home Sales plunging, the housing market is signaling that auturm may fare better than did summer. The number of homes under contract to sell rose 5 percent in July. The data comes from the July Pending Home Sales Index, as published by the National Association of Realtors®. By definition, a "pending home sales" is a home that is sold, but not yet closed. Historically, 80% of such homes close within 60 days which makes the Pending Home Sales Index an excellent, forward-looking indicator for the real estate market. Indeed, the (2 comments)
What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 7th, 2010 - 09/08/10 02:59 PM
Last week was a roller-coaster ride in the conforming mortgage market. After opening the week by making new, all-time lows, markets reversed sharply on better-than-expected data in manufacturing and housing, and data from overseas. Rates rose through Wednesday and Thursday, then Friday's jobs report sent rates jumping. Last week marked the first time that mortgage rates worsened 3 days in a row since late-April. The combination of the jobs report not posting as poorly as predicted, and light volume because of Labor Day, pushed rates higher by as much as a quarter-percent in some markets. On the week, conforming mortgage rates (1 comments)
August 2010 Jobs Report Pushes Mortgage Rates Higher - 09/08/10 02:54 PM
On the first Friday of each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases Non-Farm Payrolls data for the month prior. The data is more commonly called "the jobs report" and it's a major factor in setting mortgage rates for residents of Minnesota and homeowners everywhere. Especially today, considering the economy. This is because, although it's believed that the recession of 2009 is over, there's emerging talk of new recession starting. Support for the argument is mixed: Job growth has been slow, but planned layoffs touch a 10-year low. Consumer confidence is down, but beating expectations. Consumer spending is weak, but not (0 comments)
August's Fed Minutes Lead Mortgage Rates Higher - 09/02/10 06:18 PM
Home affordability took a slight hit this week after the Federal Reserve's release of its August 10 meeting minutes. The "Fed Minutes" is a lengthy, detailed recap of a Federal Open Market Committee meeting, not unlike the minutes published after a corporate conference, or condo association gathering. The Federal Reserve publishes its meeting minutes 3 weeks after a FOMC get-together. The minutes are lengthy, too. At 6,181 words, August's Fed Minutes is thick with data about the economy, its current threats, and its deeper strengths. The minutes also recount the conversations that, ultimately, shape our nation's monetary policy. It's for this (0 comments)
According to the Standard & Poors Case-Shiller Index, home values rose 5 percent in June versus the month prior, and 4 percent from a year earlier. It's the 16th consecutive month in which Case-Shiller reported an increase in home values and the third straight month of outstanding results. That said, homeowners and home buyers in Maple Grove would do well to temper Case-Shiller enthusiasm. The June figures are issued on 60-day delay and, over the last 60 days, housing data has been lackluster at best. Existing Home Sales are down 27 percent. New Home Sales are down 12 percent. Homebuilder (1 comments)
Mortgage rates are low right now but pinning them down this week could be a challenge. As Labor Day Weekend nears and Wall Streeters take their head-start on the holiday, trading volume will fall, which will cause mortgage rates in Minnesota to get jumpy. As mortgage rates change, so does the long-term cost of owning a home. Every 1/8 percent adjustment changes a household budget. Meanwhile, the relationship between "vacation days" and mortgage rate volatility is an interesting one; based more in scarcity than market fundamentals. Rates tend to get volatile near holidays because of two inter-related facts: Conforming mortgage (0 comments)
What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : August 30th, 2010 - 09/02/10 03:17 PM
Mortgage markets improved last week despite a major mortgage bond sell-off Friday afternoon. Prior to the jump, conforming mortgage rates had cut new, all-time lows by Thursday, only to lose up to 0.250 percent on the last day of the week. Meanwhile, the same type of news that drove rates lower Monday through Thursday also contributed to rates rising Friday - revised projections for the U.S. economy. Early in the week, "bad" news piled on which, in turn, lowered expectations for the economy and pushed mortgage rates down: Existing Home Sales dropped 27% from June. Single-Family New Home Sales dropped 12% (0 comments)
With home prices holding firm and mortgage rates still dropping, home affordability is reaching new heights. According to the quarterly Home Opportunity Index as published by the National Association of Home Builders, more than 72 percent of all new and existing homes sold between April-June 2010 were affordable to families earning the national median income. It's a slightly higher reading as compared to last quarter, and the second highest reading in the survey's history. As with all aspects of real estate, however, home affordability varies by locale. For example, 97.2% of homes sold in Syracuse were affordable for families making (1 comments)
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