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Keeping you updated on the market! For the week of
July 4, 2011
Are we looking at the making of a new trend? Last week, the FHFA home price index posted a modest gain. This week, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index showed that prices rose in 13 of the 20 cities it tracked in April. The index, which covers metro areas that include about 50 percent of U.S. households, rose 0.7 percent, posting the first increase since July 2010.
We've often been dismissive of the Case-Shiller index when the data were negative, so we won't become overly optimistic when it is positive. The fact is that for economists, analysts, and market traders looking at macro trends in the housing sector, the Case-Shiller index might provide some value; for any particular local market, though, it's really not informative.
That said, we stand by our position that the worst is over in pricing, and that we will see a more stable environment going forward.
We were actually more encouraged by the National Association of Realtors' pending home sale index, which showed that pending sales of existing homes rose strongly in May, posting an 8.2 percent gain to lift the index to 88.8. Gains were most prevalent in the West and Midwest .
We weren't surprised by the pick up in action in the West, particularly in down-on-its-luck Las Vegas , which saw home sales rise 1.8 percent in May, according to research firm DataQuick, which attributed the rise to an influx of cash buyers. Even foreigners were snapping up bargains in Sin City , accounting for 3 percent of May sales. DataQuick said that buyers paid a median price of $120,000 for resale houses, $65,000 for condos, and $128,000 for newly built homes.
We are sure that many sellers in Vegas aren't pleased with the prices their homes are fetching these days, but the only way to clear the market efficiently is to let prices fall to a clearing level. The silver lining for the Las Vegas market is that prices are likely at or close to that clearing level.
Our issue with Las Vegas , and the overall market for that matter, is that there are too many cash buyers compared to mortgaged buyers. We've been pounding the table over the past couple months on why we think this market is best leveraged: homes are at multi-year lows (back to price levels a decade ago) while mortgage rates are at a multi-decade low. A leveraged purchase in what we expect to be a rising market over the next five to 10 years is the more remunerative option over the long term.
Diversity might be the issue on why there are too few mortgaged buyers. The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that less than 9 percent of loans in the first quarter of 2011 were written for borrowers having FICO scores below 650, while 46 percent were to borrowers with scores over 750. We are all for high FICO scores, to be sure, but we are also for lending to those with lower scores. These borrowers are good for business and the overall market when the risk in the loan is priced accurately.
Release Date and Time
Factory Orders (May)
Tues. July 5, 10:00 am, et
Moderately Important. The rise in back orders suggests business investment continues to lead the recovery.
Wed., July 6, 7:00 am, et
Important. Purchase activity should accelerate based on positive contract and sales data.
Moderately Important. Non-revolving credit use for big-ticket items is pacing growth
Are Americans Tired of Homeownership?
We'll cut to the chase and answer that question with a resounding “no.” A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that nearly nine in 10 Americans believe homeownership is an important part of the American dream.
We have always known that most people prefer to own than to rent, which is why we don't sweat headlines like this recent one from Housingwire.com: “Rental prices rise 6.7% as Americans sour on homeownership.” Actually, we see rising rents in many metropolitan markets making homeownership seem even sweeter. A new report from housing search engine Hotpads.com shows that rental hikes in the studio and five-bedroom rental segment in many markets have posted double-digit gains over the past year. At that rate of increase, homeownership will look like the better alternative in no time.
When we mix rising rents with low mortgage rates and stabilizing prices, we arrive at a bullish outlook on housing. All we need at this point is a little more job growth and a little more leeway in lending standards, and then we'd be looking at a long-term secular up-trend in prices.
Michael S. Dutra Regional Sales Manager Shamrock Financial Corporation (401) 486-6894 Phone (401) 228-9693 Fax
Getting a mortgage when you purchase a new home or refinancing your existing mortgage shouldn't be complicated. At Shamrock, we take pride in our ability to get you the best loan for your situation. We're accustomed to handling unique loan situations, and our programs are flexible, personalized and successful. A better life through a better mortgage is more than a marketing slogan, it is our mission.
Our consumer friendly website provides you with all of the tools necessary to answer virtually any mortgage question. Trying to decide if now is a good time to refinance? Check out our Refinance Mortgage Calculator. Wondering if a new home equity loan or fixed rate second mortgage can lower your monthly payments? Use our Debt Consolidation Mortgage Calculator. Confused by all the loan programs from which to choose? Our Loan Program page will help you find the right type of loan for YOU.
Need a customized quote? It would be our pleasure to prepare a personalized mortgage quote for the home mortgage program of your choice.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.