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Other Industry News > Housing
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April existing-home sales up but constrained
U.S. sales of pre-owned single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million units in April, up 0.6% from March and 9.7% ahead of the level of April 2012, according to the National Association of Realtors. Existing home sales were at their highest level since November 2009. Total sales have been above year-ago levels for 22 consecutive months, while prices show 14 consecutive months of year-over-year increases. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $192,800 in April, up 11.0% from April 2012. Total housing inventory at the end of April rose 11.9% to 2.16 million existing homes available for sale, representing a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with 4.7 months in March. For more, click here...
Mortgage applications decline
Mortgage applications decreased 9.8% from a week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 17. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan volume, decreased 9.8% from a week earlier. The refinance component of the index decreased 12% from the previous week. The purchase component of the index decreased 4% from the previous week. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 74% of total applications, from 76% the previous week. For more, click here...
Median home price in California hits five-year high
Fueled by high demand and tight inventory, California home sales and prices both experienced strong increases in April, with the median price surpassing the $400,000 mark for the first time in five years, according to the California Association of Realtors. For more, click here...
April housing starts fall
U.S. housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000 units in April, 16.5% below the revised March estimate but 13.1% higher than the April 2012 rate, according to the Census Bureau. Single-family starts were at a rate of 610,000 units in April, 2.1% below the revised March figure. Housing units authorized by permits in April were at a SAAR of 1,017,000 units, a 14.3% increase from the March rate. Permits in April were 35.8% ahead of the April 2012 estimate. For more, click here...
Builder confidence improves in May
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved 3 points to a reading of 44 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for May. This gain, from a downwardly revised 41 in April, reflected improvement in all three index components: current sales conditions, sales expectations, and traffic of prospective buyers. "Builders are noting an increased sense of urgency among potential buyers as a result of thinning inventories of homes for sale, continuing affordable mortgage rates, and strengthening local economies," noted NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "This is definitely an encouraging sign even amidst rising challenges with regard to the cost and availability of building materials, lots, and labor." For more, click here...
Housing affordability remains strong
Nationwide housing affordability held near historic highs in this year's first quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index. In all, 73.7% of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $64,400. This is down slightly from the 74.9% of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the final quarter of 2012. "Thanks to very favorable mortgage rates and prices, housing affordability has remained quite high over the past four years," observed NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "The HOI has not slipped below 70 since the end of 2008. That said, from a builder's perspective, it should be noted that rising costs for building materials, lots, and labor are making it somewhat more expensive to construct new homes in today's market." For more, click here...
Home price growth trend continues in first quarter
Metropolitan area median home prices continued to rise in the first quarter, with the national gain showing the best year-over-year performance in more than seven years, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors. The median existing single-family home price rose in 133 out of 150 metropolitan statistical areas based on closings in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the first quarter last year, while 17 areas had price declines. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said many areas are experiencing a seller's market. "The supply/demand balance is clearly tilted toward sellers in a good portion of the country," he said. For more, click here...
Canadian housing starts trend downward
Housing starts in Canada were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 174,858 units in April, down from 181,146 in March, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Starts were trending at 182,754 units in April, compared to 186,369 in March. The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly SAAR of starts. "As expected, the trend in total housing starts continued to moderate in April," said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC. "As a result, it drew closer to its historical average and is now in line with estimates of household formation. Recent moderation in total housing starts has been led by the multiple starts segment, particularly in Ontario." For more, click here...
Canadian building permits rise
Contractors took out building permits worth $C6.5 billion in March, up 8.6% from February and the third consecutive monthly advance, according to Statistics Canada. The March increase came mostly from the non-residential sector in Ontario and Alberta. The advance in March was not sufficient to reverse the declining trend that began in the fall of 2012. For more, click here...
List of improving housing markets declines
The number of U.S. housing markets showing sustained improvement in three key measures fell slightly to 258 in May from 273 in April, according to the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index. The total includes entrants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The index identifies metro areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment, and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Four new markets were added to the list and 19 were dropped from it this month. For more, click here...
U.S. home prices increase by most since May 2006
Home prices as measured by the S&P/Case-Shiller Index of property values in 20 U.S. cities rose 9.3% from February 2012 to February 2013, topping an 8.1% gain in the year ended in January. Analysts said the increases relate to a lack of supply. For more, click here...
March pending home sales improve
The National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 1.5% to a reading of 105.7 in March, from a downwardly-revised 104.1 in February, and is 7.0% above its March 2012 level. Pending sales have been above year-earlier levels for the past 23 months. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, said the market appears to be leveling off. "Contract activity has been in a narrow range in recent months, not from a pause in demand but because of limited supply," he said. "Little movement is expected in near-term sales closings, but they should edge up modestly as the year progresses. Job additions and rising household wealth will continue to support housing demand." For more, click here...
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