Stacie Hartman

The Mortgage Blog of Stacie Hartman

Housing Market Outlook Begins To Brighten

Recent economic forecasts from industry insiders and expert analysts call for modest improvements in the housing market and overall economy in the next year and beyond. Respondents to the September 2010 MacroMarkets Home Price Expectations Survey expect home prices to fall by just 0.8 percent in 2010 and to gain 0.8 percent next year. It was the first time since the survey began in May that didn’t show increasing pessimism among the responding analysts. In a survey of bank executives done for Bank Director magazine, 60 percent said the economy will remain the same over the next six months and 49 percent of bank CEOs and CFOs said they don’t believe there will be a double-dip recession. Casey B. Mulligan, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, argues that the homebuyer tax credit wasn’t propping up prices as much as reported. Mulligan believes the market will proceed at the same pace as it did when the credit was in place and expects little, if any, reduction in home prices.

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Purchase Demand Up As Rates Hit New Low

According to The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.38 percent from 4.44 percent the week before. That is the lowest rates have been since the weekly survey began in 1990. And though the Market Composite Index, which measures total loan volume, was down 0.8 percent, the Purchase Index rose 2.4 percent from a week earlier driven by a 4.5 percent increase in government purchase applications. More here and here.

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Signs of Stabilization In Latest Price Report

Home prices rose 0.6 percent in July over June and were 3.2 percent higher compared with a year earlier, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s said, based on the recent behavior of the housing market, home prices are more likely to remain stable than to return to the heights reached in 2005-2006. Blitzer feels the strength of the housing market will become clearer in the next few months. Prices rose in 12 of the 20 largest metropolitan areas in July and half saw year-over-year gains. More here, here, and here.

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New Home Sales Flat in August

According to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, sales of new single-family homes were unchanged in August from July’s rate. The median sales price of new homes was $204,700 with an average price of $248,800. Leif Thomsen, CEO of Mortgage Master, told CNN he believes the report shows prices are starting to stabilize. The estimate of new houses for sale was 206,000, a supply of 8.6 months at the current sales rate. More here and here.

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Housing, Tax Credits, And The Economy

Bernie Markstein, senior economist with the National Association of Home Builders, says the homebuyer tax credit helped stabilize prices but further improvement in housing is now dependent on general economic growth.

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Existing Home Sales Up In August

Sales of existing homes, including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 7.6 percent in August but remained below last year’s levels, according to a report from The National Association of Realtors. The median existing-home price was also up, rising 0.8 percent from a year ago. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said home values have been stabilizing over the past year but he expects a slow, gradual recovery because of continued economic uncertainty. Total housing inventory at the end of August was down after months of increases, falling 0.6 percent. More here, here, and here.

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Mortgage Rates Near All-Time Lows

According to The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.44 percent last week from 4.47 percent the week before. Despite rates near all-time lows, The Market Composite Index, which measures total mortgage loan application, was down 1.4 percent. Margaret Kelly, chief executive of RE/MAX, said she doesn’t believe the housing market will suffer another massive dip but feels it can’t fully recover without improvement in the jobs market. More here and here.

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Residential Construction Rises To 4-Month High

Housing starts rose 10.5 percent in August, reaching their highest level since April. The unexpected jump is a sign that the housing market is beginning to stabilize after the summer slump that followed the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, building permits and housing completions were also up in August. Stuart Miller, Lennar’s chief executive, said there’s been an increase in activity after a tough summer for the housing industry. More here, here, and here.

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Builder Confidence Holds In September

According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, builder confidence in the housing market held steady at 13 in September. The index gauges builders’ perception of the market for newly built, single-family homes. A number below 50 indicates more builders view conditions as poor than good. Despite remaining unchanged from August’s low level, NAHB’s chief economist David Crowe, said he expects, with moderate improvement in the job market, conditions should improve for new-home sales in the year’s final quarter. More here, here, and here.

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Real Estate Market On The Rebound

Sam Zell, CEO of Equity Investments, sees increased activity in the real-estate market and says, despite the dire predictions and forecasts of industry analysts, it is improving slowly and will continue to get better.

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About Me:

Stacie Hartman is a wholesale mortgage Account Executive working with loan officers in Oregon and SW Washington. She has 18 years in the mortgage industry, an extensive knowledge of financing options, and a commitment to open communication and client service that make her stand out in her field. Her goals begin with uncompromising service and end with excellent results and repeat business.

Contact:

Stacie Hartman
360 Mortgage Group
Account Executive
Oregon and SW Washington
Phone: 503.757.9565
Email: shartman@360mortgagegroup.com
website: www.360mortgagegroup.com

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