Stacie Hartman

The Mortgage Blog of Stacie Hartman

2011 Housing Forecast Dependent on Jobs

Among the various factors cited as key to housing’s health in the new year, employment remains the most obvious and vital component to a market recovery in 2011. Improvements in job growth and security will provide a healing housing market with more financially confident consumers eager to capitalize on high affordability conditions. Nick Timiraos of The Wall Street Journal writes that without more tax credits to boost sales, the housing market is dependent on job growth. If employment improves, so will demand for housing, Timiraos says. Calculated Risk, a website covering financial-and-economic news, expects modest economic and job growth in 2011, in addition to increases in residential investment and construction employment. Housing analyst and former chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, John Tuccillo, says uncertainty is holding the housing market back and feels the most immediate source of new jobs will come at the state and local level, rather than from the federal government.


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Mortgage Rates End Year at 4.82 Percent

According to the Mortgage Bankers Associations’ Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the weeks ending December 24 and December 31, total application volume was down 3.9 percent the week of the Christmas holiday, then up 2.3 percent to end the year. For the week ending December 24, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index rose 3.1 percent before falling 0.8 percent the following week. The average contract interest rate for 30 year fixed-rate mortgage also increased before falling, ending the year at 4.82 percent. More here and here.

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Pending Home Sales Rise Again in November

After rising 10.4 percent in October, The National Association of Realtor’s Pending Home Sales Index was up again in November, rising 3.5 percent. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said historically high housing affordability is boosting sales but further gains are needed to reach normal activity. The Pending Home Sales Index is a forward-looking indicator reflecting contracts, not closings. Signings are up 22.1 percent over their June low, which was the lowest since the NAR began tracking the data in 2001. More here and here.

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Majority of Americans Still Aspire To Homeownership

More than 51 percent of people recently surveyed by Fannie Mae said the housing crisis had no effect on their willingness to buy a home. Among those that said it had an impact, 27 percent said it made them more likely to own, while 19 percent said they were more likely to rent. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, said the housing crisis hasn’t dented the desire for homeownership but it may have changed the reasons people want to own. When deciding to purchase a home, lifestyle considerations such as sense of security, raising a family, and location and quality of living space were more likely to influence consumers than financial concerns. More here and here.

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2010 Ends With Increasing Economic Optimism

The economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the third quarter, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Real GDP increased 2.6 percent, after rising 1.7 percent in the second quarter. Brightening economic data, including improvements to new-and-existing home sales and consumer spending, have boosted expectations for the fourth quarter and 2011, with many economists raising their growth estimates from previous forecasts. Eight banks and research firms surveyed by The Wall Street Journal have upped their fourth-quarter growth estimates to an average of 3.5 percent from 2.6 percent in early December. More here.

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40 Percent of Metro Areas To See Price Increases In 2011

According to a recent real-estate market forecast from Veros Real Estate Solutions, 40 percent of major metropolitan areas will see appreciation in home prices over the next year. Veros looked at the median price tier in cities of 500,000 or more and expects a 2.5-to-3.5 percent increase in values between December 2010 and December 2011 in select markets. Eric Fox, Veros’ vice president of statistical and economic modeling, said, though things aren’t happening quickly, they are getting better and, even in depreciating areas, the forecast remains much better than those from a year ago. More here and here.

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Fannie Mae Forecasts Brighter 2011

Due to improvements in the job market, increased demand for goods and services, and gains in consumer spending and confidence, Fannie Mae’s December 2010 Economic Outlook sees a brighter economic future in the new year. Fannie Mae forecasts an 18.5 percent increase in housing starts, a 20 percent rise in new home sales, and a four percent rise in existing home sales. Their Economics & Mortgage Market Analysis Group also expects GDP growth of 3.4 percent, a drop in unemployment, and a stronger labor market in 2011. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, said they expect people to take advantage of affordability conditions as their employment and income outlook brightens. More here and here.

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New Home Sales, Prices Up In November

Sales of new single-family houses rose 5.5 percent in November, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Despite the gains, sales are still 21.2 percent below year-ago levels. The number of new homes on the market, at the current sales pace, represents an 8.2 month supply, down from 8.8 months in October. The median sales price for a new house rose 8.0 percent to $213,000. More here and here.

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Existing Home Sales Rise 5.6 percent In November

Existing home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, rose 5.6 percent in November to a rate of 4.68 million from 4.43 million in October. According to data from The National Association of Realtors, sales are 27.9 percent below November 2009, which was the initial deadline for the first-time homebuyer tax credit. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the gains in home sales are encouraging and he expects the market to reach healthy, sustainable levels in 2011. The national median existing-home price was up 0.4 percent from November 2009. More here and here.

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Purchase Demand Stable Over Past Four Weeks

According to The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, total mortgage loan application volume fell last week, as the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose from 4.84 percent to 4.85 percent. The Purchase Index was down 2.5 percent from a week earlier while the Refinance Index fell 24.6 percent. Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said refinance activity continues to fall with rates near six-month highs while purchase applications, though down for a second week, remain little changed over the past month. The Purchase Index’s four-week average is down just 1.2 percent. More here and here.

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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.


Stacie Hartman
360 Mortgage Group
Account Executive
Oregon and SW Washington
Phone: 503.757.9565

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