WASHINGTON/May 25, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week to their lowest levels of the year. The benchmark 30-year rate dipped below the key 4 percent mark.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans tumbled to 3.95 percent from 4.02 percent last week. The rate stood at 3.64 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent in 2016, the lowest level in records dating to 1971.
The rate on 15-year mortgages slipped to 3.19 percent from 3.27 percent last week.
IRVINE, Calif./May 24, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — Southern California home sales dipped nearly 5 percent last month compared to a year ago but the housing price hit a record high in two counties.
The research group CoreLogic says 20,244 houses and condos were sold in April in Los Angeles County and five surrounding counties. That’s down 8.4 percent from March and 4.8 percent from April of 2016.
However, low home inventory, low mortgage rates and job growth kept prices surging. The region’s median home price was $485,000 — the highest since it reached $500,000 in August 2007.
CoreLogic says the price hit an all-time high in Orange and San Diego counties and tied a decade-old record in LA County.
The region’s most affordable counties — Riverside and San Bernardino — also posted year-over-year price gains.
DUMMERSTON, Vt./May 20, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — Some residents in a district of historic homes and tidy gardens are worried that Airbnb could alter closely knit neighborhoods by creating a revolving door of strangers.
In West Dummerston, neighbors in the compact neighborhood noticed the influx of newcomers when a neighbor started renting a home on Airbnb, said Beverly Tier.
“This is a quiet little community,” Tier said. “We know who our neighbors are, and when we have Airbnb people come, we don’t know who our neighbors are. There are a lot of children in this neighborhood, so that’s a little bit disconcerting for some people.”
The internet-based service that allows people to rent out their homes is growing in popularity, and Select Board Chairman Zeke Goodband tells Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/2rp0c1J) that the town is ready to take action amid mounting complaints in West Dummerston.
“The Airbnbs are flying under the radar,” Goodband says. “We just want to get them above ground and have them be subject to the same safety regulations and inspections that other rental properties are subject to.”
The town is preparing to send letters to those who’ve rented a home on Airbnb and ask them to apply for zoning permits with a goal of ensuring that Airbnb homes are subject to the same regulations as other rental properties in the community, Goodband said.
Dummerston isn’t alone.
In March, the town of Hinesburg put out a notice reminding Airbnb hosts that they need local permits. And in Hartford, a group of residents complained in February about cars driven by Airbnb renters getting stuck in the snow and inadequate parking.
State lawmakers recognized a need to get a handle on the Airbnb scene in Vermont, and they asked a number of state regulatory agencies to weigh in on the issue.
The Legislature also has ordered a second study this year to continue looking at how the state might play a role in the growth of online short-term rentals.
Airbnb, for its part, encourages hosts to check local zoning regulations to make sure rules are being followed to ensure hosts, neighbors and guests are on the same page.
The 3,000 Vermonters who rent their homes via Airbnb earned more than $17 million from 140,000 guests last year, which was an 87 percent boost from 2015. Airbnb said the typical Vermont listing is occupied for 23 nights per year and that the average stay is between two and three nights.
May 17, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Staying Put – The ebb and flow of real estate norms and what’s expected in a given time-frame is constantly changing. Sometimes, homeowners are eager to sell their home and upgrade in a house far away. Other times, the urge to move isn’t so high. It’s dependent upon real estate trends and financial circumstances at the time of the evaluation. Today, rising interest rates are encouraging homeowners to renovate their homes instead of moving to a bigger place.
Homeowners are moving less, creating a drag on the economy, fewer commissions for real estate brokers and a brutally competitive market for the first-time home shoppers who are not able to land a house of their dreams in a price range they can actually afford today. For most today, reported the New York Times, the desire to stay put began out of caution or necessity. After the Great Recession, millions of homeowners lost out on their businesses and were forced to go into damage control. Thinking about upgrading houses and moving was definitely not at the top of the list.
Even though the economy today has improved with unemployment below 5 percent and home prices are steadily climbing, homeowners with historically low mortgage rates do not want to take on the new interest rates that will come with new home mortgages. Most Americans refinanced when mortgage rates were incomparably low. Grabbing one today just wouldn’t compare.
Data shows that the median length of time people have owned their homes rose to 8.7 years in 2016, which is more than double what it had been 10-years prior. Now that interest rates are being risen by the Fed, the housing market may face a problem called the lock-in effect: homeowners are reluctant to move, since moving entails taking out a mortgage at a much higher rate than what they have today.
May 10, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) For the past few years, the real estate market has been heading towards a one-sided equation with the amount of supply falling deeply short of the mounting demand. The market is unbalanced as ever today, and strong demand continues to push prices higher and higher on the lean supply. This past Wednesday, more evidence was released to confirm these equation suspicions. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly purchase loan data showed that the average size of a home loan was the largest in the history of its survey. The survey’s life extends back to 1990.
The higher prices are having multiple effects on the market at this time. For starters, buyers have to take out heftier loans to compensate for the unaffordable rates that sellers are getting away with. Additionally, buyers have to make trade-offs on the kinds of homes they can afford, or consider shutting out home-ownership altogether. To stay competitive, they have to adjust their borrowing. This results in larger mortgage sizes, reflecting not just more expensive properties, but also more leveraged ones.
Back when the MBA started this survey, the median mortgage size was only about 3.3 times the median annual income. It’s now over five times as big. However, it is worth noting that buyers get bigger homes and lower interest rates with the purchases today. Regardless, first-time home-buyers and other members of the millennial generation are being hit with unaffordable home prices that are sending them scurrying in every other direction.
Forcing Americans to take out these gratuitous mortgages in order to stay competitive in the market isn’t helping the health of the industry. Construction industry participants are feverishly snatching up building permits to try and offset the unbalanced equation. Today, the median down payment on a home is 10% of a couple’s income. That’s a tough payment to swallow.
May 10, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) The inventory of available homes in the United States is at a historic low. The lack of availability has squeezed many home-buyers out of the market, unable to compete with the rising real estate rates and quick closing requirements. Realtor.com this week published an article stating that buyers need to just hang in there a little longer. More new homes are finally on the way.
Buying a home today isn’t exactly an easy, inexpensive process. Buyers need to throw down a down payment, secure financing, fill out more paperwork than is necessary, and have their offer accepted ahead of the 7 other competitors typical on every available home today. Plus, not to mention, that requires buyers to find their dream home in the first place – one that is even up for sale. Naturally, the lack of supply and the mounting demand has worked its way into the construction industry.
Builders secured more permits this past March than in the past previous years. About 1.26 million stepped up to the plate to help the construction of the sorely needed, brand new living spaces that millions want today. According to the seasonably adjusted numbers in the latest residential sales report jointly released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, these permits are a strong indication that millions are already at work to help stabilize the incredibly lopsided housing market.
The March findings were a 3.6% increase from February 2017, and a 17% jump from March 2016. “Its good news, confirming that new construction is continuing to rise,” said Realtor.com’s Senior Economist, Joseph Kirchner. “That’s important, because it means it will help to relieve the nation’s housing shortage.” More options for condos and rentals are already expected to hit the market as soon as this summer and fall.
SANTA FE, N.M./May 9, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — Former CIA operative, author and activist Valerie Plame Wilson is selling her home in New Mexico.
Sotheby’s International Realty has the gated compound on the market for $2.1 million. It’s in an affluent neighborhood on the northeast side of Santa Fe.
County records show the property is owned by Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson, a former ambassador.
Plame confirmed Friday that the home is for sale but said they are “absolutely not leaving New Mexico.” She and her family have lived in Santa Fe for about a decade.
In 2003, Plame was exposed as a CIA operative by officials of the George W. Bush administration in an effort to discredit her husband, who had criticized the decision to invade Iraq.
Plame’s memoir was a best-seller. She is a consultant to the Santa Fe Institute, a member of the Global Zero Leadership board and is co-author of a series of espionage novels.
According to the listing , the family’s 4,609-square-foot home includes four bedrooms, five bathrooms, 11 fireplaces, custom bookcases and niches for displaying art. It was decorated by Los Angeles designer Thomas Callaway.
Aside from views of the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the property has solar panels, a rain catchment system and a guest house.
HARTFORD, Conn./May 8, 2017 (AP)(StlRealEstate.News) — The Connecticut Association of REALTORS is urging state lawmakers to “give us a Connecticut we can sell” as they craft a new two-year budget.
The group is planning a rally on Tuesday in Bushnell Park in Hartford, near the state Capitol, to “encourage an open dialogue to find solutions for the difficult issues we face in the state.” The fiscal year that begins July 1 is now projected to be $2.3 billion deficit while the second year of the next two-year budget could be $2.7 billion in the red.
Connecticut’s main spending account is typically about $18 billion.
Association officials say their members are on the front lines every day and see people moving out-of-state because of employment concerns, the cost of living, infrastructure issues and high taxes.
St. Louis Market Losing Pulte Homes and Employees Lose Jobs
ST. LOUIS, MO/May 6, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) The recent announcement that PulteGroup, the Atlanta-based parent company of Pulte Homes, is leaving the St. Louis market is not good news for the company’s workers. More than 20 Chesterfield-based Pulte Home’s employees will be laid off after the company exits the market toward the end of 2018.
“Following a detailed review of our competitive position, we have determined that the market dynamics are not conducive to running a return focused business,” said Pulte Group Director of St. Louis Operations, Jeff Lear. A letter sent from Lear sent to trade partners expressed that the home-builder would continue building out its remaining communities, which he anticipated being complete by the end of 2018.
In January 2017 the company’s newest project Skyline at Central Park Townes in Richmond Heights was unveiled to the public. It’s advertised as offering a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle in bustling Richmond Heights, just 10 miles from downtown St. Louis in the highly regarded Clayton school district. The starting price for each of the 42 innovative town-homes offering a variety of open floor plans with unique and flexible space is $414,990.
SALINA, Kan./May 6, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — A former Kansas missile silo has been repurposed into a luxury condo, though the developer isn’t saying who has snapped up the spaces in search of peace of mind during a possible disaster.
Larry Hall said that units inside the “survival bunker” about 40 miles north of Salina come with appliances and furniture, KAKE-TV (http://bit.ly/2pG74UV) reported.
The complex, which can accommodate as many as 75 people, also features a security system, classroom, swimming pool, rock-climbing wall, shooting range, gyms with saunas, pet park and an arcade, Hall said. There’s also a self-renewing water supply, grocery store and a medical wing with a pharmacy.
The units have fetched as much as $5 million, drawing interest from Hollywood folks and professional athletes, Hall said. He declined to divulge any names, citing non-disclosure agreements keeping their identities confidential.
Hall is one of the complex’s occupants.
“I don’t want to be one of those people that depends on the government to bail me out if the crap hits the fan,” he said. “I want to be able to take care of myself, and that’s what this place does for me.”
That condo complex is sold out, though Hall says he’s building a similar one in nearby Tescott.