Saturday, September 10, 2011

Monthly Reflection on the North Texas Housing Market

As expected, sales in the North Texas MLS system were much better than August 2010 (up 27% in volume and up 3% in average price, for a total dollar volume increase of just over 30%).  Granted, beating last August’s sales was a pretty easy task due to the 6/30/10 tax credit expiration and subsequent doldrums in the second half of 2010.  But even if the year-over-year improvement has to be taken with a grain of salt, the actual sales volume itself CERTAINLY IS something to get excited about.  As the chart shows, August’s sales broke out from the typical shape of the sales curve.  And as of 8/31/11, pending sales remained significantly higher, up 17% versus pending sales on 8/31/10.  So there is hope for continued improvement.

Clearly we still have our challenges in the North Texas housing industry.  But there are rays of hope for a turnaround.  We are very blessed to live and work in a relatively stable market, and there are elements of good news out there along with those challenges we are facing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Housing Market Update from My Loan Officer at Starkey Mortgage

Home Prices Up for Third Straight Month:
Spring buying pushed home prices up for a third straight month in most major U.S. cities in June.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index showed Tuesday that prices increased in June from May in 19 of the 20 cities tracked. Prices rose 3.6 percent in the April-June quarter from the previous quarter. Neither of those numbers is adjusted for seasonal factors.
Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington and Boston posted the biggest monthly increases. Metro areas hit hardest by the housing crisis, including Las Vegas and Phoenix, reported small seasonal increases.
Analysts say home prices have stabilized in coastal cities over the past six months. Seasonally adjusted prices have fallen a modest 1 percent over the past six months, according to the index. That's less than a third of the decline from the previous six months.
Foreclosures and short sales—when a lender agrees to sell for less than what is owed on a mortgage—made up about 30 percent of all home sales last month, up from about 10 percent in past years. And 1.7 million potential foreclosures are being held up, according to real estate firm CoreLogic, either by backlogged courts or lenders awaiting state and federal probes into troubled foreclosure practices.
What Happened to Rates Last Week:
Mortgage backed securities (MBS) gained +47 basis points last week which helped to move mortgage rates lower from last Friday to the prior Friday.  This more than made up for the prior week's -40 basis point loss.  We actually were on a downward trend for mortgage backed securities (higher mortgage rates) for much of the week after getting much better than expected economic news such as the Chicago PMI, Factory Orders and ISM Manufacturing.  But the market reversed course on Friday after the Unemployment report was released.  While the Unemployment Rate remained unchanged at 9.1%, the market reacted very strongly to the data that showed that we created/added exactly zero jobs over the last month.  Economists believe that the U.S. needs to add at least 150K new jobs each month to get out of this stand-still.
What to Watch Out For This Week:The following are the major economic reports that will hit the market this week.  They each have the ability to affect the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities and therefore, interest rates for Government and Conventional mortgages.  I will be watching these reports closely for you and let you know if there are any big surprises:
4-Sep20:00Labor Day
6-Sep10:00ISM Non-Manufacturing
6-Sep13:10Fed's President of the Minneapolis speech
7-Sep7:00MBA Mortgage Applications
7-Sep14:00Fed's Beige Book
8-Sep8:30Continuing Jobless Claims
8-Sep8:30Initial Jobless Claims
8-Sep8:30Trade Balance
8-Sep11:00EIA Crude Oil Stocks change
8-Sep13:00Fed's Bernanke Speech
8-Sep15:00Consumer Credit Change
9-Sep10:00Wholesale Inventories
It is virtually impossible for you to keep track of what is going on with the economy and other events that can impact the housing and mortgage markets.  Just leave it to me, I monitor the live trading of Mortgage Backed Securities which are the only thing government and conventional mortgage rates are based upon. 

Texas Economic Indicators Point UP

Texas existing-home sales were up 1.5% in July, and are up 22% over last year.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently reported good news for the Texas economy. In its "Texas Economic Indicators" published on September 7, 2011, The Dallas Fed reported that Texas gained 33,000 jobs in June, and another 25,900 jobs in July, bringing the Texas unemployment rate to 8.4%, well below the national average of 9.1%.
The overall economy in Texas continued to grow at a moderate pace, with Texas exports, crude oil prices, and Texas manufacturing all showing gains.
Only one state (North Dakota) has grown faster than Texas since 2009.
So, aren't we all grateful to be in Texas?