September Beige Book

Posted in Economics, NYC, New Jersey Real Estate | 61 Comments

From the Federal Reserve:

Beige Book – September 2, 2015 – Second District–New York

The Second District’s economy has continued to grow at a modest pace since the last report. Businesses generally report that selling prices remain stable; while input price pressures have abated somewhat, there are signs of increased wage pressures. Labor markets have tightened further in recent weeks. Consumer spending has picked up somewhat in early August but remains generally soft; tourism remains sluggish. Manufacturing activity has weakened noticeably since the last report. Housing markets continued to improve, while commercial real estate markets were mixed but generally stronger. Both commercial and multi-family residential construction remain fairly robust. Finally, banks report stronger loan demand and lower delinquency rates, especially on consumer loans.

Construction and Real Estate
The District’s housing markets have generally been stronger since the last report, and new multi-family residential construction remains brisk. Northern New Jersey’s housing market continues to recover gradually, with a large overhang of distressed properties continuing to weigh on the market; the multi-family segment, as well as areas near New York City, continue to outperform the market as a whole. Realtors in western New York report that the housing market has picked up steam over the past month or two; low inventories and strong demand have pushed up prices and made bidding wars common. Home sales and prices across New York State more broadly have also been increasingly robust. New York City’s co-op and condo market has continued to strengthen gradually: activity is down from elevated 2014 levels, but steady, while prices continue to climb, except at the high end of the market.

Residential rental markets have been steady to somewhat stronger. Apartment rents have been running 3-5 percent ahead of a year earlier in Brooklyn, Queens and northern New Jersey, while they have been essentially flat in Manhattan and across upstate New York. Whereas vacancy rates on rental apartments have been steady or declining across most of the District, Manhattan’s vacancy rate, though still quite low, has climbed steadily over the past year. One contact notes that there is a large supply of new (mainly luxury) rental apartments in the pipeline. Multi-family residential construction remains brisk across most of the District.

Other Business Activity
The labor market has gained some further momentum since mid-year. Two major New York City employment agencies report that hiring activity has picked up further, while a major agency in upstate New York notes that the job market continues to improve moderately. Job candidates are getting job offers more quickly, and there is growing upward pressure on starting salaries. The financial sector is reported to be hiring more actively, but the recent increase has been broad-based. In particular, truck drivers, IT workers, creative workers, auditors, accountants, and human resource professionals are reported to be in high demand. Temp workers are also said to be in short supply, as many are being hired permanently.

Service-sector firms broadly report that business has continued to improve moderately in recent weeks, and they remain generally optimistic about the near-term outlook. In contrast, manufacturers report that business activity has weakened noticeably, though they too express fairly widespread optimism about the near-term outlook. Unlike business in other industries, manufacturers indicate they have scaled back hiring somewhat. Both manufacturers and service firms generally report that selling prices remain flat overall. Manufacturers also report that input prices remain flat, while service-sector firms report that input price pressures, though still fairly widespread, have abated somewhat.

30% of the US at peak home price (but not NJ)

Posted in Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 84 Comments

From HousingWire:

CoreLogic: Home prices rose 6.9% in July 2015

Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased by 6.9% in July 2015 compared with July 2014, according to CoreLogic.

On a month-over-month basis, home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased by 1.7% in July 2015 compared with June 2015.

“Home sales continued their brisk rebound in July and home prices reflected that, up 6.9% from a year ago,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Over the same period, the National Association of Realtors reported existing sales up 10% and the Census Bureau reported new home sales up 26% in July.”

Including distressed sales, only Colorado has more than 10% year-over-year growth. Additionally, only 10 states have experienced increased growth in the last year that matched or surpassed the nation as a whole; those states are: Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Washington.

Fifteen states reached new price peaks since January 1976 when the index began including Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

Only two states experienced home price depreciation: Massachusetts (-2.1%) and Mississippi (-0.8%).

Welcome Home!

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 75 Comments

From the Real Deal:

The Chinese are about to flood the US real estate market

The chaos of the past few weeks is likely to lead to an acceleration in the rate of real-estate purchases by wealthy Chinese buyers in the US and elsewhere.

“[Chinese] Investors who were looking at investing overseas may bring forward their purchases,” James MacDonald, head of Savills Research in China, wrote in an email to Business Insider. “While some of those that may not have been considering the purchase of property in the U.S. may now look at doing so.”

The Chinese see US real estate as a relatively moderate risk, high-return investment, Svenja Gudell, the chief economist at real-estate-research site Zillow, told Business Insider. Especially if buyers anticipate further RMB devaluation and market volatility.

Wealthy Chinese are already the largest group of foreign real-estate buyers in the US, with 16% of the single homes and condominiums purchased by foreign buyers snapped up by Chinese last year, according to the US National Homebuyers Association. They were trailed by Canadians, who bought 14% of homes.

These houses are typically more expensive properties, worth an average $831,800. Domestic buyers average $345,800 on a new single-family home, according to the US Census Bureau.

Brokers in the US can see the shifting sentiment among their Chinese real-estate clients.

Emma Hao, a broker for Douglas Elliman who specializes in Chinese clients, told Business Insider she’s already felt an increase in urgency among her buyers to purchase property in the US before the yuan devalues further.

“Because they are insecure about the economy and the politics, with the RMB devaluation, the stock market got mashed, and the real estate in China is a big bubble — there is nowhere to go.”

Andrew Wu, a real-estate agent at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s who caters to Chinese luxury-real-estate buyers in Long Island, told Business Insider: “They’re looking for a safe haven, and the real-estate market has always been looked upon as a safe haven for Chinese buyers.”

The Subprime Myth

Posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, Risky Lending | 64 Comments

From PBS:

The U.S. foreclosure crisis was not just a subprime event

Many studies of the housing market collapse of the last decade, and the associated sharp rise in defaults and foreclosures, focus on the role of the subprime mortgage sector. Yet subprime loans comprise a relatively small share of the U.S. housing market, usually about 15 percent and never more than 21 percent. Many studies also focus on the period leading up to 2008, even though most foreclosures occurred subsequently. In A New Look at the U.S. Foreclosure Crisis: Panel Data Evidence of Prime and Subprime Borrowers from 1997 to 2012 (NBER Working Paper No. 21261), Fernando Ferreira and Joseph Gyourko provide new facts about the foreclosure crisis and investigate various explanations of why homeowners lost their homes during the housing bust. They employ microdata that track outcomes well past the beginning of the crisis and cover all types of house purchase financing — prime and subprime mortgages, Federal Housing Administration (FHA)/Veterans Administration (VA)-insured loans, loans from small or infrequent lenders, and all-cash buyers. Their data contain information on over 33 million unique ownership sequences in just over 19 million distinct owner-occupied housing units from 1997– to 2012.

The researchers find that the crisis was not solely, or even primarily, a subprime sector event. It began that way, but quickly expanded into a much broader phenomenon dominated by prime borrowers’ loss of homes. There were only seven quarters, all concentrated at the beginning of the housing market bust, when more homes were lost by subprime than by prime borrowers. In this period 39,094 more subprime than prime borrowers lost their homes. This small difference was reversed by the beginning of 2009. Between 2009 and 2012, 656,003 more prime than subprime borrowers lost their homes. Twice as many prime borrowers as subprime borrowers lost their homes over the full sample period.

The authors’ key empirical finding is that negative equity conditions can explain virtually all of the difference in foreclosure and short sale outcomes of prime borrowers compared to all cash owners. Negative equity also accounts for approximately two-thirds of the variation in subprime borrower distress. Both are true on average, over time, and across metropolitan areas.

The authors’ findings imply that large numbers of prime borrowers who did not start out with extremely high LTVs still lost their homes to foreclosure. They conclude that the economic cycle was more important than initial buyer, housing and mortgage conditions in explaining the foreclosure crisis. These findings suggest that effective regulation is not just a matter of restricting certain exotic subprime contracts associated with extremely high default rates.

Will higher rates tank the market?

Posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, Mortgages | 43 Comments

From Reuters:

U.S. housing market seen strong enough to handle Fed rate hikes: Reuters poll

The U.S. housing market is probably strong enough to stand up against an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve this year, with stabilizing home prices supporting sales, a Reuters poll of top economists showed on Wednesday.

Of 22 economists surveyed, all but two said the market could withstand the Fed’s expected rate hikes. They pointed to job creation and growing demand for houses from millennials as factors contributing to the market’s resilience.

“Rates are very reasonable now, and the signal the Fed will give when they begin raising their key lending rate will push more people into the market,” said Rajeev Dhawan, director of the economic forecasting center at Georgia State University.

Economists say home price increases of about 5 percent are just strong enough to raise equity for homeowners to encourage some to put their properties on the market and help address a persistent shortage of houses available for sale.

The increase is also not big enough to price out first-time home buyers, economists say.

But the economists were evenly divided over whether the home ownership rate, which dropped to a 35-year low in the second quarter, would decline further before rising again.

“The recent strength of housing activity suggests the market is well placed to cope with a gradual rise in interest rates,” said Capital Economics economist Matthew Pointon. “Rising rates will also be accompanied by an improving labor market and gradually loosening of credit conditions.”

Some said potential buyers would try to lock in low rates, but others said staggering student debt would continue to prevent young people from buying homes.

“There are no bargains in the market now,” said FAO Economics economist Robert Brusca. “Maybe high rents will drive people to buy. But it seems the opposite is true. High house prices make high rents look cheaper.”

Pending Home Sales Up in July

Posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 49 Comments

From CNBC:

Pending home sales rose just 0.5% in July

U.S. home buyer demand remained steady in July, although consumers did not react significantly to easing mortgage rates. An index of so-called pending home sales from the National Association of Realtors, which represents signed contracts, not closings, was basically flat, rising 0.5 percent from an upwardly revised June reading.

The index is now up 7.4 percent from one year ago. Pending sales slipped in June but had otherwise been rising for five months.

“Contract activity in most of the country held steady last month, which bodes well for existing-sales to maintain their recent elevated pace to close out the summer,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR in a release. “While demand and sales continue to be stronger than earlier this year, Realtors have reported since the spring that available listings in affordable price ranges remain elusive for some buyers trying to reach the market and are likely holding back sales from being more robust.”

Pending home sales in the Northeast increased 4 percent July from June and in the Midwest were unchanged. In the South, sales increased 0.6 percent. The West was the only region to see weakness, with pending home sales down 1.4 percent for the month.

As goes our infrastructure, so goes our economy

Posted in Economics, Employment, NYC, New Development, New Jersey Real Estate | 71 Comments

From Bloomberg:

N.J.’s Creaky Mass Transit Endangers Boom for Wall Street West

Jersey City, one of the few bright stars in New Jersey’s employment recovery, is in danger of being strangled by the state’s transportation crisis.

The city on the Hudson River waterfront accounted for 10 percent of the state’s job growth in the past year. It has lured residential development and companies like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Fidelity Investments, and outpaced the state and nation in reducing joblessness. Mayor Steven Fulop expects Jersey City to surpass Newark as the state’s most populous municipality in 2016.

He’s not so sure, though, that New Jersey’s rails and roads can handle the influx. A new commuter-rail tunnel into Manhattan is at least a decade away. The existing ones are vexed by repairs and delays. Governor Chris Christie’s calls for fiscal restraint are threatening the growth of cities like Fulop’s that are dependent on public transportation.

“Jersey City’s success has largely been correlated to investment in mass transit,” said Fulop, a Democrat. “Trenton’s lack of a plan has really had and could potentially have a devastating impact.”

His 14-square-mile (36 kilometer) community of 257,300, one train stop from Manhattan, has lured financial firms in the past decade, earning the nickname Wall Street West. Fulop, 38, who worked at Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., quit Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.’s trading desk to run for mayor and took office in 2013.

Millions of dollars in tax incentives have persuaded companies to move to Jersey City. New York Life Insurance Inc. received $33.9 million over 10 years from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to bring 625 jobs to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s waterfront building, itself the recipient of a 20-year tax break. JPMorgan secured about $188 million in tax benefits over 10 years, according to filings with the development authority.

The Buyers Are Back In Town

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 101 Comments

Guess who just got back today
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven’t changed that much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy

They were askin’ if you were around
How you was, where you could be found
Told ‘em you were livin’ downtown
Drivin’ all the old men crazy

From the Wall Street Journal:

Home Buyers to Make Comeback in Next Decade, Mortgage Bankers Say

Over the next decade, Americans will emerge from their childhood bedrooms or rental apartments and start becoming homeowners again, a new report says.

Homeownership has plunged to its lowest level in half a century. But over the next decade the country will see a surge in new household formation, with many of those families choosing to own rather than rent.

By 2024, the U.S. will create between 14 million and 16 million new households, according to the report to be released Tuesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Of those, as many as 13 million will be owners and as few as three million will be renters, the bankers say.

The report says that as many as 1.3 million additional owner households will be created each year. That is a significant pickup from the recession, when the number of owner households has been basically flat.

“It’s a huge amount of housing demand any which way you cut this,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research and economics.

The homeownership rate rose from less than 64% in the late 1980s to more than 69% in the mid-2000s before dropping to below 64% again in 2015.

If current homeownership rates by age and race persist, the report’s authors expect the homeownership rate to grow modestly to 64.8%. If those rates of homeownership by group revert to higher long-term trends, they expect the homeownership rate to rebound to 66.5%.

Housing data to set the stage

Posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 59 Comments

From CNBC:

Home prices rise 5% in June vs. expectations for 5.1% gain: S&P/Case-Shiller

U.S. home prices continued to rise in June, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, but the increase fell short of analyst estimates.

The 20-city index rose 5 percent year-over-year in June. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected the index to increase to 5.1 percent. In May, the index increased 4.4 percent. The National Price index rose 4.5 percent in June.

From HousingWire:

FHFA: June 2015 house prices rose 5.6% from June 2014

he Federal Housing Finance Agency house price index rose 0.2% in June, below the low-end forecast for 0.3% but still a respectable gain.

Annualized price growth was 5.6%, while prices in the second quarter rose 5.4% compared to the second quarter of 2014.

Sales rates are tracking at roughly double the pace of price growth, a mismatch that points ahead to price acceleration given how thin inventories are right now in the housing sector.

From CNBC:

US new home sales rebound in July, supply improves

New U.S. single-family home sales rose a bit less than expected in July, but the trend pointed to housing market strength that should underpin economic growth for the rest of the year.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday sales increased 5.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 507,000 units. June’s sales pace was revised slightly down to 481,000 units from the previously reported 482,000 units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for 8.3 percent of the market, rising to a 510,000 unit-rate. Sales were up 25.8 percent compared to July of last year.

The housing market is gaining stream, with data last week showing home resales jumped to a near 8-1/2-year high in July and groundbreaking on new home building climbing to its highest level since October 2007.

From MarketWatch:

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® Rebounds

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had declined in July, rebounded in August. The Index now stands at 101.5 (1985=100), up from 91.0 in July. The Present Situation Index increased from 104.0 last month to 115.1 in August, while the Expectations Index improved to 92.5 from 82.3 in July.

Rally – ?

One third of U.S. metros hit new home price peaks

Posted in Housing Bubble, National Real Estate | 105 Comments

From HousingWire:

Black Knight: June home prices rose 0.9% from May

Home prices rose 0.9% in June from May and 5.1% since June 2014, according to the new home price report from Black Knight Financial Services.

The Black Knight HPI combines the company’s extensive property and loan-level databases to produce a repeat sales analysis of home prices as of their transaction dates every month for each of more than 18,500 U.S. ZIP codes.

This puts national home prices up 4.9% since the start of the year and up over 26% since the bottom of the market at the start of 2012.

At $252,000, the national level HPI is now just 5.8% off its June 2006 peak of $268,000.

Of the nation’s 40 largest metros, 13 hit new peaks in June:

Austin, TX ($282K)
Boston, MA ($406K)
Columbus, OH ($185K)
Dallas, TX ($215K)
Denver, CO ($323K)
Houston, TX ($218K)
Kansas City, MO ($173K)
Nashville, TN ($217K)
Pittsburgh, PA ($187K)
Portland OR ($310K)
San Antonio, TX ($193K)
San Francisco, CA ($715K)
San Jose, CA ($862K)

Philly metro sees best spring market in years

Posted in Housing Recovery, South Jersey Real Estate | 10 Comments

From the Philly Inquirer:

Region – especially Phila. – had a good spring for home sales

Spring’s real estate market was the Philadelphia area’s best since the housing bubble burst in mid-2007, with significant increases in prices and sales volume in almost every county.

Between April 1 and June 30, the region’s median price for a single-family home rose to $217,000, from $212,000 in the same period last year, according to an analysis of second-quarter sales for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services by Kevin Gillen, chief economist for Meyers Research and senior research fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.

Sales volume rose 15 percent, to 18,325 from 15,961 in second quarter 2014, Gillen said, and the average time a house spent on the market dropped to 69 days from 95 days regionwide in the same period last year.

“People were back in the market, that’s for sure,” said S. Clark Kendus, of D. Patrick Welsh Real Estate in Swarthmore, Delaware County.

“Homes are flying off the market in days, especially if the price is right and everything that needs to be done has been done to the listing,” said Frank Dolski, an agent with Coldwell Banker Hearthside Real Estate in Lahaska, Bucks County.

Year over year, price appreciation or value – which compares a home’s recent sale price with its previous sale – also favored the city over the suburbs, as measured by Gillen. Overall, the region saw a 2.1 percent bump. Price appreciation in Philadelphia was 5.2 percent; it was 1 percent in the other 10 counties. (Nationwide, price appreciation was 4.8 percent year over year.)

Meanwhile, South Jersey – though still struggling with more than its share of distressed housing (bank repossessions, foreclosures, and short sales), also showed some strength.

Mike Lentz, of Keller Williams Real Estate in Sicklerville, said June median prices for Gloucester County dropped 23 percent between 2007 and 2013 – from $240,000 to $185,000. But the June 2015 median was $203,000, a 9.7 percent increase from the bottom in 2013, he said.

“We did see an extremely strong first and second quarter,” said Val Nunnenkamp, of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach in Marlton, with an uptick in prices of about 2 percent to 3 percent overall, and with higher-end homes in Haddonfield and Moorestown up 3 percent to 5 percent.

Robert Acuff of Re/Max Services in Blue Bell, a director of Trend MLS, said that overall “the market has been gaining strength. While prices are stable, volume has increased noticeably.”

The consensus, Acuff said, is that prices will drift up in the 2 percent-to-3 percent range through the balance of the year – a healthy rate.

Noted Weichert Realtors regional vice president John Bilek: “We’re seeing the market follow the cyclical 17-year pattern that we’ve seen over the past 80 years. We are two years into an eight- to 10-year run-up.”

Salvage cat is out of the bag

Posted in Housing Recovery, New Development, New Jersey Real Estate | 36 Comments

From the NYT:

Recycled Kitchens, Salvaged Splendor

When Jonathan and Barbara Pessolano began renovating an 1850s three-family house on Staten Island earlier this year, they didn’t intend to make it a model of recycling. But a search for a deal on a Miele dishwasher led them in an unexpected direction.

After admiring a high-end dishwasher at a Manhattan appliance store, and being shocked by the price tag of about $1,300, Mr. Pessolano turned to the Internet in search of savings. He soon stumbled upon the website of Green Demolitions, a store in Fairfield, N.J., that sells used luxury kitchens and other fixtures collected by the nonprofit donation program Renovation Angel.

Browsing the store’s inventory online, Mr. Pessolano, a hospital administrator, and Ms. Pessolano, a teacher, saw complete kitchens, including cabinets, countertops and appliances, priced for a fraction of what they would cost new.

“We couldn’t believe it,” Mr. Pessolano said. “We thought, ‘Really, you buy the whole kitchen?’ It seemed impossible, or incongruous.”

But after visiting the store, they bought an enormous used kitchen from a house in Upper Saddle River, N.J., this past April for $11,100. Green Demolitions estimated the kitchen would have set them back about $60,000 new.

“The appliances alone would have cost a fortune,” said Mr. Pessolano, noting that the kitchen came with two Miele dishwashers, a 42-inch-wide GE Monogram refrigerator, a six-burner Viking range top, two Viking wall ovens and a Viking warming drawer. It also included seven lengths of granite countertop, under-cabinet lighting and more cabinets than they know what to do with. (Some leftovers may wind up in the laundry room.) “It was an unbelievable deal,” he said.

Inspired, they searched for more recycled building components, and soon discovered other stores with a similar mission to capture and divert construction materials that might otherwise end up in a landfill. At the Paterson Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Wayne, N.J., they came across two new surplus windows for $100 apiece. “It cost me more to rent the U-Haul than to buy the windows,” Mr. Pessolano said proudly.

Construction is ongoing, but Mr. Pessolano said that using so much salvage is allowing them to do far more than they expected with their renovation budget of $100,000. “It has enabled us to achieve a certain look and style that we would not have normally been able to afford,” he said.

Existing Home Sales at 8 year high

Posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 123 Comments

From the WSJ:

U.S. Existing-Home Sales Reach Prerecession Pace

Sales of existing homes climbed in July to their prerecession pace, but low inventory and higher prices threaten to curtail those gains heading into the fall.

Existing-home sales rose 2% last month from June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.59 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. Last month’s sales pace was the highest since February 2007 and 10.3% higher than a year earlier.

Despite relatively steady gains in home sales in the past year, thinning supply and high prices loom as headwinds that could slow the recovery. As well, mortgage rates could be poised to rise when the Federal Reserve raises short-term interest rates, potentially as soon as next month.

Total housing inventory fell 0.4% at the end of July to 2.24 million existing homes available for sale, 4.7% lower than a year ago. At the current pace of sales it would take 4.8 months to exhaust the supply of homes on the market, down from 5.6 months a year ago, the NAR said Thursday.

The median sale price for a previously owned home slipped slightly to $234,000 from June’s $236,300, but is still 5.6% higher than a year earlier. July’s prices mark the 41st straight month of year-over-year price gains.

This combination of rising prices and thin supply has left some prospective buyers on the sidelines, especially as rising rents eat up a larger portion of incomes, making it harder to save for a down payment.

Mr. Yun noted that first-time buyers declined to 28% of all buyers, the lowest share since January. Sales are being driven largely by buyers who already own homes, he said.

NJ labor market tanks in July

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, National Real Estate | 29 Comments

From the Record:

New Jersey’s economic picture darkened further in July as the state lost 13,600 jobs and revised figures showed that the job loss for June was even worse than previously reported.

The state lost 12,300 private sector jobs and 1,300 government jobs in July, according to the monthly employment report by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The report also revised the June figures downwards, changing the previously announced loss of 7,400 jobs to one of 12,500. The state has now lost 26,100 jobs in two months, reversing most of the gains in the early part of the year. The state has now added just 3,700 jobs in 2015.

The one bright spot was the unemployment rate, which fell from 6.1 percent to 5.9 percent, although that was largely driven by people leaving the workforce, rather than finding jobs, the figures show.

The biggest July losses came in the leisure and hospitality sector, which lost 7,400 jobs, and the professional and business services sector, which lost 5,200 jobs. The financial activities sector lost 2,700 jobs.

The biggest gain came in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which added 4,300 jobs, and the education and health services sector, which added 300 jobs.

Millennials can’t catch a break

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, Housing Bubble | 116 Comments

From the Washington Post:

Are home prices rising too quickly for millennials?

Many young workers today find that home prices are rising faster than their pay, making it harder for them to set aside the cash they need for the purchase, studies show.

The typical first-time home buyer today purchases a house that costs 2.6 times his or her annual income, according to a report released by Zillow this week. In the 1970s, new home buyers found homes that cost about 1.7 times their annual pay, the study found.

The shift means that people need bigger down payments to make the transition to home ownership. At the same time, they face obstacles that make it harder for them to save, such as student loan bills, higher rent costs and more expensive child care.

People have to strive for more expensive homes today than they did in the past because home prices have appreciated over time while wages have stayed mostly flat, says Svenja Gudell, chief economist for Zillow. “We’re seeing that first-time home buyers are renting for longer,” Gudell says. “Homes are more expensive so it takes them a while to get to that stage in their life.”

Consider, the typical home purchased by first-time home buyers cost a median $140,000 between 2010 and 2013, up from an inflation adjusted $87,300 in the 1970s, the study found. Meanwhile, the median income for first-time home buyers was $54,000 in 2013, about the same as it was in the 1970s, Zillow found.

As a result, aspiring home owners now spend more time than ever renting while they save up for the big purchase. Workers rent for six years on average before buying their first home — more than double the time spent renting in the 1970s, the report found. The median age for first-time home buyers is also up to 33, from 30 in the 1970s. Home buyers are also less likely to be married today.