30yr fixed dips below 6%

From Insider:

Mortgage rates are falling back near 6%, reopening the housing market for 3 million home buyers, according to Freddie Mac

Mortgage rates are falling back near 6%, and that could help reopen the housing market to about 3 million buyers who were priced, according to Freddie Mac.

The government-sponsored enterprise said that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage inched lower to 6.09% on Thursday, notching its fourth-straight week of declines. That’s the lowest rates have been since peaking at over 7% in November of last year, Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater said in a statement.

“This one percentage point reduction in rates can allow as many as three million more mortgage-ready consumers to qualify and afford a $400,000 loan, which is the median home price,” Khater added.

Mortgage rates skyrocketed over the course of 2022, influenced by the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes aimed at taking some heat out of the economy.

From the MPA:

US mortgage rates fall from November peak following Fed rate hike

Long-term US mortgage rates slipped following the Federal Reserve’s slowdown in its monetary policy tightening.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a low of 6.09% this week, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. That’s down from 6.13% a week ago and nearly a full point drop from November’s peak of over 7%, providing a boost for mortgage-ready homebuyers.

“According to Freddie Mac research, this one percentage point reduction in rates can allow as many as three million more mortgage-ready consumers to qualify and afford a $400,000 loan, which is the median home price,” Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater said.

From CNBC:

Mortgage rates drop to the 5% range for the first time since September

The average rate on the 30-year fixed rate mortgage has fallen to 5.99%, according to Mortgage News Daily.

The housing market hasn’t seen the rate with a five handle since a brief blip in early September. Before that, it was in early August.

The rate started this week at 6.21% and fell sharply Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said inflation “has eased somewhat but remains elevated,” which was a shift from previous language.

That sent bond yields lower, and mortgage rates loosely follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury.

“Measured steps can continue as long as the economic and inflation data is there to support them. This means rates can make progress down into the 5′s but are unlikely to stampede quickly into the 4′s,” said Matthew Graham, chief operating officer at Mortgage News Daily. “I’m not saying that won’t happen–just that it would take a bit more time than some of the rate rallies we remember from the past.”

Posted in Economics, Mortgages, National Real Estate | 16 Comments

Jobs Day!

From the NYT:

The government will provide its latest snapshot of the labor market on Friday, and economists expect it to show that January was another month of solid job growth.

Forecasters surveyed by MarketWatch expect the Labor Department to show that U.S. employers added 187,000 jobs last month, a moderate slowdown from December.

But the hiring number probably won’t tell the whole story. Economists and policymakers will also be watching the unemployment rate, labor force participation and hourly earnings. An increase in the ranks of those available to work could alleviate the tightness in the labor market that is driving up wages and contributing to inflation.

“The question is, will we continue to see a Goldilocks labor market?” said Betsey Stevenson, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan. “The Goldilocks labor market will be one where we continue to grow a little bit and wage pressure seems to subside a bit.”

Taken together, the numbers in the January report could help indicate the impact of the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the economy and tame rapid inflation. So far, the Fed’s rate increases appear to be gently constraining the labor market with limited pain for workers. But as high interest rates filter through the economy more deeply, a big question is whether policymakers can achieve their goals without causing significant job losses.

Posted in Economics, Employment, National Real Estate | 149 Comments

Dippitty dip dip

From Fortune:

From US News and World Report:

Home Prices Continue to Come Down as Higher Mortgage Rates Bite

Home prices continued their downward slide in November, though they remain up year over year, according to the CoreLogic Case-Shiller monthly index released on Tuesday.

Nationally, prices fell 0.6% in November, but are up 7.7% annually, following October’s 9.2% increase.

Miami, Tampa and Atlanta led the cities posting the largest increases, at 18.4%, 16.9% and 12.4%, respectively.

“November 2022 marked the fifth consecutive month of declining home prices in the U.S.,” said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director at S&P DJI. “As the Federal Reserve moves interest rates higher, mortgage financing continues to be a headwind for home prices. “Economic weakness, including the possibility of a recession, would also constrain potential buyers. Given these prospects for a challenging macroeconomic environment, home prices may well continue to weaken.”

The data reflect prices before mortgage rates topped 7% and various markets continue to see declines in the rate of appreciation.

“The latest S&P Case-Shiller report provides evidence of the slowing housing market during the fall, with home prices continuing to decelerate in October,” Lisa Sturtevant, Bright MLS chief economist, said before the release. “However, the data released today do not account for the full impact of rising mortgage rates, which were above 7% in November.

Posted in Housing Bubble, National Real Estate | 111 Comments

Fed Day!

From Reuters:

Fed expected to deliver small rate hike but keep anti-inflation tilt

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise its target interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, setting aside the rapid hikes used last year to curb a surge in inflation in favor of a more stepwise hunt for a stopping point.

The expected increase would set the U.S. central bank’s benchmark overnight interest rate in the 4.50%-4.75% range, the highest since November 2007, when the economy was on the eve of what would prove to be a long and deep recession.

Policymakers hope to avoid that sort of outcome this time, and economic data since their last policy meeting in December generally has moved in the right direction: Inflation is slowing under the impact of higher interest rates and tighter financial conditions, while the economy continues to grow and create jobs.

The rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee is due to release its policy statement at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT). Fed Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to hold a news conference half an hour later to elaborate on the decision.

Posted in Economics, Mortgages, National Real Estate | 145 Comments

Survivorship bias? Literally.

From the NY Post:

Single women are outpacing men in homeownership

All the single ladies … are buying property. 

Indeed, a recent study found that single women are outpacing single men in homeownership. 

This new trend has come as a shock to many — and is bound to have long-term effects on the financial market and generations to come. 

Single women own roughly 10.7 million homes in America, compared to 8.1 million owned by single men, according to a recent analysis from LendingTree that looked at 2021 census data. 

The surprising development has spread nearly all across the country, with single women being more likely to own a home in 48 of 50 states — all but North and South Dakota.

Women dominate ownership at the highest rates in southern states like Louisiana, Alabama and South Carolina, which typically have cheaper home prices. 

Meanwhile, Florida, Delaware and Maryland reported the widest gender gap among single homeowners. The Sunshine State has a 4.55% gap equating to 262,000 more single women owning homes than men. 

North Dakota and South Dakota, the sole states where single men own more homes than single women, are known to be homes to job markets saturated with male-dominated professions, such as oil rigging and construction.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, National Real Estate | 42 Comments

Sorry West

From the Washington Examiner:

Huge hit to home prices in west in 2023, Goldman warns: Phoenix, SF, Seattle

Houses in several overheated cities in the western United States will see massive price declines in 2023, researchers at Goldman Sachs predict.

In a report released this week, the bank’s economists noted a stark regional divide in expectations for home prices, with cities west of the Mississippi facing steep price corrections in the face of elevated mortgage interest rates.

“On one hand, the model suggests that expensive [metropolitan areas] in the Pacific Coast and Southwest regions could see cumulative incremental home price declines of 15-20%, given how dramatically affordability has declined over the past couple of years. On the other hand, the model suggests that the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions will likely face limited price declines,” the economists wrote.

Meanwhile, Miami and Baltimore are the two urban areas Goldman Sachs identified that are expected to see housing price increases both this year and next. Philadelphia, New York, and St. Louis are forecast to see a slight decline in housing prices this year, but then see prices go back up in 2024.

The researchers said that price trends at the metro level will be dictated by a “tug-of-war between housing demand and supply” over the next two years.

“[Metropolitan statistical areas] with stronger affordability like Chicago and Philadelphia — for which payments on new mortgages only cost roughly a quarter of monthly income — should see smaller home price declines than metros with poor affordability like many cities in the West — some of which are seeing mortgage payments claim three-quarters of monthly income,” the report reads.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, Housing Bubble, National Real Estate | 79 Comments

Sounds like more of the usual

From NJ Business:

Year-end NJ Housing Data Shows Market Softening

Rising interest rates, low inventory, and climbing prices have cooled the housing market in 2022, with closed sales down 17.8% over 2021, according to year-end data reports from New Jersey Realtors.

“The 2022 market has softened due to the rise in interest rates and elevated home prices,” said 2023 New Jersey Realtors President Nick Manis. “However, there’s still buyer interest and activity on the inventory that is available.”

Closed sales for single family homes were down 18.6%, with 73,613 units sold during the year, compared to 90,416 sold in 2021. The median sales price for single family homes rose 8.7% to $473,000.

The townhouse/condo market saw a similar decrease in closed sales of 17.8% to 25,214. Units were on the market for an average of just 35 days during 2022, a decrease of 12.5% over 2021.

Inventory remains a concern, with just 13,595 single family homes for sale in the month of December in 2022, a decrease of 9.8% over an already-low 15,066 units for sale in 2021.

Posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, Mortgages, New Jersey Real Estate | 59 Comments

Worst behind us?

From the NY Post:

Here’s when US home price declines could end, Goldman Sachs says

The ongoing plunge in US home prices may be nearing its end, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note to clients this week.

Long-term mortgage rates have cooled by nearly a full percentage point after surging above 7% as the Federal Reserve enacted a series of interest rate hikes last year. The trend should improve housing affordability and cause price declines to reach a floor, according to the Wall Street Bank.

“The sharpest declines in the US housing market are now behind us,” Goldman analysts Ronnie Walker and Vinay Viswanathan said in a client note released on Monday.

The strategists added that they “expect a peak-to-trough decline in national home prices of roughly 6% and for prices to stop declining around mid-year.”

Overheated housing markets on the West Coast and in the Southwest will likely experience “larger declines” in home prices compared to the national rate due to a glut in inventory, the note said. Meanwhile, markets located in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions will see “more most declines.”

The surge in mortgage rates has caused a major correction in the US housing market in recent months, sending prospective buyers to the sidelines and causing sellers to rethink their plans or slash their asking prices to lure interest.

Other firms, including Pantheon Macroeconomics, project larger declines in home prices before a floor is reached. In December, Pantheon’s Ian Shepherdson said prices could fall by up to 20% during a multi-year market correction.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, Housing Recovery, Mortgages, National Real Estate | 120 Comments

Shocker, Americans Misinformed

From the Hill:

Survey finds Americans wildly misinformed on housing market 

A new survey finds Americans are woefully misinformed about the nation’s mercurial housing market, even as millions of them prepare to buy homes.  

Twenty-eight million Americans plan to purchase a home in 2023, according to a survey released Tuesday by NerdWallet, the personal finance company. On average, they hope to spend $269,200. 

But that figure falls more than $100,000 short of the median home price, which was $388,100 in December, according to the real estate brokerage Redfin. Home prices crossed the $269,000 threshold sometime in 2013, Federal Reserve statistics show. 

If prospective homebuyers sound oddly optimistic about prices, that may be because they are pessimistic about the state of the housing market. Two-thirds of Americans surveyed said they expect an imminent crash. 

Real estate economists do not. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, forecast an average sale price of $385,800this year, about the same as last year. Redfin predicts a 4 percent drop: bad news for sellers, but hardly a crash.   

“Home prices already have been falling, especially on the West Coast, and prices will fall in some cities in 2023,” said Holden Lewis, a home and mortgages expert for NerdWallet. “But a drop in home prices isn’t necessarily a crash.”  

Another head-scratcher: 61 percent of Americans told pollsters current mortgage rates are unprecedented, meaning that they have never been seen before.  

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Humor, New Jersey Real Estate | 84 Comments

Landlords making Newark unaffordable?

From Patch:

Corporations Own Most Of Newark’s Homes. New Laws Are Pushing Back

It wasn’t long ago that a study from the Rutgers Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity made a startling claim about home ownership in New Jersey’s largest city: nearly half of Newark’s residential properties are owned by corporations.

Researchers said the phenomenon is one of the leading reasons behind the rising cost of rental housing in the area. But according to Mayor Ras Baraka, action is being taken on one of the longest-running sources of wealth inequality in the Brick City.

Affordable housing has been a perennial hot-button issue in Newark, where many residents and activists have been complaining about the high cost of living for years.

On Thursday, Baraka detailed several ways that city officials have been fighting to keep housing affordable. They include the creation of new local ordinances, rolling out programs for first-time homeowners, and establishing a municipal “land bank” that helps turn abandoned properties into homes for local residents.

“In cities and even suburbs across America, limited liability companies (LLCs) are eroding the American dream of homeownership as they convert owner-occupied homes into corporately owned rental units,” Baraka said.

“In Newark, where we have worked hard to expand homeownership, we have created a strategy to do everything possible to fight this dangerous trend,” he continued.

Posted in Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate, Politics | 130 Comments

Hey 2010!

From Reuters:

U.S. home sales slump to 12-year low; glimmers of hope emerging

U.S. existing home sales plunged to a 12-year low in December, but declining mortgage rates raised cautious optimism that the embattled housing market could be close to finding a floor.

The report from the National Association of Realtors on Friday also showed the median house price increasing at the slowest pace since early in the COVID-19 pandemic as sellers in some parts of the country resorted to offering discounts.

The Federal Reserve’s fastest interest rate-hiking cycle since the 1980s has pushed housing into recession.

“Existing home sales are somewhat lagging,” said Conrad DeQuadros, senior economic advisor at Brean Capital in New York. “The decline in mortgage rates could help undergird housing activity in the months ahead.”

Existing home sales, which are counted when a contract is closed, fell 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.02 million units last month, the lowest level since November 2010. That marked the 11th straight monthly decline in sales, the longest such stretch since 1999.

Sales dropped in the Northeast, South and Midwest. They were unchanged in the West. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast home sales falling to a rate of 3.96 million units. December’s data likely reflected contracts signed some two months earlier.

Home resales, which account for a big chunk of U.S. housing sales, tumbled 34.0% on a year-on-year basis in December. They fell 17.8% to 5.03 million units in 2022, the lowest annual total since 2014 and the sharpest annual decline since 2008.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Housing Bubble, Mortgages, National Real Estate | 90 Comments

32 months of job growth

From the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development:

NJ’s Job Gains Continue with Slight Uptick in December

New Jersey’s labor market grew slightly in December, adding 1,400 nonfarm jobs to a seasonally adjusted level of 4,265,700, according to preliminary estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

Private sector employment rose by 100 jobs for the month, continuing a streak of 32 consecutive months of growth starting in May 2020. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.4 percent.  

November employment estimates were revised upward by 6,400, for an adjusted gain of 18,100 jobs between October and November. The unemployment rate remained unchanged, at 3.4 percent. 

In December, four out of nine major private industry sectors recorded job growth. They were education and health services (+4,400), trade, transportation, and utilities (+2,200), other services (+500), and information (+100). Sectors that recorded a loss for the month were construction (-3,400), professional and business services (-2,500), manufacturing (-500), financial activities (-400), and leisure and hospitality (-300). Month-over-month, the state’s public sector increased by 1,300 jobs. 

For all of 2022, preliminary estimates show job growth was broad-based, with all but one of the nine major private industry sectors recording job gains. The sectors that added jobs for the year were trade, transportation, and utilities (+38,700), education and health services (+38,200), leisure and hospitality (+37,600), other services (+15,600), professional and business services (+13,000), financial activities (+4,200), manufacturing (+2,400), and information (+300). Construction (-8,900) was the only sector to record a loss. Year-over-year, the state’s public sector added 7,800 jobs. 

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate | 58 Comments

Thorough, in-depth, housing forecast from smart Harvard guy.

From the NY Post:

Why US home prices will fall another 10 percent, according to Harvard economist

Pain across the US housing market that began last year is likely just getting started if interest rates remain high, star economist Ken Rogoff warned on Tuesday.

Rogoff, a professor at Harvard University and former top economist at the International Monetary Fund, said home prices in both the US market aboard will fall “certainly another 10%” over the “couple of years.”

The economist cited the restrictive policy stances taken by the Federal Reserve and other central banks, which have caused a spike in mortgage rates and cooled demand among buyers.

“If, as I think, interest rates are going to stay high for some time to come, I think there’s still a lot of downward adjustments in the housing markets globally, not just in the United States,” Rogoff told Bloomberg Television during an appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The Federal Reserve is expected to implement more interest rate hikes early this year after a string of seven straight supercharged interests in 2022. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has signaled that rates will rise and then hover in restrictive territory until policymakers have clear evidence that inflation has cooled.

Rogoff noted that the housing and stock markets each tend to struggle whenever central banks hike interest rates – though downticks in home prices tends to occur a longer period of time.

“Equities and housing move in sync with interest rates, but equities move much faster. Housing famously, prices, especially down, move much more slowly. People sit on their house, they don’t want to sell their house,” Rogoff said.

Rogoff’s estimate for home prices is conservative compared to some other experts. Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson has predicted that prices will sink 20% by later this year.

Posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, Mortgages, National Real Estate | 134 Comments

Oh that’s a cute idea, good luck.

From NJ.com:

Companies are flocking back to the U.S. Let’s get them to move here.

It’s the time of year when many people make New Year’s resolutions. Some people might go on a diet, or start working out. New Jersey needs to do both for the sake of our economy before it is too late.

New Jersey’s high taxes are taking away from people, and, as a result, taking resources away from economic growth. The Garden State’s most consistent economic rating is ‘nation’s worst business environment’ and ‘dead last for fiscal health.’

We are at a critical stage in the global economy where many businesses will want to move back to the U.S. to avoid supply chain problems that occurred during and after the pandemic. New Jersey isn’t a destination for them, but it can be if we make simple changes.

First and foremost is gradually lowering our nation-high tax rate – and globally high if you consider the national tax on top of it – on businesses to 2.5%, which would be among the lowest in the nation. Pennsylvania is lowering its corporate tax rate to 5%. They are gearing up to take our businesses and the businesses that want to increase their domestic presence.

If you have doubts that lowering the corporate business tax to 2.5% will work, I have evidence that it does.

In 2013, North Carolina started gradually cutting its corporate business tax to that low rate. Every time revenue went up, the tax would lower a proportionate amount. That’s right, they cut their tax and revenue increased — which allowed North Carolina to cut its tax more and get more revenue out of it.

The state received more revenue because after cutting its business tax, it led the nation in economic growth for three years. More jobs, better pay, lower unemployment, and all-around economic growth.

Despite the efforts of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, our state continues to be the worst state in the nation for business. I support the EDA, tax credits are a useful tool; but we need to help every business, not just those the government thinks are worthy. That should be New Jersey’s New Year’s resolution.

Posted in Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate, Politics | 87 Comments

That’s it??

From Fortune:

Up from here? The free-fall in housing market activity just concluded, says Capital Economics

Not only did spiking mortgage rates prompt the Pandemic Housing Boom to fizzle out in the summer of 2022, they also pushed housing market transactions into free-fall mode. By December, mortgage purchase applications were down over 40% on a year-over-year basis.

But there might finally be some good news for builders and agents: Researchers at Capital Economics believe housing market activity is bottoming out.

“There are growing signs that housing market activity may be close to a trough. The decline in mortgage rates over the past couple of months has led to a small improvement in affordability and a rise in homebuyer sentiment, albeit from a record low. Corroborating this, mortgage applications for home purchase have ticked higher in the past couple of months, which should feed through to higher sales,” writes Sam Hall, property economist at Capital Economics.

It isn’t just Capital Economics. There’s a growing optimism among brokers and agents across the country. They’re hoping that loosening financial conditions, which saw the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fall from 7.37% to 6.09% over the past two months, will help to give the looming spring season a little juice.

Let’s be clear: Even if housing market activity (i.e. home sales) have indeed bottomed, it doesn’t guarantee that home sales will have a swift recovery. After all, housing affordability remains “pressurized” to a historic degree. That’ll happen when U.S. home prices soar 41% in just over two years and mortgage rates spike from 3% to over 6% in just a 12-month span.

“But any recovery in housing market activity this year will be tepid. Stretched affordability, a weakening economy and falling house prices will all weigh on activity. As a result, we expect 2023 will be the weakest year for sales since 2011 and for starts since 2014,” write Capital Economics researchers.

Posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, National Real Estate | 108 Comments