Strong jobs report offers glimmer of hope for inventory relief

Residential construction adds 30,000 jobs in December

Although the inventory shortage has continued to rage on, the Employment Situation Summary for December 2017 from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows there could be some relief on the way.

The report shows that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 148,000 jobs last month and that the market experienced continued robust growth in manufacturing, healthcare and construction.

Continue reading Strong jobs report offers glimmer of hope for inventory relief

What to expect from the Fed in 2018

Stay cool — the current flattening curve has little or nothing to do with the possibility of recession

The Fed has several jobs. The long-term one overrides all: stable purchasing power in the dollar — which means neither excessive inflation nor deflation, a target of 2 percent annual inflation (much lower is as damaging as much higher). The Fed’s second job: try to maintain a stable economy — raise the cost of money if the economy is too hot, or cut the cost if too cold.

Then there are the temporary jobs, fire-fighting: maintaining orderly markets, without either bubbles or crashes; and a new job after the 2008 disaster, to be the nation’s credit regulator, watchful that credit standards are neither too easy nor too tight.

Many people are suspicious of the Fed or government in general. Can the Fed do these jobs? Yes, but they’ll blow it from time to time, too — and even though they do, we’re a great deal better off with the Fed trying than not.

Continue reading What to expect from the Fed in 2018

Home prices climb 7% in months-long surge

The steady rise is good for sellers, but spells bad news for first-time buyers

CoreLogic today released its Home Price Index (HPI) and HPI Forecast data for November 2017, which boasted 7 percent year-over-year growth. November is the fourth consecutive month with year-over-year increases measuring more than 6 percent. Gains were solid month-over-month also, at 1.0 percent.

Continue reading Home prices climb 7% in months-long surge

Will 2018 be a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?

Real estate experts and economists agree sellers will continue to hold the cards

With inventory at historically low levels and demand for housing skyrocketing in most markets, economic analysts and real estate experts believe 2018 will be the Year of the Seller.

With few exceptions, analysts contacted forecasted yet another year in which a scarcity of homes in the real estate market will allow private and institutional sellers to keep prices high, especially as a growing segment of first-time millennial buyers take the homeownership plunge.

“Clearly, 2018 appears to be another seller’s market,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American Financial Corporation. “The shortage of supply relative to increasing millennial demand will not change next year. In fact, it may be exacerbated as more millennials decide to become homeowners and more sellers become prisoners in their own homes, as mortgage rates rise and fear of not being able to find something to buy increases.”

Continue reading Will 2018 be a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?

Low inventory will be huge challenge to home sales in 2018

Economists say tight supply remains a thorn for brokers, developers and homeowners as new year approaches

On Tuesday, the real estate industry breathed an unexpected, if temporary, sigh of relief with news that single-family housing starts spiked to 930,000 units in November, up 5.3 percent over October for a 10-year high unattained since the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007.

The gains piggybacked on increases in October, when overall housing starts rose to a strong annual rate of 1.256 million units in the aftermath of powerful hurricanes over the summer that slowed housing construction in Texas and Florida for three months before resuming in the fall.

But with inventory still treacherously low across the United States, economists and real estate analysts told Inman that bouncing back to a 50-year average rate of 1.5 million new units remains a challenge worth fighting for in 2018. Indeed, real estate experts agreed that inventory challenges will likely persist into the new year.

Continue reading Low inventory will be huge challenge to home sales in 2018

Existing-home sales leap 5.6% to highest pace since 2006

First-time buyers left in the dust as sales activity soars across the country

Existing-home sales increased 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 5.81 million in November — up from an upwardly revised 5.50 in October, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

This month’s sales pace is 3.8 percent above November 2016 and is the strongest sales pace seen since December 2006 (6.42 million).

Continue reading Existing-home sales leap 5.6% to highest pace since 2006

Single-family housing construction hits 10-year high

U.S. Census reports 930,000 single-family home starts in November–the best numbers since the onset of the Great Recession

Plagued by historically low inventory, the construction industry rallied in November with a 5.3 percent boost in single-family housing starts to an annualized rate of 930,000, up from 883,000 in October and marking a 10-year high. 

Until today, that number had remained frustratingly out of reach since the subprime mortgage crises. 

Continue reading Single-family housing construction hits 10-year high