Knews from our Mortgage Specialist

It has been five years since the collapse of the financial markets. Five years ago, the world financial systems were on the brink of collapse. For five years we have been crawling out of a deep hole. You can’t get very far by crawling, but if one moves forward little-by-little for five years, how far we have come will look very impressive. Let’s just look at the stock markets.

Early in 2009 the Dow Jones Industrial Average bottomed at just under 6500 in reaction to the crisis. This year the Dow has topped 15,500 twice. That is a gain of approximately 140% in under five years. Even more impressively, the gain does not seem to be slowing much as the rally matures. Thus far in 2013, gains have exceeded 15%.

Every time the markets look like they are in the middle of a correction, they seem to bounce back nicely. This year, the market has been affected by rising interest rates and the situation in Syria. Each time there is a pull-back it is brief and then a comeback ensues. One has to ask if there is more room on the upside after such a run. The answer boils down to two issues. First, will the economy keep recovering at a decent pace? Second, will this recovery cause interest rates to rise high enough to slow down the train? The economic recovery is definitely stronger today paced by a recovered auto industry and recovering real estate markets. But it still has not been strong enough to create enough jobs to replace those lost in the recession, let alone keep on pace with population growth. The statement released after the meeting of the Federal Reserve Board last week echoed that concern. Growth that is too strong might actually turn out to be a recipe to slow the run we have seen.
Housing demand from move-up buyers — or existing homeowners selling their current properties to replace them with a more expensive home — is on the rise as home equity levels improve. As home prices continue to increase, so does demand from move-up buyers, who are now able to provide a substantial downpayment on a new home after gaining value on rising equity, the latest report from real estate data firm FNC revealed. “An important sign of a healthy and sustainable recovery is increased housing turnover driven by trade-up buying, which is more or less discretionary spending,” FNC Director of Research Yanling Mayer said. “These buyers are typically more responsive to market conditions and financial incentives,” she added. Much of the desire for move-up buyers lies behind rising rates. “They know if they don’t move now, they might be kicking themselves all over again in three months,” said Redfin Los Angeles real estate agent Eric Tan back in July, when rates were throttling upward. Historically, rates remain very low, but experts predict they will continue to gain steam as we move into 2014. According to Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, 18.5 million homeowners — 40% of all homeowners — have at least 20% equity or more, putting them in a prime position to sell. “In addition, we show 8.3 million homeowners who are on the equity fence, and should have at least 20% equity in the next 15 months if home prices continue to appreciate at the same rate we’ve seen over the past 15 months,” Blomquist said in an interview with HousingWire. Blomquist noted that if 5% of these 8.3 million homeowners list their homes for sale, that’s an additional 415,000 homes that will be available for sale in the coming months. “The increase in the share of equity sales reflects a market that is fully transitioning from investor purchases of distressed homes to primary home purchases by households,” said California Association of Realtor Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young in a recent equity report. “The market continues to improve as more previously underwater homes gain equity due to recent upward movements in price.” Source: HousingWire

For the past three years, the average size of new homes has been on the rise. The median new-home size in 2012 reached a record high at 2,306 square feet, according to newly released data from the Census Bureau. That is an 8 percent increase from 2009. During the Great Recession, Americans showed a preference for smaller homes, and many housing experts were saying it meant the end of the McMansion. But Jeffry Roos, a regional president for homebuilder Lennar, told CNNMoney that it wasn’t that Americans wanted less space, they just couldn’t afford more space at the time. Now, they’re upsizing again. A spokeswoman for GL Homes says that the builder has been selling homes that average 7 percent larger than during the first five months of 2012. Some consumers are choosing to buy larger because they have more people under their roof. Lennar offers homes known as Next Gen, which feature separate suites for a mother-in-law or college grad who has moved back home. Home shoppers tend to buy bigger than what they originally plan, Fred Cooper, a spokesman for Toll Brothers, told CNNMoney. ”In the downturns, in upturns, whenever, our customers typically added another 18 to 20 percent of floor space onto what already was a very nice house to begin with,” Cooper says. Source: CNNMoney

The condo sector has experienced lackluster growth in sales and development the last few years, but it may finally be seeing a turnaround in markets across the country. Condo sales are showing signs of strengthening as demand picks up from Baby Boomers and young professionals. Sales of condo and co-op units were up 23 percent in July from a year ago, according to preliminary data from the National Association of Realtors®. All regions were recording at least a 20 percent year-over-year growth. The Midwest and South have seen some of the largest gains. The median sales price for condos and co-ops was $209,600 in July—a 15.5 percent increase from a year earlier. High-rise condo building may be poised for a lift nationwide. New development is moving forward in urban residential centers and popping up in smaller cities as well, Investors Business Daily reports. For example, a wave of Latin American cash is financing a new condo boom in the Miami area. The National Association of Home Builders reports that condo developer optimism skyrocketed in the second quarter, reaching its brightest outlook in eight years, according to an index that measures builder sentiment for the sector. A growing interest in high-rise condo construction coincides with a slowly recovering market for new homes, experts note. Still, financing condo construction remains an obstacle for many developers. Developers may need to show that their projects also work as rentals when they are seeking approval for a loan, says Mark Humphreys, CEO of Humphreys & Partners Architects, based in Dallas. Source: Investors Business Daily

Steve Florio

Senior Loan Officer

NMLS# 305979

Guild Mortgage Company

St George, Utah

435.319.9238 / Iphone

435.535.2470 / fax

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