Increase in Home Sales

Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) estimates that sales of new single-family homes were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 543,000 units in January 2014, based on data from MBA’s Builder Applications Survey.
    
“While the big jump may appear to conflict with other data, such as MBA’s purchase application index and NAR’s existing home sales data that point to a weak market for existing homes, our Builder Application Survey estimate is consistent with reports of homebuilder sentiment that show strength in the market for new homes,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist. “It is also worth noting that the significant January increase also followed a particularly slow pace of sales in November and December.”
    
The estimated 543,000 unit sales pace for January was an increase of 35 percent from December’s pace of 402,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, the MBA estimates that there were 38,000 new home sales in January 2014, a 36 percent increase from the level of 28,000 units in December 2013. The new home sales estimate is derived using mortgage application information from the BAS, as well as assumptions regarding market coverage and other factors.
    
Mortgage applications for new home purchases increased by 27 percent relative to the previous month. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.
By product type, conventional loans composed 69.4 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 15.9 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.3 percent and VA loans composed 13.4 percent. The average loan size of new homes decreased from $300,444 in December to $289,358 in January.
    
MBA’s Builder Application Survey tracks application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of home builders across the country. Utilizing this data, as well as data from other sources, MBA is able to provide an early estimate of new home sales volumes at the national, state, and metro level. This data also provides information regarding the types of loans used by new home buyers. Official new home sales estimates are conducted by the Census Bureau on a monthly basis. In that data, new home sales are recorded at contract signing, which is typically coincident with the mortgage application.

Source:Mortgage Bankers Association

Spring Selling Season is Here

If you're considering selling your home in 2014, now is the time to get ready. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow. Right now. Why? Because buyers are already on the hunt.

The Internet is the new curb appealLast month will likely be remembered for polar vortexes, widespread snow, and historic traffic jams. Lost in the shuffle is that while American's were sitting inside trying to stay warm, they were looking at houses for sale on the Internet.

Experian Marketing Services released its monthly most visited real estate website rankings earlier this week for web traffic in January. The results are eye popping. Web traffic to real estate websites was up 25% from December to 364 million visits. Zillow led the way with over 57 million visits and Trulia limped into second at over 30 million visits. If you're considering selling and your home is not yet online, then every day you're missing out on thousands (or even millions) of potential buyers viewing your home.

Even more incentive for buyersSpring is coming, and that is certainly driving a lot of the interest in homes currently listed for sale. But there are other factors at play. Mortgage rates have declined over the past month and are currently trending back toward 4% for traditionally structured, well qualified loans. This is a significant development for buyers, as interest rates are a huge driver of home affordability.

For example, a traditional 30 year, $150,000 mortgage at 4.5% would have a monthly payment of $760. If rates declined to 4.25%, the payment would change to $738. For borrowers on the edge of qualifying for a mortgage, that $22 per month savings could make the difference between getting a loan approval or not. Over the life of the loan, that 0.25% difference saves the borrower $7,963!

For buyers, the time is now
Buy low and sell high, right? For buyers, the time to buy low is quickly ending, creating a sense of urgency to buy now before prices rise too high or interest rates return to more historically normal levels. According to CoreLogic and reported by Realtor.org, home prices in 2013 saw the largest percentage increase across the board since 2005, north of 11% as of December. The appreciation was most pronounced in the states that were hit hardest in the real estate collapse: Nevada rose 23.9%, California 19.7%, and Michigan 14% rounding out the top three.

Buyers are ready. Are you?The spring selling season will be in full swing sooner than you think. Rates are low, there is urgency to buy now, and buyers are already coming out of their winter slumber. If you're planning to sell you home in 2014, you need to be ready now. Don't miss out on the perfect, well qualified buyer because you waited a moment too long.

Source:The Motley Fool

Senate Passes Flood Insurance Bill

On Jan. 30, 2014, the United States Senate voted 67-32 to approve the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (S. 1926), sponsored by Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Isakson (R-GA).

This bipartisan legislation, an NAR member priority, calls for a 4-year timeout on rate increases triggered either by a property’s sale or a flood map update for a property with previously grandfathered rates. NAR provided Congress with expert testimony suggesting that many of these increases are excessive and inaccurate. The bill also creates a flood insurance advocate within the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) to investigate home owner complaints of multiple different or excessive rate quotes.

The Senate vote sends the measure to the House of Representatives, where Reps. Grimm (R-NY) and Waters (D-CA) have already built an impressive list of 181 co-sponsors in favor of the bill; a total that is 30 votes shy of a House majority NAR will redouble its efforts there to persuade the House leadership to bring a similar bill up for a floor vote at the earliest opportunity

Source:Realtor.com