Top News Of The Week

Housing Starts Dip in April; Builder Optimism Rises
Cut Regulations, Spur Housing Growth, Says One Banker
America’s Housing Market is ‘Normal.’ Sort of.
FHA-VA Default Rates Fall in First Quarter
Luxury Home Prices Have a Strong 2017 Start
First Time Buyers Are Rediscovering Renovating
Weak Credit May Cost You More For Homeowners Insurance
Jumbo Originations Down Sharply in First Quarter
Less Moving Help From Employers
More Homeowners Getting Out of ‘Underwater’ Situations
Strong Growth in New Homes Expected through 2019
When A Selling Price Astounds Even the Seller’s REALTOR®
Trees As Moneymakers


Housing Starts Dip in April; Builder Optimism Rises
Housing starts dipped in April, the government says, to their lowest level in five months.

New home construction was at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units, a 2.6% drop from the revised March estimate.

But the government says it’s still 7-tenths of a percent above the April 2016 rate.

Meanwhile, the nation’s home builders remain confident in the market for newly-built single-family homes.

The National Association of Home Builders / Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose two points in May, to its second highest reading since the downturn.

NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald says the number shows that builders’ optimism in the housing market is solidifying.

Cut Regulations, Spur Housing Growth, Says One Banker
New home construction continues to lag behind demand. And one banker says the federal government could really help change that.

Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner tells Fox Business that Washington could do a lot to spur more new home construction by scaling back regulations that add to the cost of a new home. Many of those regulations, he says, are related to the environment:

And Vitner says Millennials are becoming homeowners at a faster pace — he says they now make up the fastest-growing group of buyers.

America’s Housing Market is ‘Normal.’ Sort of.
America’s housing market is now “normal,” according to the latest reading of the National Association of Home Builders / First American Leading Markets Index.

But there’s an asterisk next to that.

The index reflects current home price, permit, and employment data. And the NAHB points out, when COMBINED, those numbers produce a reading of “normal,” but the three individual components vary from what would be considered “normal.”

Employment is the closest, at 98% of normal activity.

But home prices are at 150%, and single-family permits are at a sluggish 53% of normal.

FHA-VA Default Rates Fall in First Quarter
The default rates for FHA and VA loans fell significantly in the first quarter of the year, following a seasonal trend.

According to an analysis by the publication “Inside FHA/VA Lending,” there were big declines in the number of loans past due.

The number of FHA loans 30-to-60 days past due fell 28%.

And delinquency rates for the less-severe categories of late payment were all down sharply, the publication says.

Luxury Home Prices Have a Strong 2017 Start
Luxury home prices rose 4.2% in the first quarter of the year, although that wasn’t as much as overall home prices rose, according to figures compiled by Redfin.

The company says it was the ninth consecutive quarter in which the top 5% of homes — the most expensive ones — were outperformed by the bottom 95%.

Redfin says the average price for non-luxury homes was up 7% year over year,

First Time Buyers Are Rediscovering Renovating
First-time home buyers are spending more on remodeling.

So says the sixth annual “Houzz & Home” survey of more than 100,000 homeowners.

Houzz principal economist Nino Sitchinava said on CNBC: the Houzz and Home survey also reveals that it’s Baby Boomers who are fueling the renovations — she says they’re responsible for 50-percent of spending on remodeling, three times more than Millennials.

Weak Credit May Cost You More For Homeowners Insurance
A new study finds that homeowners with bad credit may pay double what their neighbors with good credit pay, for homeowners insurance. And in some cases, almost triple.

The study was done for the website InsuranceQuotes.com.

Laura Adams is a senior insurance analyst with InsuranceQuotes…

And when a consumer’s credit is “poor,” their premiums can more than double, the study says.

Jumbo Originations Down Sharply in First Quarter
Jumbo loan originations were down sharply in the first quarter, compared to the last quarter of 2016.

That., according to an analysis by the publication “Inside Nonconforming Markets,”

They report the results come from those lenders who provide relatively early reporting of their jumbo origination activity. Those lenders report the downturn was likely the result of seasonal factors, and higher interest rates.
- Housing Starts Dip in April; Builder Optimism Rises
- Cut Regulations, Spur Housing Growth, Says One Banker
- America’s Housing Market is ‘Normal.’ Sort of.
- FHA-VA Default Rates Fall in First Quarter
- Luxury Home Prices Have a Strong 2017 Start
- First Time Buyers Are Rediscovering Renovating
- Weak Credit May Cost You More For Homeowners Insurance
- Jumbo Originations Down Sharply in First Quarter
- Less Moving Help From Employers
- More Homeowners Getting Out of ‘Underwater’ Situations
- Strong Growth in New Homes Expected through 2019
- When A Selling Price Astounds Even the Seller’s REALTOR®
- Trees As Moneymakers

Less Moving Help From Employers
America’s employers aren’t as generous as they used to be, in helping employees relocate.

The Wall Street Journal reports that fewer companies are offering mortgage assistance as part of their relocation packages.

In fact, the paper says, only 4% of American employers offer mortgage assistance.

Only 3% offer down payment assistance.

8% will still reimburse fees paid to real estate professionals.

More Homeowners Getting Out of ‘Underwater’ Situations
The number of American homeowners who are deeply “underwater” with their mortgage continues to shrink.

The newest figures from ATTOM Data Solutions show that there are some 5.5 million homeowners nationwide whose mortgages total at least 25% more than their home is worth.

But ATTOM Data Solutions senior vice president Daren Blomquist tells the Wall Street Journal that’s only half the story.

Blomquist says there are certain markets with a much higher concentration of negative equity — in Cleveland, for example, almost 23% of homes are “underwater.”

Strong Growth in New Homes Expected through 2019
A trade group representing manufacturers of windows, doors and skylights predicts that the new housing market will continue at a strong level of growth through 2019.

In a new report, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association notes that total housing starts continued growing in 2016.

The AAMA report forecasts that single family starts will continue to lead the growth in 2017, with another 10 percent increase.

When A Selling Price Astounds Even the Seller’s REALTOR®
A dilapidated 900 square-foot house in Palo Alto, California sold recently — for a price that even stunned the REALTOR® who sold it.

That tiny house, on a tiny lot, in super-heated Silicon Valley sold for 2.55 million dollars.

REALTOR® Dawn Thomas with Golden State Sotheby’s sold it. She talked to CNBC:

Still, Thomas won’t use the word “bubble” to describe the Silicon Valley housing market. She says some people think this is the top of the market, but she says there has been no slowdown yet.

Trees As Moneymakers
Money may not actually grow on trees, but planting trees can increase your home’s value and cut energy costs.

According to REALTOR® mag, the U.S. Forest Service says planting one tree in front of your house can raise its sale price an average of $7,130.

And planting on the west side of your house can cut energy bills 3% within five years, and up to 12% within 15 years.

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