Discussing the NAR report on existing homes sales in February 2018 and what happened in Anderson County, what will happen when mortgage rates increase plus much more
US Existing Home Sales Increase
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million in February from 5.38 million in January. After last month’s increase, sales are now 1.1 percent above a year ago.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in February was $241,700, up 5.9 percent from February 2017 ($228,200). February’s price increase marks the 72nd straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of February rose 4.6 percent to 1.59 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 8.1 percent lower than a year ago (1.73 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 33 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace (3.8 months a year ago).
Properties typically stayed on the market for 37 days in February, which is down from 41 days in January and 45 days a year ago. Forty-six percent of homes sold in February were on the market for less than a month.
Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – were 4 percent of sales in February, down from 5 percent in January and 7 percent a year ago. Three percent of February sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.
This is talking about the entire US and does not tell buyers and sellers what is happening in their local market. You must always work with an experienced local Realtor to be successful when buying or selling!
Looking at WUAR MLS data for Anderson County, there were 176 homes sold during February 2018 compared to 148 reported sold during February 2017. This is an 18.9% increase!
The median price in February 2018 was $153,450 compared to the median price of $144,450 during February 2017. This is a 6.2% increase BUT remember this is for ALL homes and does not tell you what is realistic or possible for a specific home!
The average days on market during February 2018 was 81 compared to 79 days during February 2017. While this is 2 days higher than a year ago, it is only 2 days.
This is the average of ALL homes sold in Anderson County and does not reflect what sellers can expect in every case. Selling quickly means correctly pricing your home, making sure it is ready for the market, easy to show and listed with a Realtor that knows how to sell a property such as yours.
There were 15 distressed sales during February 2018 compared to 13 distressed sales during February 2017. Not much of a difference other than there were more short sales during February 2018 than February 2017.
Public Troubled by ‘Deep State’
From Monmouth University:
A majority of the American public believe that the U.S. government engages in widespread monitoring of its own citizens and worry that the U.S. government could be invading their own privacy. The Monmouth University Poll also finds a large bipartisan majority who feel that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a “Deep State” of unelected government officials.
Fully 8-in-10 believe that the U.S. government currently monitors or spies on the activities of American citizens, including a majority (53%) who say this activity is widespread and another 29% who say such monitoring happens but is not widespread. Just 14% say this monitoring does not happen at all. There are no substantial partisan differences in these results.
I am sure Big Brother will not be happy I shared this. See you in the Gulag!
Better Late Than Never?
Years after the economy and housing market were decimated by the reckless behavior of many, legislation is being proposed to hold bank execs accountable when banks break the law.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) recently introduced the “Ending Too Big to Jail Act“. This bill would create a permanent law enforcement unit to investigate fraud at financial institutions and insiders at financial institutions. The bill seems to encourage bringing back SIGTARP to do the investigating because of their record of success.
Bank executives at banks with $10 billion or more in assets would have to certify annually that they have done due diligence to ensure there is no criminal conduct or civil fraud at their bank. This sounds great but probably will never happen due to the power of the banks.
When Wall Street CEOs break the law, they should go to jail like anyone else. The fraud on Wall Street won’t stop until executives know they will be hauled out in handcuffs for cheating their customers and clients. Instead of passing the Bank Lobbyist Act, Congress should be marking the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis by strengthening rules on banks and bankers so Wall Street can never again get away with cheating Americans and crashing the economy.
While I commend Warren for proposing this, a snowball in hell stands a better chance. You do have to wonder why no other politician has proposed something like this before now…
I know that many will dislike this simply because it is a Democrat proposing it. As an independent, I would support a Democrat, Republican or any other politician trying to hold those that wreck the economy accountable for their actions.
What Will Happen When Mortgage Rates Increase?
Notice that I said when and NOT if…
Eventually, all good things come to an end. Mortgage rates have been so low for so long that some have forgotten just how good things and how high mortgage rates were in the past.
Which is why a recent article by Mark Fleming that looks at what will happen if mortgage rates double is very interesting:
Considering this historical context – is the housing market today as sensitive to mortgage rate increases as it was 40 years ago? How would a significant increase in the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rate impact the housing market today?
Fortunately, the answer is not as dramatic as many may think. In fact, using our Potential Home Sales model, we doubled the mortgage rate from its current value of about 4.4 percent to approximately 9 percent and the market potential for home sales declined from the current value of 6.1 million SAAR to 5.8 million SAAR. So, if mortgage rates doubled overnight, our model indicates a decline of just 300,000 sales, a mere 5 percent decrease.
Let’s be clear. Mortgage rates increasing to nearly 9 percent is extremely unlikely. There is no expectation of a mortgage rate increase of this magnitude. However, this scenario helps to put modest mortgage rate increases into perspective – they are unlikely to materially impact the housing market.
While no one knows for sure what the future holds, there is no doubt that rising mortgage rates will impact the housing market. Rising mortgage rates will dramatically hurt the buying power for home buyers.
Waiting to buy a home could lead to higher monthly payments OR having to buy a less expensive home. Or being completely priced out of the market!
Check out this chart showing the effect of rising mortgage rates in your monthly payment:
Mortgage rates are expected to rise steadily this year. We will have to wait until the latest news from the Fed to know for sure what to expect but I will cover that tomorrow.
Remember, if mortgage rates increase, then your monthly payment will be higher. Mortgage rates are still low and delaying until rates increase will cost you more money!
Big Merger in Title Insurance Business?
Fidelity National Financial Inc. agreed to buy Stewart Information Services Corp. for $1.2 billion to bolster its position in the title-insurance market.
Title insurers use records and public documents to verify that home sellers are the true property owners and that the property is free from liens. The companies collect a premium at the closing of a purchase, and pay costs that may arise from disputes about the new owner’s right to the property. Fidelity National has been expanding through deals, building its expertise in mortgage data with a 2014 deal to acquire Lender Processing Services Inc.
I am not sure if this is a done deal yet since it will require government approval. This could hurt consumers by decreasing the number of title insurers.
Well that is all I have time for today! If you enjoyed this post please share on Facebook, Twitter or Google!