Real Estate Matters


Hello, I thought that you would be interested in this forecast from an article in Florida Realtors Magazine
NEW YORK – Jan. 3, 2017 – The U.S. economy is expected to strengthen next year, in part because of the government stimulus proposed by President-elect Donald Trump, but job growth is likely to slow as the recovery approaches its eighth anniversary, according to a recent survey of economists.

The economy is projected to grow at a 2.3 percent annual rate in 2017, up from an estimated 1.6 percent this year, according to the average forecast of 53 economists surveyed earlier this month by Blue Chip Economic Indicators. That's modestly above the tepid 2.1 percent average that has prevailed since the Great Recession ended in June 2009.

The big wild card: The Trump effect. Quick congressional passage and implementation of his plan to sharply increase infrastructure and defense spending and slash taxes could mean faster growth. But Trump's threats to slap big tariffs on China and Mexico risk trade wars that could roil the economy.

"There's a significant downside risk from trade," says Richard Moody, chief economist of Regions Financial.

Average monthly job growth is projected to slow to 160,000 from 180,000 so far this year and 229,000 in 2015, according to the economists' average estimate. That's largely because the low, 4.6 percent unemployment rate is providing employers a smaller pool of available workers, says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics.

Also, the tandem of solid job gains and a sluggish economy has resulted in anemic increases in productivity, or output per worker hour. Both Zandi and Moody expect businesses to invest in more labor-saving technology next year to bolster productivity, but that likely would curtail hiring.

Yet the tight labor market should juice wage increases as employers bid up to attract workers, Zandi says. He predicts average annual earnings growth – which was 2.5 percent in November – will reach 3 percent to 3.5 percent by the end of 2017.

The higher pay, he says, should draw more discouraged workers back into the labor force, keeping the unemployment rate roughly flat next year.

Consumers, meanwhile, are poised to underpin economic growth again as a result of those fatter paychecks, steady job gains, record housing and stock prices, reduced debt and still-cheap gasoline. The economists surveyed by Blue Chip expect consumption to increase a solid 2.5 percent, in line with gains in 2016.

"Consumer spending is still going to be the main driver," Moody says.

The difference next year is that business investment is likely to rise and contribute to the economy after falling 0.6 percent this year. Business capital spending and stockpiling were hammered by myriad factors in the first half of the year, including low oil prices, China's economic slowdown, volatile markets and a strong dollar that hurt exports.

But oil prices have doubled since bottoming out early 2016, coaxing producers to revive shuttered wells and order steel pipes and other materials from U.S. factories. The greenback had leveled off until a recent rally, bolstering exports. China's economy has stabilized. The Dow is on the cusp of 20,000. And U.S. companies are replenishing inventories that shrank well below normal levels, partly because paltry sales in the energy sector left little reason to bulk up.

"All of the headwinds are blowing less hard," Zandi says.

The economists surveyed expect business investment to increase 2.7 percent next year. Michael Englund, chief economist of Action Economics, says Trump's stimulus, combined with his plan to reduce regulations and cut taxes for U.S. companies, already has buoyed business confidence, and that alone could spur more capital spending. Meanwhile, he says, Trump can begin to ease regulations for energy and other firms through executive action to further increase corporate profits and investment.

"Businesses have been gun shy" until now, he says. He expects all those effects to increase growth by two-tenths of a percentage point.

Zandi forecasts a similar bump based on his belief that some increased military spending and tax cuts for households could take effect by the second half of next year. He expects the economy to grow a healthy 2.8 percent in 2017.

But Moody, who forecasts 2.1 percent growth, hasn't factored any of those Trump effects into his forecast, adding it's not clear how much Congress will approve and how long negotiations will drag out. Such developments are likely to temper the economy's gains.

Copyright 2017,, USA TODAY, Paul Davidson  
Posted in:General
Posted by Bill Geller on January 4th, 2017 10:43 AM

Thirty-year fixed rates were slightly higher, 15-year fixed mortgages moved down a notch, and 5/1 ARM rates rose just a bit Friday, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders this morning.

Mortgage rates are having difficulty finding direction as lenders simply fine-tune their pricing. That might change next week, when the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to hike short-term interest rates by a quarter point (0.25%). However, the move has been so widely expected that the immediate impact on mortgage rates could be minimal.

Mortgage Rates Today,
Friday, Dec. 9

(Change from 12/8)
30-year fixed: 4.31% APR (+0.01)
15-year fixed: 3.69% APR (-0.01)
5/1 ARM: 3.78% APR (+0.01)

Average annual home equity gain tops $12,500

Owning a home has traditionally come with an invisible benefit: wealth building through appreciation. While the housing crisis put that return on hold for many Americans, it’s slowly making a comeback.

CoreLogic, the real estate analytics firm, says that U.S. homeowners with mortgages — about 63% of all homeowners — gained $227 billion in home equity in the third quarter of 2016. That’s up more than 3% from the previous quarter and a 10.8% increase year-over-year.

Home equity rose by $12,500 for the average homeowner over the last four quarters,” Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, said in a release. “There was wide geographic variation, with homeowners in California, Oregon and Washington gaining an average of at least $25,000 in home equity wealth, while owners in Alaska, North Dakota and Connecticut had small declines, on average.”

Rising home values and the payment of loan principal combine to build home equity. Home prices were up 5.8% for the year ending Sept. 2016, according to CoreLogic.

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published APR with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. Annual percentage rate quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @halmbundrick.

The article Mortgage Rates Today, Friday, Dec. 9: Without Direction; Homeowners Gain $12,500 Average Annual Equity originally appeared on NerdWallet.

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Posted in:General
Posted by Bill Geller on December 9th, 2016 11:39 AM


WASHINGTON (AP) – Nov 29, 2016 – U.S. home prices have fully recovered from their steep plunge during the housing bust and Great Recession, according to a private measure.

The Standard & Poor's CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index is slightly above the peak it set in July 2006, after rising 5.5 percent in September from a year earlier. The milestone comes after more than four years of steady gains.

Still, prices have not fully recovered in many cities and other gauges show that home prices remain below their peaks.

Steady job gains and low mortgage rates have encouraged more Americans to buy homes. Yet the supply of available properties has dwindled, setting off bidding wars and pushing up prices at a rapid pace.

Seattle, Portland and Denver reported the largest annual gains in September for the eighth straight month.

"The new peak set by the S&P Case-Shiller CoreLogic national index will be seen as marking a shift from the housing recovery to the hoped-for start of a new advance," David Blitzer, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said.

The ongoing recovery in home prices shores up Americans' household wealth and should provide more homeowners the incentive to sell. The number of homes for sale is low partly because many families have little equity in their homes and would benefit little from a sale. Rising home values help counter that trend.

Yet many cities remain far below their pre-recession peaks, Blitzer said, including those that have seen large gains since the downturn, such as Miami, Tampa, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.

And other analysts caution that imbalances remain in the housing market.

"Inadequate supply of homes available to buy – especially at the entry-level end of the market – remains a huge problem," Svenja Gudell, chief economist for real estate data provider Zillow, said.

Since the real estate market began recovering in 2012, prices have far outpaced Americans' incomes. That has made it difficult for many would-be buyers, particularly younger Americans, to take advantage of low mortgage rates.

Home prices have increased at a 5.9 percent annual rate, adjusted for inflation, S&P says. Yet Americans' after-tax incomes have increased just 1.3 percent during that time.

Mortgage rates have risen about a half-percentage point since the presidential election, to nearly 4 percent. That is still very low by historical standards, but could slow home sales in the coming months.

According to the S&P Case Shiller national home price index, home prices plummeted 27.4 percent from a peak reached in July 2006 through February 2012. They have since recovered that loss and are now 0.1 percent above the previous peak.

S&P Case-Shiller issues several home price measures, including a composite index of 20 large cities. That measure remains 7 percent below its housing bubble peak.

Most other measures of the housing market point to a solid recovery. Sales of existing homes rose to the fastest pace in nearly a decade in October. And developers broke ground on the most new homes in nine years last month. Sales of new homes slowed in October from the previous month, but are up a solid 12.7 percent in the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period in 2015.

Posted in:General
Posted by Bill Geller on November 30th, 2016 9:41 AM

I just read this article and thought it wort sharing.  

NEW YORK – May 10, 2016 – More consumers than ever see the benefits of buying a home with smart technology. A 2016 Coldwell Banker survey found that owners believe smart home technology makes their home safer, saves them money and saves them time.

The same survey also found that 54 percent of homeowners would buy or install smart home products if they were selling their home because they believe it would make the home sell faster.

In order to help agents and consumers understand the common smart home benefits and buzzwords, CRT Labs put together a guide. Here are some highlights:

Smart home terms and facts

What are the benefits of smart home technology?

Smart home technology automates household tasks like adjusting a home's temperature, unlocking the front door or opening the garage door using voice-activation devices. Smart devices can work together to offer owners safety by alerting them if something in their home seems amiss, and it can save owners money by automatically controlling the temperature and energy of a home. Insurance companies and utility companies may offer reduced rates and rebates for homes with smart devices.

Who owns the data, how is it used and are there security risks?

A home's smart home data can be used in a variety of ways, according to CRT Labs. Data is "generally used by smart device companies to improve product development and provide additional services to their customers," but: "You should also read the vendor's privacy policy to see what they are legally allowed to do with the data. They may allow themselves to sell your data to third parties, so read carefully."

What's the impact on selling prices?

On a large scale, the financial impact is yet to be seen since the technology is so new, but survey results showed that 72 percent of millennial owners would spend $1,500 or more to add smart home technology. Fifty-nine percent of parents with children would also pay more for a smart home, according to Coldwell Banker's survey.

3 smart home phrases to know:

  • IoT (Internet of Things): This buzzword describes automated devices like lights, thermostats and locks that work together and are connected by the Internet. IoT products use data to simplify things that previously weren't automated.
  • Hub: In the world of smart homes, a hub is almost like a universal remote, according to CRTLabs. A hub is the main device that connects all of the different smart home products together so they're all automated.
  • SmartMeter: These electric and gas meters help owners monitor their utility usage by sending real time meter readings.

Source: "Smart Home Glossary," and "Smart Home and Internet of Things FAQ," CRT Labs (May 2016)

© Copyright 2016 INFORMATION, INC
Posted in:General
Posted by Bill Geller on May 13th, 2016 11:50 AM
?This is an recent release from Florida Realtors that I thought was most interesting about Florida real estate sales.

MCLEAN, Va. – Sept. 25, 2015 – Freddie Mac's latest Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) finds that the Florida real estate market's rebound leads the nation. In a city-by-city comparison, Orlando leads the nation in both a month-to-month and year-to-year comparison, and only one non-Florida city makes the top five list for either timeframe.

Florida comparisons

Month-over-month, Florida's index score rose 2.0 percent. It was followed by Colorado (+1.99%), New Jersey (+1.83%), Connecticut (+1.80%) and Nevada (+1.48%).

Year-over-year, Florida's index grew by 14.35 percent. It was followed by Oregon (+13.45%), Nevada (12.18%), Colorado (+11.65%), and Washington (+10.18%).

Florida metro comparisons

Orlando topped all city lists from Freddie Mac. Month-to-month, Orlando improved 2.6 percent, followed by Greenville, S.C. (+2.55%), Cape Coral (+2.51%), Tampa (+2.19%) and Jacksonville (+2.12%).

Year-to-year, Orlando improved 18.27 percent, followed by Cape Coral (+17.75%), Tampa (+15.99%), Palm Bay (+14.98%) and North Port (+14.77%).

"Florida has some of the most improving housing markets in the country, largely a reflection of more borrowers becoming current on their mortgage payments as the local employment picture improves and house prices rebound," says Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer. "Nationally, all MiMi indicators are heading in the right direction for the second consecutive month and improving more than 6 percent from the same time last year."

U.S. numbers

Nationally, Freddie Mac added one more name to its list of slowly stabilizing markets: Rhode Island. It also added four cities: Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Phoenix, Arizona; and Albany, New York.

The national MiMi value stands at 81, indicating a housing market that is on its outer range of stable housing activity. The number improved 0.93 percent month-to-month and 6.17 percent year-to-year. Since it's all-time low in October 2010, the MiMi has improved 37%.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®

Posted in:General
Posted by Bill Geller on September 29th, 2015 3:42 PM



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