Monday, June 1, 2015

All Signs Point to a Strong Summer.

Keeping you updated on the market!
For the week of

June 1, 2015

All Signs Point to a Strong Summer
Though a holiday-shortened week, it was a solid week nonetheless.
Home prices continue to march to higher ground. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index posted a very solid and slightly higher-than-expected 1.0 % gain in March. Higher prices were seen in all 20 of the markets Case-Shiller follows. Year over year, the Case-Shiller index is up 5%.
New home sales also continue to move higher. Sales were up 6.8% to 517,000 units on an annualized rate in April. Supply rose slightly in the month, to 205,000 new homes, but supply relative to sales fell to 4.8 months from 5.1 month. The upside of low supply is that it will encourage builders to bring more homes to markets. We've seen this in recent months in the increase in starts.
Rising prices will also encourage more building. The median price of a new home was up 4.1% to $297,300 for April. Year over year, the median price is up a strong 8.3%.
The good news on new home sales was a welcomed balance to the disappointing news on existing home sales last week. That said, we expect existing home sales to gain traction through the summer months. The news on pending home sales supports our optimism.
Up four-consecutive months, pending home sales jumped a much higher-than-expected 3.4% in April following an upward revised 1.2% gain in March. Pending home sales are up 14% year over year, and are far ahead of final sales of existing homes, which are up only 6.1%. The Pending Sales Index – at 112.4 – is as high as it has been since May 2006. We should see existing homes trend higher over the next few months.
Mortgage rates also continued to move higher, but only by a couple basis points. That said, depending on what part of the country you reside, the highest rates of the year were prevalent this past week. The good news is that mortgage rates appear to have plateaued, and are showing little inclination to move higher.


Date and Time
Personal Income
Mon., June 1,
8:30 am, ET
0.3% (Increase)
Important. Income growth remains anemic and is hurting the starter-home housing market.
Construction Spending
Mon., June 1,
10:00 am ET
0.8% (Increase)
Important. Residential construction continues to drive overall construction spending. This bodes well for the housing outlook.
Mortgage Applications
Wed., June 3,
7:00 am, ET
Important. Purchase activity continues to point to sales growth in coming months.
Employment Situation
Fri., June 5,
8:30 am, ET
Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
Payrolls: 218,000 (Increase)
Very Important. Low wage growth will push any interest-rate increases further into the future.


Is It Time for Prices to Take a Respite?
Following price trends has never been easier. A few years ago, there was only one source – Case-Shiller. Today, there are numerous sources you can tap to get an idea of what home prices are doing in your neck of the woods. Trulia, CoreLogic, and Zillow are to name just a few.
To be sure, rising prices can be a good thing for homeowners. Once someone becomes a homeowner, he or she generally owns an asset that appreciates over time (with proper maintenance, of course). The homeowner’s net worth increases with home equity. The homeowner can tap the equity for money to invest elsewhere or for current consumption.
It's a virtuous circle.
That said, you need to get into a home before you can enjoy the benefits of home-ownership. That's becoming a problem in many markets, particularly for first-time buyers. Prices in many markets have exceeded pre-bubble highs. Wage growth, on the other hand, still lags. This obviously makes it difficult for first-time buyers. A healthy housing market needs a continual influx of first-time buyers. Unfortunately, they are in short supply these days.
At this point, we'd like to see further moderation in home-price appreciation. In addition, we'd like to see further price moderation coupled with more construction in the starter market. The coupling of these two objectives would help ensure the housing market remains healthy for years to come.

Article courtesy of Patti Wilson, American Momentum Bank.

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