Monthly Archives: June 2014

Inflation Starting to Increase – Will Put Upward Pressure on Mortgage Rates Soon

Source: Cheryl Kuck, imortgage.com

“You’re hot then you’re cold.” Katy Perry. Inflation is heating up, while the housing market shows signs of cooling. Meanwhile, the Fed continues to taper its massive Bond-buying program at a steady pace.

The hot housing market from 2013 is cooling off as the second half of 2014 approaches. May Housing Starts fell by 6.5 percent from April to an annual rate of 1.001 million units. Housing Starts measure the number of new residential construction projects during any particular month. Meanwhile, Building Permits, a sign of future construction, declined by 6.4 percent to an annual rate of 991,000. In addition, Freddie Mac’s 2014 Economic and Housing Outlook revealed that single-family housing remains weaker than Freddie Mac projected six months ago, while multi-family dwellings appear to be on track.

There was some positive housing news, as the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index rose to 49 in June, up from 45 recorded in May. The reading for June is one point shy of the 50 threshold, the level that’s considered good for new construction conditions.

On the inflation front, the Consumer Price Index for May came in hotter than expected. This is significant because inflation erodes the value of fixed assets like Mortgage Bonds. And since home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, hotter inflation could spell trouble for home loan rates as we move further ahead this year. Also of note, the Federal Reserve announced that it will continue to taper its massive Bond-buying program. Beginning in July, the Fed will purchase $15 billion in Mortgage Bonds and $20 billion in Treasuries per month, an overall decrease of $10 billion.

What does this mean for home loan rates? Tensions overseas, the Fed’s Bond-buying program and weak economic reports have been key factors in helping Bonds and home loan rates improve this spring. However, hotter inflation could spell trouble and it’s something to watch closely in the weeks and months ahead.

The takeaway is that now remains a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you.

Latest Regional Data Shows Continued Housing Market Strength & Insufficient Inventories

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Wash. – Housing around Western Washington is on an upward trajectory, but inadequate inventory “in the right prices and locations” makes for a “very difficult market for purchasers and brokers,” according to an executive with one multi-office real estate company.

New figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service show inventory increased in May compared to a year ago, but brokers say competition is keen. “Multiple offers and escalation clauses occur on a regular basis for properties that are extremely well priced and in great condition,” reports Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma.

Mike Gain, a former chairman of the Northwest MLS board of directors, also commented on the bidding wars. “We are experiencing more multiple offers than I have experienced in my 35 years of practicing real estate in this marketplace,” stated Gain, the president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate. “This is a very difficult market for purchasers, our agents and brokers. If we had inventory to handle the demand our pending and sold numbers would be greatly increased,” he believes, adding, “We desperately need good quality inventory.”

Last month’s pending sales topped the 10,000 mark for the first time in twelve months. The number of mutually accepted offers totaled 10,373, outgaining a year ago by 328 transactions for an increase of almost 3.3 percent. Last month’s total was the highest volume of pending sales since June 2006 when brokers tallied 10,448 transactions.

With demand outpacing supply in many parts of the region, brokers are noticing more creativity among competing parties. “Offer review deadlines have become pretty commonplace in this market, as have pre-inspections,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. He said some agents and buyers are getting even more aggressive by submitting their offer prior to the deadline.

Jacobi said there’s also an increase in the number of cash buyers, and buyers willing to waive their financing contingency, “making it even more difficult for the vast majority who don’t have this option.” With ongoing competition likely to continue, Jacobi expects agents and buyers to be “increasingly creative until the market becomes more balanced, which probably isn’t going to happen any time soon.”

MLS figures show months of inventory slipped to 3.33 from April’s figure of 3.46. In King County, supply stayed about even with April (1.78 months of inventory in May versus l.74 months in April). Snohomish slipped from 2.47 months to 2.37. Four to six months is considered to be a balanced market.

Fewer sales closed last month compared to a year ago (down 2.2 percent), but prices increased. Compared to April, the number of completed sales in May jumped by 997 transactions for a gain of 16.1 percent. Brokers reported 7,187 closed sales of single family homes and condominiums last month with a median selling price of $285,000. That sales price reflects a 3.6 percent increase from the year-ago figure of $275,000.