Monthly Archives: May 2018

Confidence in Housing at New Peak

Source: Suzanne De Vita RISMedia

Confidence in housing is at a new peak, with enthusiasm among sellers soaring, according to the April Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI). At 91.7, the Index plowed through its previous record, climbing 3.4 percentage points month-over-month and five points year-over-year.

“The latest HPSI reading edged up to a new survey high, showing that consumer attitudes remain resilient going into the spring/summer home-buying season,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist and senior vice president at Fannie Mae.

What is driving the lift? Americans are optimistic about their prospects for selling, with 45 percent believing now is ideal to list—a high point since the start of the survey. By the same token, almost half (49 percent) of Americans believe home prices will rise—conditions that, for sellers, translate to an upper hand.

Confidence can dissipate, however, if inventory remains sparse, according to Duncan.

“High home prices and good economic conditions helped push the share of Americans who think it’s a good time to sell to a fresh record-high; however, the upward trend in the good-time-to-sell share seen since last spring has done little to release more for-sale inventory,” Duncan says. “The tightest supply in decades, combined with rising mortgage rates from historically low levels, will likely remain a hurdle for mobility and a persistent headwind for home sales.”

Despite constrained inventory, sales are strengthening, with both existing and pending sales squeezing out wins in March, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reported—and, according to the Commerce Department, new-home sales tracked up.

The HPSI is derived from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey® (NHS).

Brokers report some good news for home buyers, but still expect Puget Sound’s “frantic market” to continue

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (May 7, 2018) – Home buyers may be cheered by an uptick in inventory, but the
improving supply is unlikely to reverse rising prices, suggest industry leaders from Northwest Multiple
Listing Service.

Commenting on just-released figures for April, which showed the highest level of active listings since
August, OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate said, “For the first time in a long time we had
good news for buyers.” Noting supply is still lower than year-ago levels (down 5.6 percent), it jumped 14
percent from March, which Jacobi said “is a pretty significant increase even for this time of year.”

Northwest MLS brokers added 11,271 new listings to inventory during April, a gain of 6.3 percent when
compared to March, and up nearly 5.9 percent versus a year ago. April’s pending sales (mutually accepted
offers) totaled 10,574, improving on the same month a year ago and the previous month.

At month end, the active listings selection included 10,079 single family homes and condos, eclipsing the
total of 8,825 listings at the end of March. The condo segment grew 10.9 percent from March.

Of the 23 counties in the Northwest MLS service area, only six of them reported year-over-year gains in
inventory compared to a year ago. King County was the only one in the Puget Sound region to notch a gain,
up 13.6 percent from a year ago.

Commenting on the uptick, Mike Grady, president and COO, Coldwell Banker Bain, remarked “We are
still WAY below a balanced market of five months of inventory, and this is even with interest rates ticking
slightly upward.”

Area-wide there is 1.3 months of supply, with 4-to-6 months used as a gauge of a balanced market. Three
counties – King, Kitsap, and Snohomish — reported less than a month of supply. The condo component
remains very tight with slightly more than three weeks (0.87 months) of supply.

Prices are still climbing at double-digit rates in most counties. Year-over-year prices for single family
homes and condos combined jumped about 15.3 percent overall, from $360,000 to $415,000. Within the
four-county Puget Sound region, King County notched the biggest gain at nearly 18.2 percent. Prices there
rose $100,000 from a year ago, from $550,000 to $650,000.

“There’s little reason to think we’ll be seeing a change in this frantic market anytime soon,” commented
Grady, citing double-digit appreciation in many of the most populous counties, expansion plans by Alaska
Airlines and Amazon, and other positive economic news as reasons for that expectation.