Weekly Mortgage and Real Estate Report – Week of November 14, 2016

It is OverWhether your candidate won or lost the election, we think we can speak for most by saying that we are glad the election is finally over with. It seems like the election season went on for years, instead of months. Now it is time for us to move beyond the many levels of rhetoric and to come together. Politically, that has not happened for several years, but hopefully, with a new President and several new members of Congress, an air of cooperation will return. Ever the optimists we are.

Judging by the reaction, the financial markets were happy the election was coming to an end, with a major stock rally starting from the beginning of the week. And even though the markets don’t like surprises and the results were definitely within the surprise category, the rally continued the day after the election in a very volatile day. And the volatility was not limited to the equity markets, as long-term interest rates spiked sharply. By the end of the week, the Dow was in record territory. Compared to the Brexit surprise vote, after which stocks plummeted and interest rates fell, it was a very different reaction we experienced this time around.

The question is–where do the markets go from here? The calendar does not change. We still have another employment report to be released in early December and a meeting of the Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee afterwards. It is expected by the markets that the Fed will raise its benchmark interest rate by 0.25% in December. Any larger move would be a surprise, which could rile the markets. But a 0.25% increase should be expected and probably will not provide much mayhem in this regard. This is especially true if the recent rise in long-term rates holds. In this case, we would definitely think that the market would have priced an increase by the Fed into the markets.

  Many have long bemoaned an apparent hesitancy on the part of millennials to enter the housing market. But a new study indicates that millennial first-time homebuyers may be a bigger part of the market than anyone suspected. According to a study released by Zillow, half of US homebuyers are under 36, and 47% of those buying and 63% of those selling a home are doing so for the first time. “We knew the millennial generation was playing an increasingly large role in the housing market,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “But this consumer research allows us to get a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how their expectations and approach are playing out in the housing market. These young adults came of age during a recession, but they are buying their first homes in a high-priced and fast-paced market. They’re using every available resource, including online research and real estate professionals, and taking on the challenge with gusto.” “Young home buyers and sellers share their grandparents’ romantic notions about homeownership, and we’re finally seeing their home buying dreams come true in the data,” said Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow Group chief marketing officer. “These savvy consumers are doing things differently: they juggle shopping for homes to buy and rent at the same time, and they bring deep research and their vast social networks to the process.” The report did find that first-time buyers are renting for longer than previous generations. But when they do buy, they generally spend as much as baby boomers, and buy homes only slightly smaller than those purchased by repeat buyers, Zillow reported. Source: Mortgage Professional AmericaMore buyers are house-hunting with garages in mind. Twenty-four percent of homes built in 2015 came with space for three or more cars in the garage – the highest share since the Census Bureau started tracking large garages in 1992. In fact, home builders are now constructing more three-car garages than one-bedroom apartments, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Home buyers care about garage space. One in three buyers say they prefer a three-car garage, according to a survey conducted by John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Fifty-one percent say they want a two-car garage and 10 percent said a one-car garage would suffice. That doesn’t mean they want the extra space to store another car necessarily. The share of households who own three or more cars has stayed mainly flat. In 2013, 19.7 percent of home owners had three cars in 2013 compared to 17.3 percent in 1990, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Instead, they’re using garages to store extra items, as workspaces, or even transforming them into in-law apartments. The trend of desiring extra garage space does appear to be mixed, however. “We’re seeing more multi-generational housing, where the kids are taking care of elderly parents or you have the new grad moving home after college, and now you have four cars where it might have been two before,” Pete Reeb, a principal at the consultancy, said. Source: Bloomberg

There has been a 12 percent rise in the number of ‘fixer-upper’ homes in the last five years with the largest rise in expensive homes in hot markets. Zillow’s analysis shows that those homes priced in the top third of their markets saw a sharper rise with inventory up almost 35 percent; in the lower third there was a 3 percent rise. “Across the country, homes are selling fast and for high prices,” says Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist. “Sellers are in the driver’s seat, with the freedom to list their home for sale ‘as-is’ without worrying about price cuts or the home sitting on the market.” The age of those homes requiring some TLC has almost doubled in just 9 years with the median age at the end of 2015 at 28 years compared to 15 years in 2006.Source: Zillow


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